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Digital Subscriptions > Boston Review > Allies (Fall 2019) > ANOTHER WAY TO LOVE THIS WORLD


Abdellah Taia, translated from the French

WHEN I WAS LITTLE, my parents didn’t do anything to keep the world, Morocco, and the men of our neighborhood from raping me. Raping me again and again.

It was an open secret. And a taboo at the same time.

He’s a fag. He’s a fag and he’s for everyone. Help yourself. You can do anything to his little body with total impunity. Touch him. Caress him. Penetrate him. Hit him. Spit on him. Transform him into a sexual object for anyone who is sexually frustrated. He is a communal object. He doesn’t complain. He’s so docile. Such a feminine little thing, prancing around and getting everyone excited. Look, look how he walks and how he makes his eyes dance. It’s his fault, let’s go, let’s go rape him. Everyone gets a turn. Everyone gets a turn.

No one will ever tell. It’s like that here, and everywhere in the world. A universal law, I tell you.

Abdellah. That’s me. They didn’t call me Abdellah, no. For them, I was Leila, or Zoubida. Or Sawssane. A boy-girl who wasn’t supposed to exist and who, precisely because of this nonexistence, could satisfy their limitless libidos. A body on which a crime could be committed before thanking it with a smile. Yes, just a brief smile. That will be enough. He won’t say anything. He doesn’t need to. Everyone knows what he is. No one is going to go to the police. Nor the king. Nor the courts. This boy-girl is already protected. The devil protects him. He is the devil. He’s not so innocent. Beware. Take another look at how he walks and how he talks. All of him is for screwing, for penetrating, from behind, his mouth, even his ears.

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About Boston Review

Allies is the first publication of Boston Review's newly inaugurated Arts in Society department. A radical revisioning of the magazine's poetry and fiction, the department unites them—along with cultural criticism and belles lettres—under a project that explores how the arts can speak directly to the most pressing political and civic concerns of our age, from growing inequality to racial and gender regimes, a disempowered electorate, and a collapsing natural world.