Please do not ask me to be silent. Allow me to breathe (30)

After I learned of the tragedy and I knew that I had nothing left but my mother, two brothers and a sister, I could not have a reaction other than silence. The silence of a traumatized child, who does not know the meaning of life and death, but knows the meaning of loss..

 He just knew that he would never again hear the laughter of his spoiled little sister who was filling the house with energy.. the little thief who was eager to play with him and waiting for an opportunity to slip from his hand a piece of candy or an orange, rare at that time, and run away forcing him to chase her around the house while she giggles.. She was not there anymore.

Also my caring, compassionate, kind sister “Batul” was not there anymore. 

My father, who was the refuge to whom I resorted in every distress, was not there anymore..

My little things, my clothes, my sandals and shoes, my books and wallet..  They were not there anymore


At that moment, a rational person wants to deactivate all of his senses, if the shock did not disrupt them already.. to erase all of his past. Every thought that brings him even one hour back, is like a mountain of worries and pains falling above his chest and suffocating his breath.

If you were a boy and only an hour ago you had a home, the safety of a father, the tenderness of a mother, the sympathy of sisters... And now you are sitting, hiding and terrified, under the shade of a tree with no address, no shoes, no mattress, no father, no sisters.. The trauma would silence you. You would be silent in spite of yourself.. Even if you thought of complaining, to whom will you complain? Even if you felt helpless and cried, what would you cry for? Cry for the loss of the father or the younger or elder sister? Or do you cry for losing your little things? your wallet, your toys, your school, your friends?..

When pain is too much, children have no reaction other than silence.


The wall of my silence was only broken by the car engines returning to take us to the unknown, which began with a night-time journey without lights to another forest in the “Wain Silwan” valley where we arrived hours later. We had no food and no blankets and neither did the soldiers accompanying us. How will they feed 700 abductees when they could not light a match for fear that their locations would be revealed!


Like all the families in the caravan, our mother had nothing to offer us but her hugs. She embraced us to protect us from the cold and Aunt Safia helped her with a blanket. As for our hunger and worry, she could only make us sleep to forget about it.

That’s how we spent that night and the next day under that tree, until the cars and trucks returned in the evening to take us on another night trip without lights. This time continued without stopping until the next morning, when we reached the “Lotad” area of the “Irne” Valley in the “Tafariti” region. As usual, we went under the trees, the cars and trucks left, but our circumstances began to change, as we found food and blankets for the first time in three days.


That night we were gathered outside the valley. We were exhibited in front of a group of foreign journalists who had interviews with the sheikhs. I was the only boy who gave a press interview that night with the Front Radio. They asked me to tell my father that I went with my mother and that I was well and unharmed.

After meeting the press, the convoy set off on another night journey that lasted until the next morning. We stopped to rest, without precautionary measures as usual. For us, tired of traveling and burdened with worries, that meant our journey was nearing the end.

That night, we arrived at a small camp in the southeast of “Rabouni” dedicated to receiving newcomers to the camps. They called it the startings center. In the camps they call every newcomer a starter, and every group a starting, so we were called the starting of Smara.


Whatever name the front had given us, our journey to the camps was exhausting and arduous, a great risk and disregard for the lives of hundreds of civilians. All the lands that we passed through since our departure from Smara were battlefields, in which only the soldiers were moving around. We were loaded in a convoy of dozens of military cars and trucks escorted by armed forces, there was no sign that our convoy had civilians.

During our four-day trip, Moroccan warplanes were flying in the air and we could have been bombed at any moment. A massacre would have taken place, the size of which only God would know. A count of 700 civilians, mostly women and children, is not simple. A disaster of this nature almost happened in the  “Lotad” area when a warplane passed over our heads at a height so low that we thought it touched the branches of trees under whose shades we were hiding.


From the date of October 11, 1979, we became residents of the camps of honor and dignity for the Sahrawi refugees on Algerian soil, and we went from abductees to liberated.

We were taught that the tent of "dignity" is better than the city of "humiliation and shame" in which we were captives. We believed them, until they proved themselves liars three decades later.


As part of the blessings and generosity of the front, so that I do not have more than one day of grief, or by the irony of fate, my exile and my expulsion away from my family coincided with the day of my liberation!!!!

October 6, 1979

October 6, 2010


The story continues...