Mo and Charlie - My inner Algerian

My inner Algerian...

the argument goes...
that the hurt that words cause
and the damage that slights and insults inflict,
cannot in a court of law be prosecuted
because the wounds of words are not apparent
and the humiliation is often masked.
So I don my mask and thicken my skin
and disintegrate inside...
But what happened to you my friend
my educated, intellectual compatriot?
why did you resort to insulting me and mine?
what did you do it or a laugh?
were you celebrating your freedom of speech
or your freedom of provocation?
Just because you didn't physically hurt me
does that mean I don't physically hurt?
Did you not see me as an equal, a human
was I too brown to your white,
too Algerian to your French,
much too traditional for the liberal in you,
too uncultured for your culture
is it simply that I need to be 'Charlie'
but you cannot be 'Mo'?

So you twisted your pen
and let the ink run over the parchment
and into my eyes
until i cried and my heart bled
you laid waste to my foundation
booby-trapped the wellspring of my faith
and dismissed my protests
as the reactions of an unrefined brute.

Let's talk about what I am to compatriot.
you called my homeland "Algérie française"
you borrowed it from me for a hundred and thirty seven years
you borrowed my grandparents and never returned them
you burnt my crops and no one ever ate them
you practiced torture and scorched-earth policy
In the words of your general,
"This is how, my dear friend, we must make war against Arabs: kill all men over the age of fifteen, take all their women and children, load them onto naval vessels, send them to the Marquesas Islands or elsewhere. In one word, annihilate all who will not crawl beneath our feet like dogs."
How successfully was your plunder
how accomodating my people...
you were the sophisticate
and I the barbarian!
My mother fled to France because you made her war against her people
you had my father give up his faith so he could become a Frenchman
History calls it quasi-apartheid, but who remembers...
is it simply that I need to be 'Charlie'
but you cannot be 'Mo'?

Yet all these years later
after I have lost my 'Mo'
and become Charlie...
an impotent Charlie that you want
not the original you advertize
you still practice your quasi-apartheid
but this time in the country we own together...

is it simply that I have to keep trying to be 'Charlie'
so that you don't have to try to be 'Mo'?


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