Algerian Reservist (2nd engineers)
Ben Cassam (from Oran)
If it was not for his military tunic, one might have readily seen him squatting on his heels, begging in a monotonous voice, or unmoving for several hours in the thin shade of a palm tree. He has the look of many, so many, Arabs whom one has seen in all the Algerian villages, sullen and solemn, dragging the grandeur of his tattered cloak through the dust. His eyes are half-closed, worn away by disease, burnt by the sun and the great wind which blows from the desert. An old wrinkled face, which wears an expression dead to the most shattering events there could be. The man works at his task, unloading of vessels, transport of materials; he works without seeming to suspect that the face of this land is changing; and in the evening when his task is accomplished and he has said his prayers, he lies down to sleep and shuts his indifferent eyes to the outside world.