Kamel Chachoua
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Brahim
Autopsy of a suicide in Kabylia
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So it was on 2 July 2012, that Brahim committed suicide. On that day, like every summer, the young people in the village of Taza, sitting on a cement bench inside the vast mosque, sheltered from the sun and close to the djama’a, are indulging in their favourite pastime – dominoes for the less educated, scrabble for the more ‘refined’. Brahim doesn’t take part in the games; his reputation as a young man ‘going crazy’ relegates him to the status of a mere spectator. Around noon, at lunchtime, the place empties and only livens up again later, when everyone returns from their family home to give their parents a little rest, whether they like it or not. Like them, Brahim goes off at midday. But he doesn’t come back in the afternoon. After finishing his lunch, he goes – by pure chance or in a determined gesture? – to take a rope from the small storeroom at the back of the courtyard where his mother stores her tools and her supplies of wood and hay. At this hour, his mother has already found refuge in a nap, a moment of rest and dozing, but above all a private time to brood over her sorrows and worries and to take a break from reality. Still, as she will remember later, she heard Brahim say to her: ‘You know, mom, I’m going to hang myself.’ But she thought he was only ‘joking’.

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