Now you want me to be silent.. Please allow me to breathe (9)

I continued my journey north to the village of “Om Eshgag” west of “Bir Moghrein” on the frontiers line with the Front, no more than 100 km away from Mehaires where my mother lives. I stayed with my uncle Syed Ahmed Bindar when I received a letter that my mother would come to us the next day, where we are within Mauritanian territory.


I expected that the reason for my mother’s visit instead of waiting for me, was that she would be carrying a last message from the front.


My mother arrived with my uncle Bouzid, who is older than her. We spent a day and a night, carrying two messages: one explicit as the previous messages, the other implicit and immoral. Someone had come and I refrain from mentioning his name because starting from this part I will start mentioning the names, so that my brothers in the camps can verify everything I will include in my story.


My mother, who found herself as my children surrounded by an atmosphere charged with hostility, public incitement, whispering and blaming against her son, chose as she always did to turn to God and meet all that she hears, watches and lives of hostile behaviors with silence and non-comment. She was certain of one thing, that she knew her son whom she had raised herself, and that if he was not carrying good then surely it would not be evil. Evil is not of his nature.


I was saying: my mother came to me terrified at the horror of what she was told would happen to me if I dared to set foot on the sahara borders anywhere east of the security belt, or if I tried to enter the camps.

I asked my mother whether she noticed any change in my attitude or behavior, whether she noticed a tank or an army with me since she arrived. There was none of that.. I am still me, her naive son, whom she often described as mindless.


That was the most difficult encounter I ever had. When you see your mother frightened for fear of what will befall you, and you have nothing to make her feel better, an embarrassing situation.

I took my mother outside the tent, and like someone who did not know the area, I asked her to name for me the mountains and valleys that appear in front of us, until the mountains of “Erghioua”: Poor mother laughed, and she said to me, “Do you think that I was born yesterday” and she started, as if she was proud of being from the area, naming from there to Mehaires.

Astonished, I asked her how do you know all these names? She seemed as if the tape of her life loomed in front of her from the day she was born until the moment we stood. Then resumed naming the mountains and valleys and trees and stones, and her memories with each. There someone was born and there he married someone, and there we went to do this and there we did that... 

Without knowing where I was leading her and without asking her, she said why would you ask me about the place of your birth and the birth of your brothers.. Someone like you should know all these names, this is your land and the land of your father and grandfather...

Then, I asked my mother, does anyone in the world have the right, after what you just said, to stop me from entering Mhaires? ..


Which is occupied? Smara where my father is, or Mehaires where you are?

Is Morocco the one who displaced us from our land, or those who want to displace me now from my land !!!!?


Yesterday, they kidnapped us from Smara and killed some of us and separated us from our father. Today, they are doing it again .. 

Yesterday, they separated me from my father. Today, they are doing it again and they are separating me from you!!!! And my four sons and Maryam, whom I have not yet seen.. as they did with my father years ago when they kidnapped you and me and my siblings and Muhammad al-Amin, whom he had not yet seen because he was born in the camp..


After God, whom else do you all have other than me? And whom do I have other than you all?

I prefer prison to what they are offering me.. To be in a prison or a grave in Mehaires, where you would visit me, is more merciful than what they want from me. Where should I leave now? And whom should I leave? My mother and my children? I am your eldest !!!!


The tears that I did not shed at that moment, out of concern for my mother, here I am shedding them now, after she passed away without me saying goodbye to her.. as the front kept me away from my mother and father and all that is dear to me .. because I spoke up..


Now you want me to be silent.. please allow me to breathe.


The story continues ...

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