A woman coming back from... hell
...My father is responsible of all my misfortune. I had left our home in the region of Sidi Makhlouf, Department of Bouira, after having abandoned my academic studies and joined the mountain, believing that I...m doing well. I spent 6 years there displacing from a hamlet to another and from a mountain toward another. I was married to three terrorists...I was lost...really lost, and I regret. Today, I...m paying a strong price, so that to being obliged to abandon my two girls because I don't have the means anymore to take care of them.
- ‘I lived during 6 years in the mountains and I got married with three terrorists’
‘My children are innocent; they must not pay for a crime that they didn't commit’
‘My spouse dropped me after his repentance and got remarried with another woman, and my father left my mother and had took an others spouse’
‘We cooked for the terrorists and washed their clothes. We waited for orders to execute them immediately’
- This is a part of woman's testimony that Mrs. F. B., a repentant that benefited from the amnesty, and who is now completing her academic studies which she left 15 years ago, in order to get an academic diploma that will help her find a job to provide to her family's needs. It was difficult for us to reach the home of the repented F. B. situated in the region of Sidi Salem, 10 kilometres from Boudouaou in the capital, and when we had contacted her to indicate us her domicile, she asked us not to pronounce her name by fear for her family and for her son of 9 years. After two hours, we arrived to the village of Sidi Salem, believing in the beginning that it was abandoned. There was an animation that one could guess from afar. The road was tarred, and we met some schoolchildren going back home. At our arrival, we found the lady who was waiting for us. She carried a Djilbab that covered her whole body and a black Nikab that hid her face. One could only glimpse her eyes. She was seating with the hands hidden under her djilbab. Before going inside the house, I had asked the photographer to wait for the lady's permission, this one accepted. She received us in her modest home composed of a court and three rooms, in which she temporarily settled since the year 2000 with her son. There were also her mother, her sisters and her very old grand father.
- She began to speak in a perfect Arabic before even we asked her a question. The thing that has struck me was the fact that she was quiet and serene at the point that our questions didn't embarrass her at all. Things that had helped me lead the interview with ease. She related her story and her stay that lasted of years in the mountains with a surprising chronology and a precision, even in small details and that, since she had left her village in Sidi Makhlouf and her academic studies to join the mountain, until the day where she returned back to her family.
- ‘I was married to three terrorists in the mountain’
- She was born in 1973 in the Department of Bouira, in the small village of Sidi Makhlouf, situated between El-djebahia and Aïn Bessam. She got her baccalaureate exam ‘economics and management stream’ in 1993. She joined the superior school of trade in Tafourah in the capital. But the conditions that reigned there during this time, didn't allow her to finish her academic studies. At this time, her father joined terrorists in the mountain, before she joined him herself.
- Our interlocutor recognizes that she was wrong. She had taught, in the beginning, that she was right, she and those who she had joined, and that the rest of the world was wrong. This idea was sticking in her head during all these years. She declares ‘my father married me a first time to a terrorist who was then, emir of the ‘green katiba of the death’ on the heights of Hizers mounts in Bouira. He had the diploma of State Engineer in Petroleum. He wanted to marry me when I was only studying at my first academic year, because he was in permanent contact with my father. They simmered set of the plans to join the terrorists in the mountains. After seven months of marriage, he was killed by the army forces in an ambush. I was pregnant, then, of six months with my first girl. My misfortunes began then, and I could not come back. I had my daughter in the mountain and I continued to displace from a mountain to another and from a hamlet toward another until the day where my father decided to marry me to another terrorist in order, according to him, to protect me. It was in 1994.
- Our host interrupted her speech to ask the photographer not to make appear the whole photo in the newspaper and also not to take a lot of photos.
- She carried on her history while telling us that her second husband was very close to her father. He was a military counsel in the same katiba. After one year and two months, she received the news according to which, her husband is killed on the mounts of Bouira. ‘I was pregnant in the sixth month of a second girl that I named Yasmina, who lives today at her father's family. I cry every time that I remind her, because, until today, she is not registered on the register of the births.
