The Legacy – by Lila Ben Mamar

Lila Ben Mamar is an aspiring poet.  She was born in Algeria in 1968.

As you know, the indigenous of the now so-called ‘North African’ nations, spoke many indigenous languages. Arabic Islamic invasion and governance forced Arabic language for centuries. Then during the European colonial period, Algeria and many North African nations and others, were colonized by the French government. So as my Algerian friends like to say, “We have been colonized twice. Our people have been scattered and sequestered over many different countries, divided. Our own Berber and other languages have become ‘minority’ languages, although many of us retain our original  languages.”

The poems which she has shared with me, tell of heartache, cultural loss and survival, resistance to loss, trauma and healing, love and longing.  The Algerian landscape and the traumas the peoples of Algeria have experienced, are given to us through her poems in a direct fashion as an act of non-forgetting and loss, resistance and living in exile.

Here is her bio in the French language, followed by a poem translated into English by Lila Ben and I contributed some editing:

Lila Ben mamar née en 1968 en Algérie, dans la région de Tizi Ouzou à Ain el hammam ex Michelet, une région montagneuse assez rude.
Etudes secondaires en Kabylie puis licence en anglais à l’université d’Alger de 1986 à1990.Dans les années 90’ retour en Kabylie où j’ai enseigné l’anglais pendant une dizaine d’années .En 2000, j’ai quitté l’Algérie pour m’installer en France.
Mes écrits sont principalement dictés par la difficulté de surmonter la douleur de l’exil, ils consistent également à saisir l’émotion que m’inspire un souvenir, mon vécu et les êtres qui me sont chers.

The Legacy

When news is about the dead
What about those left living?
Dead body    here.   And a bullet, a hatchet
a leg there.     A severed head here.
Dead here.
Pieces of a body
a world without peace.
Barbarians made this, deserting humans
Moving at a pace
with a fierce face
Chasing grace
Flowers uprooted
Lovers threatened      and others
a dreadful sowing

with Blood  and sobbing
for generations following

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