Growing up and being stuck between two communities is difficult. Two cultures, traditions, and beliefs. It can make you confused about yourself, about your origins, and about which side you want to be on.
I grew up in Algeria. During the period of the French occupation, I was a normal kid, and my name was "Younus." I'm of Algerian origin, from my grandfather to my great-grandfather, then to my father. My father, who is called " Ahmed " was a well educated and attentive person. I learned too much from him, especially about my occupied country, Algeria. In my childhood, we were not allowed to say the word "Algeria". We were surrounded by the French military every day, and you could see checkpoints everywhere. There were arbitrary actions by the colonial forces and an obvious racism toward us "Algerians."
I was 7 years old when my father was arrested by the French army on suspicion of organizing a peaceful protest movement. After 2 years in prison without a trial, he was sent to exile. During these 2 years, my grandfather took care of me. My grandpa was a man of God, an old man with a beard mostly white, and a white cloak dusted most of the time because of the assaults of the colonial army. He used to teach us, me and a bunch of kids of my age, the teachings of religion, letters, and numbers, which the colonists didn't suffer to provide. All that they supported was illiteracy and ignorance. One night, things changed upside down. My grandfather was arrested, along with me and those kids who I used to study with. We were taken by colonial forces by force. It was a black night. All I could hear was the crying of my mother and the other mothers, and the last thing I heard before they put me in the jeep was a gunshot. After a few years, I discovered that my grandfather was executed that night. The old man was dusted for the last time.
10 days later, here I am, in a place I don't know, with people my age. I don't know who they are. It was a large dormitory, and you could hear them saying French words only, but i wasn't alone. The kids from my village were with me. Before that, we were imprisoned all in one room. The ones who took us were gentle. That confused me, and i couldn't believe that they were the same people who took us aggressively and beat our mothers. They took us to take showers and gave us new clothes, warm food, and clean beds. After spending 9 days in that "prison", the next day we were on a plane heading to "France." Three hours later, we arrived.