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Rhythm of Violence in Mohammed Dib’s “ Savage Night”,

“Naema- Whereabouts Unknown” and “A Game of Dice” in Savage Night.

BY

ENYIDA, DAVID.

20th April 2018.

Abstract.
This paper studies Rhythm of Violence in Mohammed Dib’s Savage Night, Naema- Whereabouts
Unknown and A Game of Dice. The study shows that the immediate post-independent Algerian socio-
cultural space was submerged into violence. This was brought about by regular invasions, occupations
and colonizations by foreign powers such as the Turks, Spanish and French. These ushered in
disorientation, frustration and insecurity in Algeria. The population was traumatized by colonial acts of
extreme violence which haunted them through remembrance and memory. This study aims at
investigating extreme terrorism and text in Mohammed Dib’s selected works, with the cardinal objective
of showing that the acts of extreme terrorism in the postcolonial Algeria are the results of Algeria’s
memories of traumatic experiences. The paper believes that Mohammed Dib’s three stories would help
illuminate the tapestry and the intricate webs of violence in Algeria. To this end, the paper pursues the
thesis that unmitigated violence is always the consequence of any context where alien colonization
clashes and contends with the indigenous socio-cultural life for political and economic supremacy. The
paper employs textual qualitative analysis, interpretation and evaluation methodology. It also uses
Trauma Studies and Literature in attempting to understand the salient issues in the selected stories. It
further reveals that extreme terrorism in Algeria was ideological rather than personal. It also believes that
Algeria appropriated not only the legacy of French and Arabic languages alone but the culture of extreme
violence and terrorism. Finally, the paper advices government of any nation that has the legacy of
colonialism to urgently embark on decolonization and deradicalization of the minds of her younger
generation otherwise Algerian experience would ensue. Mohammed Dib’s three stories are indeed open
windows through which the world of extreme terrorism into which Algeria was plunged can be viewed
clearly.
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Introduction:
Wherever colonialism thrived handsomely, there are the issues of socio-cultural contradictions such as
suppression, outright intimidation and brutality; economic exploitations and political alienations. This is
because the colonialists were only out to forage and grab for the need of their home nation and never for
the interest of the colonized. Webster’s New Explorer Encyclopaedic Dictionary defines colonialism as
control by one power over a dependent area or people. A policy advocating based on such control. The
salient elements from this definition are “control”, “one power”, “dependent area or people”, and policies
that advocate or drive such programmes. Europeans and Arabians did not just get up and wander
aimlessly into the African landscape, which they derogatorily tagged the “Heart of Darkness”, they
polished and honed their policies to conquer, subject and control and then pillage and exploit the
resources of the colonized area for the benefit of their home country. If they maintained law and order, it
was only for the purpose of making the atmosphere conducive for their exploitation to boom unhindered.
As Valentin Y. Mudimbe states in his essay “Romanus Pontifex (1454) and the Expansion of Europe”
The pope is a visible representative of God himself, and thus above kings, and as he does in inter
coetera, give, grant, and assign forever (to European kings) countries and islands (newly)
discovered… non-Christians have no rights to possess or negotiate any dominion in the then-
existing international context, and thus their land is objectively a tera nullius (no-man’s-land) that
may be occupied and seized by Christians in order to exploit the richness meant by God to be
shared by all humankind. In doing so, they will be helping the inferior “brethren” to insert
themselves in the real and true history of salvation. (51).
The fallout from the above is that the colonialists were ordained by God for all kinds of violent acts
because “God” through the Roman Catholic Pontiff empowered them to seize, occupy, suppress and
exploit the colonized nations. With a mindset like this, nothing could check the excesses of the
colonialists. As the saying goes, “a child whose father asks him to go and steal would not steal secretly
but barge in through the gate”. Little wonder why the atrocities committed by the colonial regimes were
astronomical and unquestioned.
Achille Mbembe in the chapter, “Of Commandement” in his book On the Postcolony argues that
colonial forces always achieve hegemony through widespread violence designed to ensure that the
authority they acquired was maintained, spread…(25) when this act of violence is received over and over,
it crystalizes into ritual and gained acceptance as the norm.
In summing up the essence of colonialism, Mbembe explains that governing in a colony meant
first and foremost having commandement over the natives. He further states:
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“Civilization” … in its brutal form, war, through the act of conquest-that is, the right to kill and
make force prevail. Exercising command thus meant to compel people to perform obligations”…
power was reduced to the right to demand, to force, to ban, to enjoin and to direct. The key
characteristic of colonial rule was thus to issue orders and have them carried out. (32).
This is the apt summary of the faces and characteristics of colonialism in nearly all the colonies it
operated.
The traumatic atrocities of grabbing, broad daylight exploitation and brutality made the “natives”
cry out for self-rule. In some cases, the agitation for sovereignty and resource control snow-balled and
nose-dived into arms confrontations like in the case of Mau Mau in Kenya. The ensued independence as
always was gained at very high cost of blood. Algeria was not an exemption as she drank her share of the
ills of colonialism.
How did Algeria respond to this perennial threat to their communal existence by the foreign
invaders? The traumatic experiences meted out to Algeria kept on popping up as recollections,
flashbacks, and nightmares: the noxious memories of the legacies of her colonial experiences.
