Monday, December 05, 2011

Identity and Privacy

I am reading these days L'Interdite (The Forbedden Woman) by Malika Mokeddem. While her protagonist came from France to Algeria to face the different understanding and approach to the concepts of "Identity" and "Privacy", I feel empathized with her in my position as someone who came back from Algeria to Iraq. Identity and Privacy:

"I didn't forget anything. Didn't forget that lashing nosiness. Didn't forget that interference which alleges to have all the rights. When arbitrary inspection is regarded courtesy, the questions become orders, and being silent is regarded a scandal"

"The women: (Oh sister, like somebody is hitting me with a dagger here and here, and there, and also here). She points to all the abdomen, the chest, the back, the head, the legs, the the same time. (God kept you from all the diseases, when it comes, my head turns around, I sweat, I vomit, I feel by joints cracking, after that, I feel myself fatigued, so I don't sleep, dont eat, and I have no desire to lie in bed. Please sister, treat me!). All this in Algerian slang language, everything hurts me, it is everythingitis, endemic in womens here, and well known. Everythingitis are the symptoms of the females' earthquakes and tightness."I bandage. I suture. I plaster. I examine and hear the long complaints. And when I put my nose to write the prescription, the women regain the eye of the eagle and the vigor of the beak. She contemplates me, measures me, analyzes me before she dares to: (Do you have children?). The danger alarm rings in my head. If the answer will be no then come the avalanche of whys, the luster of the look of disgrace, or of compassion. I will not safe myself this interrogation easily. To avoid that, I said, using a proverb: "here, it is me to ask the questions, don't flip the roles!" Attenuated by a dosed laugh. Sighs of relief. Smiles."

"- She said that our ancestors are all Blacks that came from the other side of the desert. Yacine said that his grandfather, no, his ancestors were Jews, for that many Kabyles were in that state. Do you think that there are people who are the real sons of a real origin?

-I think that there is no real but the mixture. Everything else is either hypocrisy or ignorance."

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