Now Accepting PayPal
Wail of the Arab Beggars of the Casbah

Wail of the Arab Beggars of the Casbah

SKU 9781880684962
On October 20, 1949, in the city of Algiers, Khouni Ahmed, a tubercular beggar is walking along Rue Franklin Roosevelt. He hasn't eaten. He's holding his little daughter, Yasmina, 9, by the hand. A truck approaches. Suddenly, he pushes the child at the wheels. As she doesn't die, he pushes her a second time. Prosecuted two years later in criminal court, Ahmed is declared insane and committed to an asylum. This horrific event inspired the 22 year-old student Aït Djafer to write this impassioned elegy for the girl as an outcry against the extreme conditions of poverty that could cause such a tragedy. Dedicated to "those who have never been hungry," Wail of the Arab Beggars of the Casbah was printed in a small pamphlet edition by the Democratic Union for a Free Algeria in 1951. Its circulation was largely local; but in 1954 Jean Paul Sartre published it in his Paris magazine, Les Temps Modernes; and in 1960, the year of Algerian independence from French colonial rule, it was published in book form by Pierre Jean Oswald Editions.