Ain El Fouara Fountain

The fountain with the statue of a naked woman rising out of it, close to the old mosque and in the middle of the beautiful city of Sétif, was built a year before he was born. He doesn’t like it. According to him, it mars the city’s appearance, because it signifies the values that were held by the French colonizers of his country. He hates himself for it, yet, for some inexplicable reason, he cannot help being titillated by it.

She always seems to be standing in the way when he goes out in the morning to do some shopping or sit down at the nearby café, and he never misses a chance to let the stone woman know how he feels about her.

He is now over seventy and retired. He used to run a café, but he has now bequeathed it to his sons. People show him respect and call him mister, because he attended a Koranic school and should thus be regarded as an enlightened person.

He didn’t mind the fountain when he was smaller. He used to play around it, drink from and bathe in its waters. He was immune to her venomous charms back then. But all that changed when he reached puberty and wised up to what decency and virtue entails. From that moment on, he had to be careful to avoid having his eyes fall on her. He wishes they would take her down and replace her with something that embodied the purity of the fountain’s waters and the sacredness of the nearby towering mosque.

The fountain itself was there long before the French arrived and planted their hideous statue on top of it to enrage the Muslim population. It was built around the same time the neighboring mosque was erected to provide the men attending the prayers clean water to perform their ablutions.

At some point, some fed-up youngsters blew up the statue, hence, restoring the city’s original nobility of spirit. Unfortunately, it was rebuilt a few days later. To the best of his knowledge, however, no one had complained about it being gone. The reason the authorities cited for bringing it back was that it belonged to the city’s cultural heritage. But he’ll keep telling anyone who’d care to listen: That slut does not represent him.


The Writer, Tiwan Samiya:

When writing short stories and prose poetry, I favor a rhetorical style and use beautiful imagery to convey what I want to say.