Horses of God

by Mahi Binebine

From beyond the grave the narrator, Yachine, recounts his impoverished but innocent childhood in a Casablanca shanty town, a life of squalor and football. Then Sheikh Abu Zoubeir enters his life and the innocence is lost forever as Yachine is slowly transformed into a suicide bomber. This is often a harrowing read, especially towards the book's climax but, in terms of understanding the mindset of a suicide bomber, I doubt there has been better.


In another garage, in another slum, there's the photo of me that Abu Zoubeir pinned to the wall alongside photos of the other martyrs: Nabil smiling beatifically, Khalil with a fixed grin, Blackie, his dark complexion gone, staring with his wide protruding eyes and making a victory sign, and my brother, Hamid, true to form, displaying all the swagger of a born leader. This way, Abu Zoubeir glorifies us forever in the fight against the infidels. Looking at our portraits, other boys will dream of justice and sacrifice, as we once did, watching videos of Palestinian or Chechen martyrs.
Translated by Lulu Norman



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