Tahar Djaout

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Tahar Djaout (1954-1993) was an Algerian journalist, poet, and fiction writer. He was assassinated by the Armed Islamic Group because of his support of secularism and opposition to what he considered fanaticism. He was attacked on May 26, 1993, as he was leaving his home in Bainem, Algeria. He died on June 2, after lying in a coma for a week. One of his attackers professed that he was murdered because he "wielded a fearsome pen that could have an effect on Islamic sectors." He was born in Oulkhou, in the relatively secular Kabylie region. After his death the BBC made a documentary about him entitled 'Shooting the Writer', introduced by Salman Rushdie.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tahar_Djaout

 

Tahar Djaout Shooting The Writer BBC part1 (in French)

 

Kenza

a song by Lounes Matoub* in honor of Tahar Djaout

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 weepEven 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

Translated from Tamazight




by Rabah Seffal. This translation first appeared in the Literary Review http://webdelsol.com/tlr/, Summer 1998

*Lounes Matoub was gunned down on June 25, 1998. He just released his last album“Tabratt i leḥkem” (Letter to the government). It was aledged that the killing was ordered by the Armed Islamic Group, but most Amazigh people in Algeria believe the government is behind the killing. 

** 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 childrenand unwed mothers) are among the intellectuals who have fallen victim to the violence in Algeria.

Source: http://www.tamazgha.org/1/post/2008/5/fifteen-years-ago-tahar-djaout-a-beautiful-star-was-wiped-out-of-our-sky.html