A Proud Son of the Sahara Desert

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Igider was a child of perhaps one of the last frontiers of a free land where humans lived in harmony with other inhabitants of this boundless space. His name in the Berber language means Eagle. He was a proud descendant of men and women who had lived in the northern Sahara for thousands of years, who have inhabited the Maghreb since the beginning. His ancestors lived, fought, and one day died either by the enemy sword or as a result of a mysterious disease. Women gave birth on a wooden platform in a tent, simply squatting in the presence of other women. From its first breath, a child’s life belonged to this limitless land and dark blue sky. Children learned the endless motions of life: girls how to sew, cook, and play alone. They didn’t have mirrors other than their bowl. Boys learned how to hunt, use bow and arrow, fight with a sword, and how to die like a warrior in the sunset. They all had horses. They grew up with them, learned how to ride them, how to care for them, and how to love them. The horses were a source of joy and pride, and the children were nothing without them.

The climate was harsh and unforgiving: during the day, the sun seared everything; at night, it was cold. Sometimes strong winds swept everything, bent even big trees. Sandstorms lasted for days, weeks, even months. Despite inhospitable weather, there was nothing more beautiful on this earth than this boundless land. They were born in the desert, and it was their home. They walked endlessly with their horses. Sometimes they had to walk for days without stopping; thirst and hunger hung over them like dead weight, eye-piercing sunbeams burned their skin, and cold wind froze their limbs. It didn’t matter. Their skin was like iron, and their limbs were like tree trunks. They were as quiet as the desert after the sandstorm, and they kept walking and carried the harshness of the world on their shoulders as quietly as if words didn’t exist at all. The desert cleansed everything with its powerful gusts, wiped out everything that stood in its way. The yellow sand blazed in the night and showed the path of the wind. An oasis was a gift from the gods, their survival shelter, and the last sip of life.

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