the short story project

Insurrection – A chapter from “The Gorilla”

Reem Ghanayem On:

Insurrection – A chapter from “The Gorilla” by Kamal Riahi

This is the first chapter of a novel called “The Gorilla” by the Tunisian writer Kamal Riahi which was published in 2011 by Alsaki Publishing house, Beirut. The story of the novel is based on a real event that took place in Tunisia a few years earlier. In the summer of 2009, citizens in the Tunisian capital were surprised to see a man climbing the clock tower that symbolizes the previous regime of Ben Ali. There was great confusion in the street, and the security men could not persuade the man to leave the tower. He stayed there for seven hours and then went down. Since then people have not heard anything about him.

Riahi noticed this event and decided to write the imaginary biography of the mysterious man who burst into the tower. This chapter tells the story of a black man who climbs the tower in daylight and refuses to come down. Under the tower, people gather in a scene that reminds us of the film “King Kong”, and the protagonist gets the nickname “Gorilla”–which his friends originally gave him because of his skin color. From there, the novel opens an essential discussion about discrimination and racism in Tunisian society. The hero tells the story of his life and the suffering he undergoes in a racist society in a corrupt regime, and that the time has come to replace it