Thursday, March 29, 2012

A boy to be sacrificed!

Wow…I read this in this  Sunday’s NY Times.   It was difficult to get through.   It‘s heartbreaking and I’m at a loss for words.   But here it is…

In the Morocco of the 1980s, where homosexuality did not, of course, exist, I was an effeminate little boy, a boy to be sacrificed, a humiliated body who bore upon himself every hypocrisy, everything left unsaid.   By the time I was 10, though no one spoke of it.   I knew what happened to boys like me in our impoverished society; they were designated victims, to be used, with everyone’s blessing, as easy sexual objects by frustrated men.   And I knew that no one would save me - not even my parents, who surely loved me.   For them too, I was shame, filth.   A “zamel.”

It all came to a head one summer night in 1985.   It was too hot.   Everyone was trying in vain to fall asleep.   I, too, lay awake, on the floor beside my sisters, my mother close by.   Suddenly, the familiar voices of drunken men reached us.   We all heard them.   The whole family.   The whole neighborhood.   The whole world.   These men, whom we all knew quite well, cried out: “Abdellah, little girl, come down.   Come down.   Wake up and come down.   We all want you.   Come down, Abdellah.   Don’t be afraid.   We won’t hurt you.   We just want to have sex with you.”

They kept yelling for a long time.   My nickname.   Their desire.   Their crime.   They said everything that went unsaid in the too-silent, too-respectful world where I lived.   But I was far, then, from any such analysis, from understanding that the problem wasn’t me.   I was simply afraid.   Very afraid.   And I hoped my big brother, my hero, would rise and answer them.   That he would protect me, at least with words. I didn’t want him to fight them - no.   All I wanted him to say were these few little words: “Go away!   Leave my little brother alone.”

But my brother, the absolute monarch of our family, did nothing.   Everyone turned their back on me.   Everyone killed me that night.   I don’t know where I found the strength, but I didn’t cry.   I just squeezed my eyes shut a bit more tightly.   And shut, with the same motion, everything else in me.   Everything.   I was never the same Abdellah Taïa after that night.   To save my skin, I killed myself.   And that was how I did it.

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