“Through missing shutter slats, shy rays of sunlight broach the dusty wood, almost sorry for having disturbed the atmosphere of such a gloomy room.
In the middle of the room is an old four-poster bed. The shapes are depressed and the colors dampened by tears spilt in memory of the beautiful somersaults of a newly married couple, a flirtation between two teenagers fueled by a forbidden flame, or a brief and passionate embrace between the maid and the gardener. The grating of the frame reaches from afar, driven by the feverish and amorous energy that once enmeshed it.
Alone in darkness, the bed’s dilapidated caress is reduced to servitude, signaling the shameful and ghastly end of a small corner of paradise transformed into hellfire. An altar of sacrifice where modern virgins, respectable women, and the mothers of families are forced to become, or worse, choose to wear, the luxurious yet vulgar façade of an old brothel madam.
The entire world mingles in this bed sharing looks, sighs, groans, tears, blood, foul odors, abrasions, insults, and contempt. Humanity is absent.
Political conflicts deepen and the duty to assuage warriors -or rather “Jihadists,” as warriors is much too generous- of certain animalistic desires becomes the priority in order to pacify and set right the men who kill, plunder, and slaughter while living under the banner of religion. Thus, the latter, who have banned prostitution and adultery, are seen to tolerate and reward laws exceptionally conducive to the constraints of Jihad. The concept of “Halal prostitution” therefore develops.
Little knowing that their fates are already sealed as soon as they devote themselves to the devil, the women sign their own death warrants following the unsustainable pace of “Nikah,” or their gurus draw them like cattle for breaching their Jihadist duties or whenever they are no longer considered useful.
While lying on this big bed, once a place of peace now transformed into gallows, the adrenaline rate soars and all the cells of the body are on high alert under the towering and menacing bullet cartridges hanging from the canopy and surrounding the phrase “JIHAD ANNIKAH”. The symbolism is strong. In the moment where a small risk is taken, you find yourself trapped in a death-obsessed square, overwhelmed by a mixture of fear and fascination.
Allow your soul to kiss the sky, granted if only for a moment in time. Let your imagination become filled with the terror that permeates this innocuous piece of furniture. Think of all the women marching down a corridor of death, preceded by a total loss of dignity. Do not be afraid to feel horror because it is absolutely real… and certainly human.”
Text written by Neila Mhiri and translated by Anne Marie Butler