The Emirate

Béchir Garbouj





2012. A group of young bearded men seize Sejnane, in the north of Tunisia, they soon proclaim the Emirate village. Dominated by Islamists, the government lets it happen.

This story, in which the village is called Sindayana, is a fictional account of the founding moment when terror was given a state project.

We follow the gradual takeover of places and spirits. Violence is not long in coming, then the leaden screed falls on the village. The facts unfold under the gaze of a narrator who is at first external to the events, then quickly caught in the vice. No thesis, but a climate, with some people wanting to control everything, others trying to resist, others still trying to trick misfortune. But when events gain momentum, there is nothing but fear, flight forward and, beyond the will for power, desire, as if against time, exacerbated by the feeling of the irremediable.


Béchir Garbouj has been an academic, international civil servant, and conference interpreter. Passe l’intrus, his novel published in 2016, received the Comar d’Or. The Emirate is his third published novel.