Manthia Diawara became a close friend of Édouard Glissant in the early 1990s. In 2008, Glissant granted Diawara permission to make a film about his ideas. The author came with his camera to the 2008 Politics of the One-World conference in Paris to speak to Glissant about the film. Diawara’s eventual film chronicles the author’s travels with Glissant on the Queen Mary II across the Atlantic from South Hampton, United Kingdom, to Brooklyn, New York, as well as his stay with Glissant in the philosopher’s native Martinique in the Caribbean. Diawara recounts the experience while summarizing Glissant’s worldview.
Glissant, the poet, became a philosopher to reveal the fluidity of relation beyond the closed doors of closed systems of discrimination, segregation, and rejection, and to insist that difference is more constructive when viewed as a by-product of solidarity and conciliation between two or more elements of the tout-monde. Convinced that Western philosophy was unable to extricate itself from the privilege of filiation and legitimation, Glissant created himself as an “orphan” philosopher to speak for a new condition of the world. Diawara calls Glissant’s point of view a “worldmentality,” wherein one must take for granted that every “truth” and every “reality” does not just come to us as the regimes of scientific deduction and transparency would like us to believe, but that some of these manifestations come to us intuitively, like a sparkle of light in the dark. By asking us to look at difference differently, Glissant wants us to realize its essential role in the construction of the tout-monde. The sparkle of truth and reality must not be isolated from the darkness and opacity out of which they emerge.