Trauma manifests at national, corporate, ethno-communal as well as individual levels. Such was
the case of the postcolonial Algeria where the vast majority of the populace resorted to violence and
terrorism with the aim that these would bring about their healing. Vengeance, which became act of
extreme terrorism, could not achieve the desired national reparations but rather another plunging into
deeper trauma. It was against this backdrop that Mohammed Dib crafted his stories Savage Night, A
Game of Dice and Naema-Whereabout Unknown under analysis.
This paper seeks to understand the patterns and extent of trauma-induced extreme terrorism in the
postcolonial Algerian milieu as depicted in Mohammed Dib’s Savage Night, Naema-Whereabouts
Unknown and A Game of Dice since literature is the representation of a nation’s socio-cultural realities, it
is likely that the texts would generate the needed insight into the Algerian setting.
The aim of this study is to investigate the Rhythm of Violence and textuality in Mohammed Dib’s
selected works. The objectives of the study are:
1. To showcase the patterns and rhythm of extreme violence in the socio-cultural terrain of Algeria.
2. To demonstrate that the acts of violence/terrorism in Algeria are ideological rather than personal.
3. To show that Dib’s selected works are depictions of the socio-cultural realities in the postcolonial
Algeria.
4. To show that the acts of extreme terrorism in the postcolonial Algeria were the results of Algeria’s
memories of traumatic experiences occasioned by hurts perpetuated by colonial policies.
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5. To highlight that the Algerian postcolonial insecurity was an appropriated cultural legacy from
colonialism.
6. To show that North Africa and indeed Algeria possesses rich literary works that depict their
peculiar cultural life.
This study employs the qualitative research methodology. This entails analysis, interpretation and
evaluation of the texts: Mohammed Dib’s Savage Night, A Game of Dice and Naema-Whereabouts
Unknown.
Historical/Social-Political Background of Algeria:
Algeria is a North African Country. Its northern sector terminates in the Mediterranean Sea, and on the
southern fringe is landlocked by Mali in the south-west and Niger Republic on the south-eastern
perimeters. Furthermore, Algeria shares common boundaries with Tunisia and Libya on the east while it
is bounded by Morocco, Western Sahara and Mauritania on the northwestern fringes. Algeria is a large
country with an expanse of desert land for the greater part of its southern section.
According to http://www.historyworld.net, Algeria is a country that was polarized by political
unrest. Not until most recent times, Algeria never knew peace for a long stretch of period. From the 16 th
and 17th centuries, the Mediterranean Coast of Algeria attracted the attention of Spain on the west and
Turkey in the east that was after the decline of the Berber dynasty. The struggle between the Spanish and
the Turks lasted for almost the greater part of the 16th century which culminated in the partitioning of the
nation. The Turkish pirates controlled the coastal lines which later was named the protectorates of
Ottoman Empire. This was in 1512. Later French intervened militarily with the excuse of the notoriety of
piracy around the area.
The French army landed in June 1830 and overpowered the forces of Dey. In the midst of the
imbroglio, the nation was polarized into many packets and groups and most of them fighting against the
invading forces of France. Notable among them was Abd-el-kader who declared a jihad against the
intruders. He only surrendered in 1847. In 1880 the French government sets in place the process of
colonization of Algeria; with this in place, the European population in Algeria swelled up to over 350,000
which doubled, a half of the century later. The Muslim population also increased from about 3 million to
about 9 million just like in the Southern Africa, the struggle for economic and political independence
ensued. This struggle raged on through into the 20 th century. Later, there was a lot of confusion which is
always the result of where cultures confront themselves. In this case, it resulted in the slogan: Algeria is
French soil and we are French Muslims. This was around 1931. This was due to the hybridity of the
Algerian populace. They were partly French or Europeans and partly Arabs. They were neither whole-
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heartedly accepted as Europeans nor as Arabians. The Europeans grabbed the economic structures and
political powers at the detriment of the local Algerian Muslim population. This instituted a reign of
political struggle and all kinds of social vices and agitations.
Jan Palmowski records that right from 1945 to 1958 there were upsurge of scuffles, agitations and
unrest almost everywhere in the colony of Algeria. The European settlers wanted to hold onto power
while the local or native Algerian Muslims wanted to regain socio-political and economic powers. The
hybrid Algerians wanted to establish themselves as the dominant force in all the fronts, while the French
government laid strong stake on the Algerian territory as theirs by conquest. This resulted in the
formation of Algerian Nationalist groups such as FLN (Front de Liberatione Nationale). Others were
GPRA (Government Provisoire de la Republique Algerienne).
From this point in 1961 some disenchanted French army officers revolted, while two surrendered,
others went underground to form OAS (Organization de L’Armee Secrete) run by Raoul Salan and
Edmond Jouhand to engage in terrorist act against the homeland France, Muslims and political targets in
Algeria (1-6), and so the legacy of terrorism pervaded the consciousness of the ordinary Algerian
populace.
Algeria has been a nation that hardly enjoyed the delicacy of peace as the sketched historical
background demonstrates. It had been embroiled in one form of civil unrest to another. Rightly so, any
clime where the population and culture are polarized and segregated into parcels and packets, the
Algerian scenario would result. It was against this background of unmitigated and rhythmic violence that
Mohammed Dib crafted the three stories: The Savage Night, Naema-Whereabouts Unknown and A Game
of Dice chosen for this study.

