Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Panne de sens

Breakdown of the senses (Panne de sens) by Mouss Benia; (Nov. 27, 2009)

Note:  I will insert in parenthesis the French/Algerian slang for the corresponding word.

Jilali Benhadji was born and raised in France and going to public school in Paris; his Algerian father (daron) immigrated to France at the age of 17 and has been working in construction as crane operator.   The daron has been sending money for 30 years to his brother in Algeria in order to finish building his house in the city of Oran but everything takes time to finish there. Four years in France, the father tore up his ID and military card because they mentioned his religion. The mother (daronne or yema) barely can speak French and misses her relatives in Algeria.

Jilali is 15 years old and has silky blond (18 carat) hair, milky skin, and blue eyes like the pictures of Jesus in Europe. At the start of each school year teachers would get upset thinking that Jilali is answering “present!” for another student. Jilali is Jilou for his intimate friends and Jil short for students. Girls (meuf or gadji) never suspect his origin until he mentions his name; then the castle of cards collapses as if mistaken by the merchandise.

Jilou can enter supermarket without attracting the attention of the private guard: he could rob the shop dry without being suspected. Thus, when he enters a place then Jilou splits with his darker complexion friends. Jilou is a Troy Horse who can penetrate the hearts and minds if he would change just his name.  Jilou has the pale face with the heart of an Algerian native. Jilou two elder brothers are not the pride of his father: Nourdine prefers to celebrate Christmas with his parents-in-laws and never shows up for the Moslem’ Eids such as Ramadan or al Adha.  Youcef teaches France history, a job that his father commented on “It is not an Arab (rebeu or bicot) who will teach France history to the francaoui”

Immigrants are relegated to quarters in the suburbs with names taking to birds, animals, fruits, or vegetables.  “I am a man not ashamed of looking ridiculous” expressed  for the occasion of accompanying his father to purchasing a live sheep for the Adha Eid to be slaughtered in the afternoon.  It happened that, on the way back, the sheep was licking the rear window and his French girl friend was mimicking the sheep as she was driving with her father. Jilou had to avoid the girl for three days.

Life is boring in these prison-like quarters and Jilou goes on a three-week vacation to the Ocean shores with his friend Stephan. Obviously, he has to lie and says that he is staying at Stephan’s folks. The second week both friends are penniless; Jilou for the first time decides to attempt stealing hard liquor to sell at half price; he is caught and put in jail. The police (keuf or kepi) would not let Jilou out until a close relative personally takes responsibility of his discharge. Nourdine has to drive from Paris to the Vandee to let him out but refuses to intercede with his father on Jilou’s behalf.

When Jilou finally arrives home the family members are ordered to ignore him as an invisible ghost (djinn): he was the shame of the family (hrchouma).  For punishment the father banished Jilou to Algeria to continue his education there; Jilou is to live with his uncle’s family in the city of Oran by the sea-shore. Jilou has seen Algeria at the age of 7; he had to be circumcised and the ceremony celebrated among relatives; at the Paris airport, Jilou took out his sore penis (quequette) and said to his uncle “See what they have done to it?”

In Algeria of the 90’s water is rationed and tap water is received once every three days; families have to go to main water sources and fill Jeri cans. Jilou had to learn to clean his ass with water instead of toilet paper; he had never to forget to bring an empty bottle for that purpose when he goes to a private school that teaches in French and reserved just for “Algerian immigrants” coming from France, the mixed bread or the “noss noss”. The Algerian “nationaux” want to acquire the “flow” of the immigrants: their accents, their slangs, their expressions, their style in dressing and music.  In France, the location of these same immigrants, whether in the Old Port of Marseille or in Paris, is irrelevant: they are all considered living in the “suburbs” and potential trouble makers or “racailles”.

Jilou learned that terrorist acts are mostly perpetrated by the military in order to maintain the public illusion that the Moslem fundamentalists are the culprit.  Private entrepreneurs instituted collective taxis because public buses are rare and not schedule reliable.  He experienced the “hammam”, sort of sauna and public bath, and all his “fancied French” cloths and sneaker (basket or Adidas) were stolen; “you don’t wear fancy attires if you have to remove them in public places”.

The sons of the bourgeois (tchitchi) and high-ranking military officers throw luxury private parties in their homes.  From the outside, things are normal and blend with the environment; all windows are closed.  Inside, it is a different world and all is permitted; booze of all kinds “a volonte” and lovers find private rooms to do mostly the “brushing” of mutual sex parts; Jilou was lucky in one of these parties and discovered that he is a master painters. Jilou cannot get into dancing unless “sex machine” of James Brown is on.

Jilou came to realize that the Algerian/French immigrants are creating their own problems in France as seen by foreign media.  As long as we, the kids, witness our parents feeling as if in inferior status, then the kids will develop a displaced sense of pride that keep us prisoners in the wider society. Our cultural resistance model is lacking foundations: we all dream of financial success but shun away serious education and the hard work to exist as serious consumers.  Finding decent jobs (taf) to secure financial independence is the way out to integration and not State social aids.




May 2023

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