Please don't ask me to be silent. Allow me to breathe

They were two neighboring villages. One was a town on the sea and the other had no access to water from any side, and between them an isolated forbidden space. Whoever went from one to the other never returns, which made myths spread between the inhabitants of the two villages. Especially about the evil that is lurking on the other side. 

Remember the story of the raid carried out by the soldiers of the village that is not connected to water, on the sea town during some winter in the last century, and how they took me, my siblings and my pregnant mother to their village? How they raised me and taught me to become one of them, and believe in their myths, including the legend of the monster that occupies my town, the city on the sea? 

How my father was not as lucky as me and remained in the captivity of the monster in town, how I searched for him after a few years? How I entered the town, afraid, anticipating, then I found my father safe and healthy.. and how the journey in search of my father was a reason from God to loosen the knots of the legendary monster that was occupying the town? And that I announced my amazing discovery through the media?


Now how did the news of my great discovery reach my village, the one landlocked from all sides?


As it is a village isolated from the world, in an arid desert, with no agriculture or resources, its residents who still live in tents live on the aid provided by monks. The monks are the only ones who have wings and can get out of the village. They beg in the remote towns for supplies and medicine for the villagers.

Some of their miracles are that they have two, three, four wings, and by their grace come food, drinks, medicine, air, life and death. The monks became the masters of the village.


The doctrine of the monks who rule the landlocked village, is based on myths and legends. The most important of these is the legend of the mobster that occupies the town, the neighboring sea city, in which people's livelihood comes from somewhere.


When the monks heard about the press conference held in Smara and me returning to the village. They declared a state of emergency, closed the doors and gathered the residents of the village. And they said to them: O people, who are we among you?

The people said you are our masters and our pride.


The priests said: 


You know that we only show you what we see, and we only guide you in ways of goodness..and what you heard is the bray of a donkey seeking to corrupt your belief. It has happened in the dawn of time that a donkey was wandering in the woods and found a dead lion, and it occurred to him to put on the lion’s skin and pretend to be him, to see how the town folks would react if they saw him in a lion’s skin.


The donkey put on the lion’s skin and returned to the town, and everyone fled, thinking that it was a lion. The donkey would have ruled, had it not been that God created it as a donkey. When donkeys are happy, they feel the urge to bray.

In the midst of his euphoria, the donkey forgot that it was only wearing the lion’s skin, his instinct overcame him and he brayed. Thus, the villagers found out about him and returned to their lives.


This is what happened to Mustafa Salma. We raised him among us as a child, and showered him with our abundant blessings. We even dressed him in a lion's skin and made him the head of our police to defend the village from attacks of dogs and wolves.


But he violated our customs and left the village, and you see what happened to him. He was hit by a curse that showed his true colors, unmasking him as just one of the donkeys from the other town, the city on the sea, who were content with humiliation and the rule of the monster, and he forgot that we were the ones who dressed him in the lion’s skin, so he went public on TV, braying and thinking he was roaring .. God forbid. 


It is not surprising that he had struck some of the malicious weed consumed by the monster occupying the town, the city of the sea, so he lost his mind. Whoever uses this weed, spoils his mind and his fate and is no more fit to live among you. Therefore, out of our concern for you and your belief, we sentence him to exile.


The story continues...

Mustapha Salma Ould Sidi Mouloud is a former police chief of the Polisario Front, and political dissident.