Mohammed Dib: A Brief Bio Data.


According to Geoff Wisner, http://www.wwb.daily.com, Mohammed Dib was born in Tiecem Algeria in
1920. He was a poet and novelist. He worked as a teacher, an accountant, rug-weaver and designer as
well as interpreter and journalist before turning into full time writing towards the tail end of his life. He
was deported for his nationalist views in 1959, during the country’s long and bloody war for
independence. Though he was a prolific and honoured writer in France, where he died in 2003, his work
has been almost unavailable in English. Dib wrote almost 35 novels in French. The basic subject matter
of nearly every story as he pointed out in an afterword is the violence and injustice of the 20 th century,
particularly violence that came out coldly because it was motivated by memory and ideology rather than
personal emotions. In many of these works, relatively straightforward action is coupled with
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psychological subtlety. It is against this background that the three novels of Mohammed Dib’s The
Savage Night, Naema-whereabouts Unknown and The Game of Dice are chosen for analysis, with the aim
that they will illuminate understanding on the issues of trauma and ideological violence/terrorism.

Trauma Studies:
Webster’s New Explorer Encyclopedic Dictionary defines trauma as an injury (as a wound) to living
tissue caused by an extrinsic agent. It is also a disordered psychic or behavioural state of mind resulting
from mental or emotional stress or physical injury. Trauma is the result of an injury which occurred
physically or emotionally like what Katia Reinert (2018) terms “Words that wound” (8). And so after the
physical pains, there follows a psychic refeeling of the emotional pains through memory, flashback and
nightmares. This recollection triggers up irrational and violent behavioural patterns, stress conditions,
anxiety and anger. These demonstrations are cries to redeem the past. It is a desire to re-enact the past so
that the traumatic situation could be rectified. The victim of trauma carries a double burden. The first, if it
is physical pain will later metamorphose into psychological or emotional pains, what Cathy Caruth terms
“double wounding”(x) Laura S. Brown calls “Walking wounded” (105).
Most often, trauma is caused by an external aggressor that is outside the will of the entity or
victim (the aggressed) whenever the victim sees or senses those conditions (stressors) that brought about
the original traumatic conditions, the victim cringes, transfixes into immobility as in shock, as if the
violent scenario would replay itself.
As it is with an individual so almost it is with a nation, race or community of people. That is why
Frantz Fanon marks a departure from the westernized individualistic notion or concept of trauma. Fanon
emphasizes the concept of trauma that is rooted in the collective experiences such as colonization,
slavery, war, natural disaster, terrorism, internal displacement and others. Fanon’s preoccupation is on
material recovery and reparation as requisites for healing the traumatic injuries. Fanon in his book Black
Skin White Mask (1967) has contended that the “Blackman’s chronically neurotic state of mind cannot be
alleviated as long as the socio-economic structure that brought it on him remains unchanged, there will
be an authentic disalienation only to the degree to which things in the world would be restored to their
proper places”(105). The emphasis here is on collective (communal or national) healing of the pains of
the past.
Wherever and whenever systemic acts of violence occur with rhythmic candour, it is then a likely
result of the traumatic pains of the past. Most often, it means that wounds are not properly healed but are
shouting out for recognition and then reparation. This could be the case for the postcolonial Algeria. This
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paper believes that Mohammed Dib’s three selected stories would help us understand the contributions
trauma and ideological conditionings made in fueling extreme terrorism in Algeria.

