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Watch yourself !

Houda Ghorbel


“The door opens and everything changes. Illusory light. You find yourself thrust into an empty black cube lit by a single lamp whose light forms a perfect circle on the cold floor.

Like a fetus that emerges from darkness after having been incubated in its mother’s womb for nine months, you advance naturally towards the light and a more enlightened world.

Your steps are sure and you advance towards the start of life. The exit from the tunnel is disorienting but you acclimate quickly to the light. Its pleasant and gentle heat, its magical attraction, and its undeniable brilliance draw you like a moth.

You turn to the light and see your face on a screen in front of you. You look at yourself, admiring or deprecating yourself. Your curiosity is piqued as you enjoy yourself. You become aware of your body and of your independence and uniqueness as a toddler discovering the world and raving about every small detail and feat.

Now you are standing in your small circle, your path of life begins like a river whose source is hidden. The light is reassuring and the particles connect you to the gods, but the circle is shrinking. Minutes pass and the light stabilizes, becoming mundane and ordinary. Your intelligent human nature and thirst for knowledge is undeniable, and a little voice starts to nag at your passivity, encouraging you to explore the unknown outside of the traced circle, and all the known facts and worn trails.

The unknown becomes your goal. To explore the unexplorable, to look for the unfindable, to dare to stand out, to feel adrenaline, and to exist outside of what is already decided for you.

Then you move, your face divides and a bullet pierces your body as a warning. Your social image is deformed and your punishment is violent because you dare to challenge the supremacy of sacred traditions and you scratch with your nails the roots of thousand years prejudice.

La peur te prend par la gorge, tu te réveilles de ce cauchemar sur le son insupportable de l’ambulance qui accoure pour t’enterrer. Et dans ce boucan entouré de désolation, tu te demandes encore si le cercle te convient ou le noir t’allait mieux.

But you are courageous. You move again and again and the mouth of hell opens. Your face is nothing but the large mouth of a Drosophila, useless and deformed, and your body is found between light and shadow.

Fear takes you by the throat; you wake up from the nightmare to the unbearable sound of an ambulance that hurries to bury you. And in this racket you are surrounded by desolation, yet you wonder if the black circle would be better.”

Text written by Neila Mhiri and translated by Anne Marie Butler