The White Lady

 “The bay is there, majestic, bathed in a dazzling light. The white City clings to the mountain slope that seems to float on a vast carpet of blue marble….

Akram Belkaid – Return to Algeria


 

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Algiers. Photo by Karen Rose.

Trembling, I stood there at the top of the plane stairs, shading my eyes and squinting in the bright sunshine. When the aircraft door had been opened a few moments before, the warm air had hit me like a blast from a hairdryer, blowing dust into my eyes and whipping my long hair into tangles across my face. My mouth felt dry and my stomach tight with apprehension as I followed the other passengers across the tarmac to the airport building. Continue reading

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Belcourt

Occupation means that every day you die, and the world watches in silence. As if your death was nothing, as if you were a stone falling in the earth, water falling over water.

-Suheir Hammad


“We can’t stay here any longer,” T’s father said in desperation,”We have to find somewhere less dangerous to live than the rue de Lyon.” Continue reading

Homecoming

Home is where you can always return, no matter how long you’ve been gone.

-Anon


Returning to their village after their bankruptcy in Fouka, T’s parents felt as though they were retreating into their shells. For them, the house that they’d built during the years of plenty was a sanctuary, a cocoon, a place where they could rest —where they could heal. This was their ancestral land. Nobody could tell them to leave. Continue reading

Sand Through A Sieve

Men are restless, adventurous. Women are conservative – despite what current ideology says.

-Doris Lessing


“A3yigh thi xedmah agi.” (I’m sick of this work).

Thus spoke my father-in-law, turning to his wife with a shrug, his brows forming one straight line above his piercing dark eyes. His face was stern, even a little melancholy, in repose. It was a long-boned face, tapering to a rounded chin, with a prominent Kabyle nose, under which grew a neat black moustache à la Hitler. Beneath a high forehead, his deep-set eyes were half hidden by drooping eyelids, and his gaze was steady and slightly ironic. Continue reading

Contrasts

Don’t compare your life to others; you have no idea what they have been though.

– Sam Cawthorne


You may be surprised to learn that my husband enjoyed a far better standard of living than I did as a child. Although he lived in a country colonised by the French, one where Algerians were considered as second-class citizens, his life, in many ways, was far more privileged than mine. Continue reading

The Grand Tour

(The Grand Tour) served as an educational rite of passage.

– Wikipedia

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. – St. Augustine


“Tu ne peux pas te taire, oui? Tu commences à me porter sérieusement sur les nerfs!” (Can’t you shut up? You’re really starting to get on my nerves!)

T glowered at his friend, Mus, who was dancing along the pavement, snapping his fingers and singing off-key snatches of the latest American hit. To make things worse, he was slapping his thighs in time to the music in his head, the persistent, maddening thump-thump grating on T’s already frayed nerves.  Mus was a little tipsy, having already consumed a few beers with their frugal lunch, and the alcohol had gone straight to his head. Continue reading