In the small town of Sidi Allal Bahraoui, about forty kilometers away from Rabat, Hiba, a six-year old girl, died in her own house which was ravaged by an immense fire.
By Halima Ouamouch
Rabat – This painful tragedy was covered by most of the Moroccan news outlets and attracted the attention of a large and angry public especially on social media.
It is noteworthy that Hiba was screaming and gripping the iron bars of her window while she was consumed by a merciless fire in front of a large crowd of helpless neighbors and passersby.
Hiba gained the sympathy and love of all Moroccans because nobody was able to save her. Her mother was overpowered by the uncontrollable fires which stood between her and her own daughter.
On the street, the neighbors could only use their smart phones to capture the agony of Hiba and share it on social media. Furthermore, the firefighters failed to be there on time. It is the firefighters who will be largely and unanimously criticized for their lack of engagement and sense of duty.
Since August 6, when this calamity exploded, Hiba has become a symbol of the weak citizen whose rights are usurped because of neglect and indifference. Many social media users have condemned the carelessness of the firefighters as well as the callousness of the neighbors who lost their humanity when they raised heartlessly their smartphones in front of her.
In the light of this sorrowful event, I have written the poem “My Name is Hiba and I am No More” which is an attempt to tell Hiba’s doleful story via the voice of Hiba herself.
My Name is Hiba and I am No More
I am playing in my room,
Never expecting my doom.
While my toys are on the floor,
A giant fire is consuming my door.
As my walls are turning red,
I swiftly jump on my bed.
The flames are getting higher
And the room, hotter and hotter.
I miraculously leap to the Window;
I can finally breathe, it’s my willow.
My mom is screaming behind the fire,
Desperately trying to get me out of this mire.
Tremulously, I grip the Window’s iron bars
Over the flashes of countless passersby.
Sorry dad, I see you in the crowd,
Your face with tears has glowed,
But all wrapped in a shroud.
To you, I’ll always be bowed.
I wish I were a tiny bird to fly,
Into the open sky
Which I can only see
But will never reach even for a wee.
And my mom is grieving over me
While passive robots are filming me.
My back, my hair are smoldering,
The fire is mounting,
But my hands to life are still holding.
I am paralyzed and carbonized
While some of the crowds under my feet are galvanized.
Skinny slow firefighters are showering me,
But my mom is still grieving over me.
I am no more,
But I am sure,
I’ll be passed on, just like a lore.