Trauma Studies and Literature:


The main concern of literature in trauma studies is to understand how the link between critical method
and its techniques can open up knowledge about individual and collective painful memories of the past
are constituted into the works of literature and other forms of artistic productions. In other words, society
desires to understand how the text such as the three stories of Mohammed Dib though representing the
past experiences can be said to be speaking about the need for healing in the present. Literature, through
its pedagogical, informative and entertaining qualities has the innate potentials to dig up issues that lie
deep down in the recesses of the society and opens them up for public, accessibility and assessment with
a view to proffering solution and healing. The earlier the pestering social wounds are opened up quicker
and better it is for the perceived societal maladies to heal.
In this sense, Laura Brown has argued that the scholar, critic or clinician should look out for the
tell-tale symptoms of trauma, which she says, “‘the person has experienced an event that is outside the
range of human experience,’ re-experiencing symptom, nightmares, and flashbacks, avoidance
symptoms, the marks of psychic numbing; and the symptoms heightened psychological arousal;
hypervigilance, disturbed sleep, a distracted mind” (100). Literature, through its media creates awareness
on the issues of traumatization, and also draws the attention of the society to the realities of such ills with
a view to navigating and proffering remedy. Kali Tal has argued:
these everyday assaults on integrity and personal safety are sources of psychic trauma, to
acknowledge the absence of safety in the daily lives of women and other nondominant groups, is
to admit to what is deeply wrong in many sacred social institutes and challenges the benign mask
behind which everyday oppression operates. (105).
If the issues of trauma are not confronted multi-frontally head on, the human society would be sleep
walking in the memories of pain and hurt.
This paper pursues the thesis that Mohammed Dib’s selected works depict acts of extreme
violence, which plagued postcolonial Algeria were the result of memories and recollections, and an
appropriated legacy from the colonial culture of brutality.

Rhythm of Violence In Mohammed Dib’s Three Selected Novels:


The Savage Night.
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In this story two young siblings Nédim and his sister Beyhana embarked on an odious journey by
trolley through the midday heat of Algiers. These are not only similar in look but in action and thought,
something close to telepathy. One might incline to believe that they are lovers. While in the trolley,
Nédim begins to think that the co-passengers are mannequins that would soon “be offered to the flames,
reduced to smoke”. Even in the intense heat and uncomfortable condition they find themselves, their deep
thought is killing and destruction. This is serious considering the fact that they are just young persons.
According to www.bdaily.com :
These young persons braved the dangerous journey on their way to commit a horrendous act of
terrorism. The main aim of these young revolutionaries on their way to bomb a café in Algiers
was to cause destruction. (2).
The main mission of these children is to cause chaos so as to attract the attention of the world to Algeria.
Imene Moulati (2013) opines that the story explores the legitimatization of FLN violence and exposes the
psychological damage that has been inflicted by the war on the Algerians.
Dib employs the technique of flashback in this story to recount and mourn the loss of Nédim. Dib
portrays Beyhana as the “perfect image of light-hearted serenity, the perfect image of femininity” (54)
and “a freedom fighter as well” (141). Nedim on the other hand is depicted as “a caring brother, a
passionate lover, and a violent fighter at the same time, whose violence is not innate but acquired, caused
by the savagery of the war” (141). This echoes Richard McNally (2003) that “the past leaves its mark on
behaviour as well as on the thought” (3). This is why the action of bombing a café is a natural reaction to
their traumatic past under French colonization. Their wound was crying out for healing.
The children on their way to bomb the café, their “smile and giddy laughter” (47) struggle for
supremacy on their faces. As they are getting close to their target, Nedim is virtually transformed into a
demented brute, “charging with all the savagery he can muster” (50). Nedim’s transformation from a
gentle loving brother into a savage brute all in a split second which “does not care whether his beloved
sister was even there” (52) leaves the reader appalled. This suggests the agitation, disorientation and
confusion that greeted Algerian youths as a result of the French occupation. The youths were confused
whether to adopt French culture or Arabic culture. They were at the cross-road. They are neither French
nor really Algerians. They are confused. The source of the confusion was French colonization. Therefore,
to exterminate this confusion was a necessary and an honourable task. Nedim’s dual personalities as a
loving, and caring brother and as a terrorist reflects his suffering- reaction to the terror of the world. Dib
sadly observes:

