My Life and Kenza

My Life and Kenza – North Africa: Literary Crossroads

Lounes matoub

My arms may be powerless

But I still have my voice

Which shall break out and be heard

They said: The mountain has broken its chains

And you were not there to see it

The news spread by word of mouth

it is today the first day of Yennayer

The land has grown bright like a lamp

And under this light people gathered

A shot rang out in Bejaia

And the yoke of flight was cast off

Oh my life, my life

The mountains of my life

How I wish I had been there

if only to say my piece

The woes that I have suffered

Have become my only assets

And since the Kabyles have united

They shall be cleansed of their sins

There is no need to say more

Tamazight is the language of their essence

And is the root of their lives

The time has come to make matters clear

If my heart is saddened please understand

That it is because I wasn’t with you

My heart is filled to overflowing

And is collapsing under this weight

It demands to be heard

Even by those who resort to eating hay

Now that they cannot afford grain

To him who says the lone person need not be respected

I say: Come say that again

Now that the strength has returned

The bad word erases one’s sins

According to a saying of the elders

Why pay any attention

To that which is meaningless

The wounds shall certainly heal

That goes without saying

And we shall celebrate Amazigh culture

And the heritage left us by Da Lmulud(*)

Looms like thunder

Will you who understand this feel the rain(**)

Kenza

The sky is heavy and has fissured

Rain has washed the tomb

Turbulent waters are pouring out

Creating new water paths

From the tomb, a striking call came

To warn the people

Oh Kenza(**) my daughter

Do not weep

We have been sacrificed

For a new Algeria

Kenza, Oh my daughter

Do not weep

Even if the body wilts

The idea lives

Even if the times are hard

We will overcome weariness

Even if they shoot many stars,

The sky will never be stripped of all of its stars

Oh Kenza my daughter

Endure life’s burden

We have been sacrificed

For a new Algeria

Kenza, Oh my daughter

Do not weep

They have decided on our fate

Well before today

The hunters of intelligence

Who have turned the country into a death zone

They have killed Rashid Tigziri

And did not miss Smail

They have killed Liabes and Flici

Boucebsi and many others

Oh Kenza my daughter

Endure life’s burden

We have been sacrificed

For a new Algeria

Kenza, Oh my daughter

Do not weep

At least one of us will survive

He will be our memory tomorrow

The wounds will heal

Our country will be peaceful again

Our children will grow

Even amidst the violence and pain

Oh Kenza my daughter

Do not weep

We have been sacrificed

For a new Algeria

Kenza, Oh my daughter

Do not weep

(*) Da Lmulud: Mouloud Mammeri

(**) Kenza is the oldest daughter of Tahar Djaout who was killed by Muslim fundamentalists in 1993. Rachid Tigziri (Berber activist), Smail Yefsah (Berber TV journalist), Laadi Flici (medical doctor and well known poet and playwright), Djillali Liabes (sociologist and former minister of higher education), and Prof. Mahfoud Boucebsi (psychiatrist, who was also involved in the care of abandoned children and unwed mothers) are among the intellectuals who have fallen victim to the violence in Algeria.

COPYRIGHT 1998 Fairleigh Dickinson University

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group