Presentation of the book: "Badaoui, a Desert Child"
Ethos, humility, empathy: the triptych of a successful course, by: Mohed Altrad
Sunday 4 November 2018 Athens
Recently, I presented the Greek edition of my book "Badaoui, a child from the desert " at the Metropolitan College's Amphitheatre. The book, released by Calendu Publications is translated by Tina Piltta and is an autobiography of my life and adulthood experiences. It has been honored with the Plum 'Adely Award (2003) and was awarded the Best Translation Award 2018 by the Hellenic Literary Translators Society. It has also been proposed as reading in the schools of France and other countries.
The first message I have tried to pass through this book is that all is possible – everything is feasible if you follow your own path. My second is that in order to support our lives, we need to risk and in order to make it, we must not be afraid of the risk. And I took that risk ... And it was worth it.
A man can change his fate and although life is full of difficulties there is always hope, and that hope must be taken by everyone. This hope is school, learning... Just like Maiouf, the hero of my book, at the age of four or five years old we cannot reasonably think of making a decision based on rational facts and reflections. All we hear is intuition, all we have is the instinct of life. Maiouf's grandmother says that the child will become a shepherd, grazing goats and not needing the letters. But he has an intuition, a stimulus, something he speaks inside and hears it without knowing it.
We are talking about a hero who hates telling him what he needs to understand, because he wants to understand everything with his own way. This child, miraculously, at the age of 16-17 years old leaves his country and goes to another. The cultural shock that exists is very strong. How can we join a new society in a new reality? And here is the decisive importance of accepting the ‘other’ – accepting the different.
The third message I want to deliver through my narrative is somewhat complicated. We are watching a rise of extremists, a revival of extreme trends that really saddens and worries me. I hope that man will come back to logic, that he will understand that there can be no one else, because the other is me.
Although we can start something on our own, without each other we will not be able to do anything too big. As in life, so it is in business… we can do nothing big on our own.
In closing, I want to point out the issue of shortening or extending time. Life is by definition short. In order to make the best use of it, we have to do good things, for us as well as for others. And when we do, they will once again pay us back.
I am glad that Mrs. Ioannidou wanted, through the Greek version of my book, to support children with cancer. As I too feel a debt to participate in humanitarian initiatives. I believe we are all capable of good, we are all capable of great achievements – professional, financial and personal.
Most entrepreneurs set up their business to become rich. But if money was knowledge, we would all be rich! The foundation on which I built my business is: I do not know you, I do not know what you are capable of, but I will trust you and work with you; wherever you are, whatever your ethnicity, religion, language and culture... Let's go together to try to do something big. If you had to draw on different elements from each culture, you would create a steadfast group. Money is not a goal but a consequence.
In life, there are many more important things – justice, interest in the other and respect for its diversity. In my life I have suffered from indifference, and this is worse than unjust justice. You can correct justice when it lacks, but not indifference. I could have stopped in many difficult parts of my journey, but I did not, and that's what I'm trying to say through my narrative, through my life – personal and business. And this is what I say when I go to schools and talk to the children, I would like to offer this book to all the children of Greece to convey these messages.