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Death, all this time it had been walking arm in arm with those who shared in being overly
suspicious, overly hateful, overly blind to what was at stake. Now nothing will be able to keep
this particular story from starting at the beginning and rewriting itself differently and in letters of
blood (57).
This lends voice to the violent condition in Algeria, where death is always an abiding presence. This
depicts the traumatic/psychological pain the Algerian youths suffer since the colonization era-a legacy of
hate, of terror and of confusion! Furthermore, wars and terrorist acts always confound the mind with a
desire to revenge and for freedom. But the psychological freedom is not attainable in an environment of
violence and fear. The more they descend into savagery, the more psychological freedom eludes them,
and the more nights of uncertainty, fear, death and imprisonment becloud them. It is indeed a long night
of savagery and the break of day is still far in the bloodying and darkening horizon!
Naema-Whereabouts Unknown.
In this story Dib recreates the deplorable conditions of the French colonization of Algeria. He imagines
and recreates the FLN which was one of the foremost organizations sworn to wrestle powers from the
colonialist through whatever method imaginable. The Algerian socio-political landscape is already
bespattered with blood of the slain. And since violence begets violence, as Langston Hughes Poem
“Dream Deferred” advocates, they believe that it takes only a re-enactment of violence to rescue them
from the clutches of oppression, killing, imprisonment and disappearances.
The author “employs narrator’s Diary to recount” what transpired in the earlier years of the
narrator’s life. In the story, the narrator’s wife has disappeared. The act of disappearances was not new
but the order of the day in Algeria since the French occupation and the struggle for independence. People
disappear not on their own evolution but kidnapped or arrested dumped inside French gaol (dungeon)
without trials. Such one would never regain freedom again. This story about disappearance thus
represents the thousands of Algerians that had disappeared since the occupation of the nation for about
130 years culminating in 1962 when Algeria regained independence. This work is a re-enactment of
French brutality against the Algerians.
Algerians who were not even allowed to see their families before being imprisoned, killed, or
tortured to death. Like Naema, they simply disappeared and no one has ever returned home from
that place (15).
Naema’s disappearance depicts the violence which trauma induces as the narrator states “not to know
where she is, what they have done to her, is a torment “(17) This is a double suffering, of not knowing the

