Free Excerpt. The young Khizr

“So what will you do with your life, Khizr? Do you know Ferhat will be a doctor like
his father? Perhaps a football player?” enquired Ferhat’s mother.
“Or an astronaut for NASA?” his sister Rania asked colouring slightly.
The tall boy sat silently as if musing in reflective thought over the answer to their
questions. They were sitting around a table in a tearoom, one of the many that could be
found on practically every street of the city. The women attractively attired, wearing
their white Hayek’s covering their heads, and which would typically be fastened at the
throat just below the chin, now hanging loose in the cheerful and relaxed bustle of the
busy tearoom.

“I will be a true Algerian, that will be the story of my life.”

“Shut up, Khizr, stop being so enigmatic. Tell us what all this grand mystery is,”
hooted Ferhat laughing, but his sister put a gentling hand on his arm.

“Stop, Ferhat, let him tell. We want to hear.”

“He won’t tell you anything, it’s all a big seeeecret shhhhhh,” persisted Ferhat, until
the firm yet gentle tones of Khizr’s voice stilled his humorous outburst.

“There was once a land ruled over by tribes in a loose yet efficient fashion so that
the many travellers who visited her shores marvelled at the wonder of it all. And even
though invaders came and over the centuries left their mark, the real damage was never
done until the Turkish invaders arrived, an arrogant empire seeking to grow and to
trample whatever people lay in her path. Then, in their wake the French, who made our
country a part of their own, but refused to grant our people equality of status and used
us as slaves. Eventually, we rebelled after having had our young men go to fight their
battles in foreign lands, giving their lives. Only to return and see their fellow
countrymen slaughtered at Setif and all the surrounding towns and villages. And after
the French, with our naive freedom, we will be enslaved by our own, by the selected
few, in a new form of colonisation being used by the Western powers to crush the poor,
hungry and helpless of the world under their jackboots. This last, the most insidious of
all invasions, must be stopped all over the world, and I believe there are millions of
souls out there who are and think as I do.”

“Wow,” exclaimed the older woman. “That’s quite a piece; but surely most
intelligent human beings in today’s world think more or less along those lines, only that
they realise there is little that can be done as the problem is humanity itself.”

“That precisely, Madame, is what I refuse to accept, the negative attitude of people
all over the world, their acquiescence, their participation in their own end, their eventual
destruction. We live at the start of the era of technology, and we must create a free and

fair world to use this new power for good. With it, as a race, we can survive the future
and all it may hold, once we have a properly governed world.”

“Dreams, one day you will begin to awaken to the harsh reality of things and will
become like others.”

“With due respect, Madame, you hardly know me. All I can say is that I will
dedicate my life to being a true Algerian and follow in the footsteps of those men in our
history whose lives and examples I hold sacred.”