18 Km

April 12, 2009

He has no name, because people like him don’t want to have the same identity they were born with any more and decided to burn all their identity papers. He has no family, because he preferred to kill his heart and forget the voices and the faces who gave him birth. He has no fear, because he prefers throwing himself in the cold and pitiless Mediterranean Sea in a small wooden boat with other nameless shadows. Yet, he has a story which I will tell you in this post.

He studied philosophy and spent his college years between experiencing different kinds of love and defending his ideals as the head of the student union in his university. He never imagined that after his bachelor with honors and his orator talent to motivate the crowds he will end up jobless. He fought hard: went on strikes in front of the parliament to get a job, went to that IT classes he never understood, he even convinced his mother to sell her golden bracelets to open a phone shop. None of his efforts was enough to make things go better, even though he never asked for the impossible. All he was dreaming about was a job, a wife, and a small shelter to live happily. After two years of unsuccessful fighting against the harsh reality, the passionate and energetic young man he was became a motionless and depressive zombie who refuses to go out of bed.

On day, while he was busy dreaming after an overdose of weed, he heard noise in the neighborhood of a car and women laughing. He went down to see what’s happening, since he can never give up his Moroccan habit of being curious about neighbors’ lives. He saw Said the neighbors’ son who immigrated to Europe 2 years ago going out of a Mercedes accompanied by his blond European wife in the middle of his family’s yoyos and joy. Said saw him and came to say hi and told him: “if you want to get out from this situation and live like a king you must immigrate to Europe instead of losing your time here”. Then he wrote the name and the number of the person who helped him pass clandestinely to the Spanish shores. To Immigrate! Maybe that was the solution to all his pains, and if Said who has no degree or special skills can succeed why not him.

Here he is in the city of Tangier sitting on the sand and watching the lights of Europe glowing on the horizon. He started asking himself these kinds of philosophical questions he loves so much to escape from the reality. Why I was born on this shore of the Mediterranean and not in the other side? It’s only 18 Km away from here, so why they are developed and we are backsword? Why in the first place the Gods of Olympia asked Heracles to separate Africa from Europe, if Heracles didn’t separate us from this same spot called Tangier we would have been the same land? Off course his questions had no answer, so he just decided to smoke his last cigarette and burn all his identity papers to go meet the man who will pass him to Europe late during the same night.

In the small boat they were 30 pale faces, some Moroccans and many sub-saharian Africans, men, women and even a baby, all sitting tight and watching the passer maneuvering in the wild sea. He was heading towards the unknown, but still confident that if he cross that 18 Km he will find hope. He was imagining himself giving a speech in front of thousands of people staring at him and applauding each single word he says. He saw his marvelous blond wife coming at the end of the speech to congratulate him. At the moment when she was going to kiss him, suddenly, the weather changed. The strong wind slapped him and the first drops of rain swiped his illusion. The boat was becoming not stable, and the people started to panic. In few minutes he realized that they were sinking in the freezing water and that his dreams were sinking to sinking to.

After 45 minutes of fighting against the high waves, there were no crying sounds any more, he looked at Morocco from one side and Spain on the other side, they both looked grey and far with the fog, and he screamed: I don’t belong to none of these places; I prefer dying and immigrating to heaven.


One comment

  1. Hi,

    I liked this text and the previous one very much.
    There’s a new project about the standardization of Darija : http://www.ktbdarija.com . I thought that this link might interest you. The english version is not available yet, but the french and of course Darija versions a ready to be read.

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