23 August 2007

My sacred ego

Kids do not cry:

The governor of our region visited my village when I was in fifth grade to appoint a new Qaid.

Every one lines up. All the men. Villagers and nomads from everywhere. All of them were happy to receive the governor. A great man in a black suit. The new Qaid was there behind him receiving welcomes from every single person. gnawa were playing and dancing. Great times. I was in the front row with the older ones when the cars stopped. I had never seen that much traffic in my life. More than ten cars, most of them were black cars. The man stepped out of the car and walked towards the crowd that shouted. “3ash almalik” ( long life to the king). I did not like the confusion but I was focused on the man walking towards me, us. I did not care much about the others behind him. they were his followers I think. I shook the governors hand...
His hand was soft, which was a little disappointing to me, but he was gentle and spoke Moroccan Arabic to me. In my village everybody’s hands were harsh and firm and they spoke Amazigh.
He said: “how are you?... and what is your name?”. Our neighbor responded and said I was well and he said my mane. That was very rude too intrusive. I knew how to say my name and I spoke Moroccan Arabic. Everybody knows how to say ‘ labas and lhamdullah’. But I was not happy with the guy taking my words. And denying me right to peak and say my things only because he thinks he was alder and maybe bigger.
I moved my small body out of the line in disappointment then I tried again. I run a head and sneaked between two giant men again and waited for the governor so i can say and say “ labas , lhamdullah” if I needed to.
He finally arrived still shaking people’s hands and saying things older guys always say.Still hearing shouts about the king every now and then. Women yuyu-ing in the background. He came. He shook my hand. He looked me in the eye and he said. “labas a weldi” I said “ abas lhamdullah”, then he said “ llah yerdi alik” ( bless you) . I did not care about the blessing. What mattered for was that I did it. Nobody interrupted me. I was myself. I felt as big as the giant men on both my sides. I understood later that I was the only person in e crowed that the governor bowed for. I was big.
Like all the kids. It is vital for me to say things myself.
I run to the village and told them that I shook the governor’s hand. I did not say two times because the first time did not matter to me. I learned how to deal with authority and power abuse. Well age abuse. My size mattered… the size I decided is the size that was.

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