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cause of and how of death and how the disappeared was buried, creates excruciating trauma for the
bereaved.
Naema’s son Rahim after three years through the war has become immuned to suffering, pain and
violence. Violence was everywhere and the psychic of the younger generation of Algeria have come to
believe and baptized into violence. They see violence as the only way. The Algeria scenario is over-
charged with and by violence to the extent that Rahim though only seven years old believe in killing and
violence, as he tells his father that the only way to stop French terror is to kill a lot of people. “Keep
throwing bombs” (16). Where is the innocence of youth? Innocence of youth has been swallowed up by
violence at all levels. As Moulati states, “for Rahim representing the Algerian kids, bloodshed has
become a daily event as well as “killings, attacks, ambushes… there is an echo of it all in his words and
thoughts’ (16)” (138). Dib employs the narrator’s “diary format” as a means of recollecting of the
consciousness of the Algeria life during the war of decolonization. The journal is an ever-living imagery
of desolation, sadness and fear for the nation that was dissipating into smoke and blood.
The narrator’s seven year old son teaches the father “dawdle, daddy, must you when you throw
grenade” (16). Dib, through the narrator realizes that Algeria has far gone beyond the point of
redemption. This condition is represented in the story as the author portrays the perception of life during
the war when “no one can… imagine what life is like without continued bursts of firing and explosions”.
Life in Algeria is brutish and short. Uncertainty was everywhere. Life in Algeria was like the proverbial
flower that bubbles and flourishes in the morning but fizzles out at noon. “The perception of
disappearances creates profound frustration and despair that transform death into blessing for Algerians
as the narrator declares “we are prepared to die” and “there are times when I should like to meet my death
in one of the numerous outrages committed every day” (18-19).
The absence of freedom, justice and peace induces the narrator to enlist into the rank of FLN
freedom fighters. To the fighters, it is even dignified to die fighting than to die in inertia and docility. The
Algerian youths have embraced the cruel reality which unmitigated violence has ushered into the
Algerian arena. “I am ready to face the armies and police forces in the world (19), portrays the Algerians’
frustrations caused by colonial violence-oppression and humiliation at its highest. When one is pushed to
the wall, the gentle man in one dies; if one can recall Wole Soyinka’s book, The Man Die, in summary, as
Moulati states:
Naema-whereabouts Unknown justifies the use of violence as the only solution left for Algerians
to stop the terror carried out by the French army. Dib suggests that the Algeria memory has been
irreversibly traumatized as something has got underway which is even worse than war. (140).
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Algeria lost all sense of decency and crossed the point of no return. Evil and violence are everywhere.
Dib seems to shout loud and clear that once violence is welcomed into a setting, the whereabouts of
peace, mercy and hope and happiness will forever be as elusive as the foot of the rainbow.
In http://www.wordswithoutborder.org, Geoff Wisner observes that Mohammed Dib’s The Savage
Night, Naema-Whereabout Unknown and A Game of Dice are stories that showcase extremist-terrorism is
ideological in nature. Terrorist carries out acts of violence because of indoctrination. It is as if the terrorist
is drunk with and controlled by the effect of the drunkenness. He is a willing slave, at the whims and
caprices of his mentor to will and to do his mentor’s wishes. An act of violence is ideological if it is
impersonal. That is, if it is not done or carried out of the actor’s own volitions; due to wrongs the victim
had done to the terrorist personally. The victim or victims who suffer the terrorist action may not have
met. They may not have known themselves. Terrorism is an incitement to cause carnage because the
terrorist is made to belief that by such action his sorry estate would be rectified. Most times they are
made to believe that such actions are approved by God and that God would reward the terrorist

bountifully.

Such is also the case in the Game of Dice. Mohammed Dib dramatizes the scenario where two
young terrorists are on terror mission to kill a man. The young boys are eighteen and twenty years old, no
more (173). They enter their target’s house. This target is an old man. Unfortunately for the assassins, the
old man is waiting for them and succeeded in shooting one of them as well as trapping the other. The old
man wants to know who is behind the act and why he is targeted for death. The target tries to
communicate with the young terrorist. Through the dialogue, the young assassin invites the reader into
the world of extremist terrorism. Through the dialogues we can glean the motives behind extremist
terrorism. The young terrorist screams at the man
Life should be held accountable for it all….life pushes us around shamelessly trampling everyone
underfoot! Only death can bring pardon… life betrayed us… and you… you … are... adults…,
you, the men who … who… came before us- you too have… Have betrayed the confidence that…
we put in you! (182-183).
Clearly the statement above is borne out of anger, frustration and disorientation. Obviously the
antagonism is between the young and older generations of Algerians. The young generations “who-who
came before us” did nothing to arrest their drift into the precipice that has overwhelmed the younger
people.

