Sunday, May 6, 2018

This blinding absence of light

It seems like I have a 'Light' theme going on.. which is actually a cool challenge I might pursue when I'm finished with the centennial one.. which seems to last a hundred years.. ^^

But actually it's a novel I picked because of its color. In my town's library they like to highlight some books according to a theme.. this one was still from Valentine, when they had set up a nook filled with novels with red covers. As was this one.

I read the Dutch translation and the cover looked like this:

With Valentine already a few months behind us, I had to rush reading this one, as May 5th was the last day I could keep it with me.
The rushed reading did alter my perception of this novel.
It's meant to be read at a slow pace..

Because it's the story of a handful of prisoners trying to get by, stuck in a cell, without light, without exercise, without proper food, without any faith in the future.
It's based on true events.
A group of lower officers, caught in the coup on King Hassan II of Morocco, are sent after a few years in a common prison with a set span of their punishment, to a concentration camp in a middle of the desert, knowing they won't get out.
One by one they die from various causes: starvation, constipation, diarrhea, scorpion bites. Some lose their minds before they go, others die in silence, with only their smell to tell of their demise.

In this hell, I hear only one prisoner. I'm living with him side by side, as he tries to find a way to live in these circumstances and shares his devotion, passion, reclusion and despair as many years pass.
18 years have they lived this life, until it couldn't be hidden anymore.

I can't even fathom this kind of punishment. I think I would go crazy from 24 hours without any daylight.
In the end, he feels himself reborn. His past life doesn't recognize that he isn't the man that went into this prison. A whole new being came out. He had turned himself into an embryonic state without any hopes or thoughts about the future. There was only the now and he had to get through that without giving up.