Adonis Diaries

A Moving song: And Nothing changed, customs continue unperturbed…

Posted on: February 11, 2013

A song for change may moves you: And the customs continue unperturbed

Dahbia recalls, as she was 9 year-old, the song of her favorite Kabyle (Algeria ethnic group) singer Nouara:

“You have all sang my beauty

You all have lauded my sense of honor

Nobody cared for my rights

As if an animal.

My eyes are wide open now

And I’ll exact my account.

I’ll never forgive my father,

Marrying me against my will.

At the wedding ceremony, I was still playing…”

The women in my home, old and young, were moved by the song.

And nothing changed in this custom.”

Dahbia was retrieved from school at the age of 9: She was confined at home, among the women.

Dahbia was no longer permitted to step outside her home: The younger girls had the chores of bringing in what was necessary from outside the premises.

The grandmothers were free to go outside, anywhere they wanted: At this age, they are not that appealing to succumb to any dishonoring calamity… And not because they demonstrated their traditional sense of “honor”

The job of Dahbia at 9 was to be readied for marriage.

And Dahbia loved to go to school and learn. No crying or knocking at the hearts of aunts and uncles to relent produced any softening to the decision of  being secluded at home. Nobody would listen.

When her dad returned from France to town for a month vacation, all he had to say was: “If tamgharat (the eldest woman) has decided, it will be her will. I can do nothing to change her decision…”

Since that day, Dahbia’s father never looked at her the same way: Her childhood was over and his daughter is to be prepared to become a woman.

Dahbia experienced deep depression, and the tamgharat appeased her mother saying: “Time will overcome her illness.

I remember Yvonne, a young French teacher who failed in her love affair and came to teach in town. Pretty soon, Yvonne succumbed to the same illness of Dahbia. Time is the only cure…

Even in France, Maghrebi immigrant families forbid their girls of 13 to step outside their apartment to play.

Once you resign yourself to admit what was unacceptable, you feel like resuming the “normal” flow of daily life: You eat, sleep and occasionally you laugh.

Dahbia’s lot was to accept becoming a wife, a mother of a large family, unconditionally obeying her husband…

We start to elevate the “Makhtoub”(destiny) to a mythical truth.

Maktoub has very large shoulders that can carry all our failing, a weight as light as feather…

Note 1: An extract from the French book “Our fathers are gone” by Dalila Bellil

Note 2: The favorite Kabyle singers were: Nouara, Idir, Khedidja, Matoub Lounes, Cheikh el-Hasnaoui, Djurdjura, Dahmane el-Harrachi

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February 2013

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