- We moved from one places to another, we washed and cooked, and in the evening we met our spouses.
- F. B. didn't stop relating us the history of her stay in the mountain, she says: ‘I continued to meet the difficulties of life all alone. Even my father left us and immediately left my mother after his return from the mountain in 1999, to marry another woman with whom he settled in the capital’. Her son's voice interrupted our conversation. This latter came running and went throwing himself in his mother's arms that he kissed very strong. He refused to release her because; she was everything for him, his mother and his father at the same time.
- She informed us that her son is the only one who remained with her and that her mother to her could not take care of all her children. When we asked her about the news of her daughters, F. B. answered us with sadness that she had decided, before the situation got worse, to abandon them in the families of her two deceased husbands before adding that she had suffered so much in the mountains, especially when she lost all her rights. There was neither security nor stability, anything else that the fear of the death. She remained in the mountain to fulfil her woman's duties without trying to flee. She washed the clothes of the terrorists and dried them in summer as well as in winter; she cooked meals while keeping silent, while waiting for the orders to execute. To a question on the places where the terrorists met their wives, she answered that these last reserved lodgings or some kind of rooms under the ground that they joined in the nights and that they left, after they spend some hours with them, to accomplish the terrorist acts in secret without letting their wives know what they do.
- To a question about the behaviour of her three husbands towards her, she answered that she has always been well treated especially by her first husband who was then, Emir of the katiba ‘the green death’. She was in some ways, the ‘pet of the djebel’ according to her sayings. She was exempt of the hard works that the other kidnapped women made and who were treated like slaves.
- Her third marriage in 1997 was with her cousin. She told that this last had deprived her of all her civic rights before abandoning her at the end for another woman because; she didn't convene to him anymore. Even his unique son, he simply abandoned him.
- ‘I married my cousin in 1997 and I abandoned my daughters because had refused to take them in charge.’
- With a sad voice, F. B. pursues the story of her third and last marriage in the mountain. This last was her cousin, whom she had married in presence of her father. This one works within the same terrorist group around the Hizers mounts. She remained with him until the advent of the charter for peace and national reconciliation. Date of our interlocutor's return within the society, when she decided with her husband and her father to leave the mountains.
- Her return to the natural life was not as before, since she carries this time a heavy responsibility. She had the responsibility of caring with three children, all born in the mountains. They lived temporarily with her in her third husband’s home in Bouira for six years. After their return, her husband, then unemployed received his father's help. For her, she continued to face the problems of life all alone, without the help of anyone. Problems that especially got worse with her husband's refusal to take her two girls in charge, in spite of the promise that he had made before when they were again in the mountains. The person who wanted to establish an Islamic State is unable to make his marriage official. He flew his responsibilities towards his wife as for his social situation and his rights as well as his son's rights. The spouse persisted in his refusal; he abandoned her definitely in 2006 when he took her to her family’s home in Sidi Salem. Since that date, he gave no news. He left her in an ambiguous situation, since she remains in regard of the law, with no administrative justification of marriage, and at the same time, a non divorced person, since the divorce cannot take place in such a case. This latter justified his acts by his right to marry four women as the charia allows him to do.
- ‘My children are innocent. Why would they pay for a crime that they didn't commit?’
- This meeting has been for her a scream of distress of a woman separated from her two girls whom she had abandoned to the families of her first two husbands killed in the mountains, because of the situation that prevailed at that time. They are paying for their parents crimes. They don't have any future, especially her daughter Yasmina who pays today for the ignorance of her father and her grand father. She doesn't even possess the administrative documents because her father's family didn't receive their son's death certificate again (the father of Yasmina), because he has been buried in the mountain.
- To our question whether her son knows something on the past of his parents, she answered that this last is innocent and that when he will grow up, he will understand everything.
- We ended our interview with our interlocutor and had let her behind us. With her, we left real stories, nearer to the drama and the fiction that of the reality. We left Sidi Salem and the repentant lady, but her words and her sad eyes will accompany us along our path. She said: ‘I am the victim of the national drama’.