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The boy is a type representing the entire younger generation of Algerians who were born after the
independence. They are inexperienced and the lack of job created serious frustrations which makes them
willing tool in the hands of their manipulators. They are therefore conditioned to believe that their sorry
state is caused by the older generations and the political class and if they removed them from their way,
their condition would improve for the better. On the other hand, the man represents the older generation
of Algerians. This holds true especially as the characters have no names. There is an aura of
impersonality around them. They are mere representatives of their respective age-grades. This therefore,
is an encounter between inexperience and experience, neophytes and experts as the dialogue below
exposes.
The man: What wrong have I done?
The terrorist: You have wronged God.
The man: Was it God who told you that?
The terrorist: Not to me sir, to the chief.
The man: O God confides in the chief?
The terrorist: I don’t know, sir. (176).
From the above dialogue, it is obvious that the young terrorist does not even know why he embarked on
the dangerous mission of death. The young men are coerced or indoctrinated in believing that they are
carrying out the will of the Almighty God. Here Dib exposes the spurious premises that govern the
fundamentalist’s action that God must be brought into the ideological tissue and fabric of their selfish
interest. This prevents the inexperienced, jobless, frustrated and already traumatized young populations to
whole-heartedly accept the views and ideas of their mentors the “chief”. The man points out their
ignorance which is meant to enlighten them but a young mind saturated and conditioned for dangerous
religious fundamentalism can never be delivered by ordinary sermon. This is a demonstration of radical
ideological conditioning.
What is an ideology? Webster’s New Explorer Encyclopedia Dictionary defines Ideology as a
systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture. It also defines it as a manner or the
content of thinking characteristic of an individual, group or culture. It further sees it as the integrated
assertions, theories and aims that constitute a sociological programme. With these definitions in view, one
can safely argue that ideology refers to the bundle of belief system that holds or guides an individual or
controls the actions of a group. It is the belief system that binds such persons or group together and also
endeavours to sell the belief to others to have faith in their cause, as the only way out of, or to further the

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general course to achieve general welfare for their members or for the entire generality. Ideology prevents
easy access into the needed truth of the society.
Terry Eagleton while simplifying ideology in the introduction to his book Ideology (1991)
earmarks one definition as the “false ideas which help to legitimate a dominant political power” (1). He
further argues that to study ideology is to study the ways in which meaning (or signification) serves to
sustain relations of denomination” (1). In these senses one can start to imagine why and how some
members of a social group are willing to lay down their life for their leaders or causes. In the texts under
analysis, Dib has compelled us to see the sorry state of security in Algeria basically through what he tells
us in the work. He persuades the reader to see the situations from his view point. The binding fabric of
ideology is not on personal convictions alone, but on the body of (significations in the text) as will of
“God”.
Finally, as if to deliver the final judgment or verdict, the man confronts the young terrorist with
the raw-truth of the savageness of the terrorist’s actions, as he accuses them:
You won’t be spared learning about what you people did to a young mother last Wednesday night.
Right in front of her daughters, you slit her throat, even though she had just begged you to have
the mercy of killing her somewhere else. Then you tore her head off, which you threw out into the
street. After performing this great feat of heroism, you turned tail and run, and the oldest child had
to go and find her mother’s head to put it back on the body. (182).
Dib here portrays the true life of the Algerian populace. Life in Algeria was brutish. Insanity reigned
supreme at every corner. Insecurity was the air they breathed, the water they drank. When one wakes up
in the morning, one can hardly expect of being alive by nightfall. Bombs, explosives and explosions are
everywhere. The younger generation of Algeria has drunken and immersed completely into the wines of
violence and there was hardly anything that can clutch the wheels of the fast drifting into complete
anarchy.
Moulati concludes that in the Savage Night, Naema-whereabout Unknown and A Game of Dice.
Algeria and Algerian identity seem to have been irreparably destroyed by terrorism. Violence
became a foundation for the subsequent development of Algerian history, memory, and identities
therefore; a colonial trauma that has never been worked through in addition to a postcolonial
frustration generated an uncontainable anger that ruined people’s lives in the Algeria of the
present. (146).

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The pent up anger, frustrations and disorientations of the past lent voice and climax in the present.
Wherever situations like these are allowed inroad, it is impossible for peace to make abode, Algeria can
testify to this.

Conclusion:
Colonialism is a plague that brought many ills to the colonized “natives”. It imposes alien legacies of vice
and violence in its wake. Postcolonial Algeria was a clear testimony to this reign of terror as it spilled
over unto the early independent era. It is therefore imperative for any clime where colonialism thrived to
urgently embark on programme of decolonization and deradicalization of the minds of her younger
generation otherwise Algerian experience of extreme violence would ensue as the Mohammed Dib’s
selected stories attest.

Contributions to Knowledge:
1. The paper has brought to the fore the urgent need for decolonization and deradicalization of the
minds of the younger generations, to stem the effects of frustrations and disorientations of their
minds and rechanneled them into profitable ventures otherwise anarchy would ensue.
2. The work has opened up a little window through which the pulse of the North African literature can
be felt.

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