Talk of Darkness
By Fatna El Bouih
Translated by Mustapha Kamal and Susan Slyomovics (2008)
Fatna El Bouih was first arrested in Casablanca as an 18-year-old student leader with connections to the Marxist movement. Over the next decade she was rearrested, forcibly disappeared, tortured, and transferred between multiple prisons. While imprisoned, she helped organize a hunger strike, completed her undergraduate degree in sociology, and began work on a Master's degree.
Beginning with the harrowing account of her kidnapping during the heightened political tension of the 1970s, Talk of Darkness tells the true story of one woman's struggle to secure political prisoners' rights and defend herself against an unjust imprisonment. Poetically rendered from Arabic into English by Mustapha Kamal and Susan Slyomovics, Fatna El Bouih's memoir exposes the techniques of state-instigated "disappearance" in Morocco and condemns the lack of laws to protect prisoners' basic human rights.
Fatna El Bouih went on to become a high school teacher after her release from prison and continues to devote herself to human rights. She is one of the founders of the first shelter for battered women in Casablanca and works for released prisoners' reintegration into society and the abolition of the death penalty in Morocco.
Mustapha Kamal is Assistant Professor of Arabic Language and Literature at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He himself was a political prisoner in Morocco. Susan Slyomovics is Professor of Anthropology and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at UCLA. She has written extensively on the Middle East and North Africa.
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