Combat Of Black And Of Dogs
A French transnational company constructs a bridge in a
remote place of the Senegalese forest. Alboury, a young black, arrives at
camp one night to ask the overseer for the corpse of his brother, who worked
on the construction. Horn --the overseer-- gives his condolences him,
explains the causes of the tragic accident, and invites Alboury to take whiskey
and talk of the matter. But Alboury needs neither condolences, nor
explanations, nor a glass of whiskey, He only wants what all human beings
have the right to receive: the body of a dead brother. Horn,
evidently incapable of giving a solution to something so simple, dismisses it
and tells him to return on the following day.
Cal is an engineer for the company, Parisian like Horn, of feverish
temperament and strong will. Speaking with Horn, he finds out about the visit
of Alboury, and begins a desperate defense of his participation in the death
of the black. Horn calms him, saying he will take care of everything. Cal
reproaches his rational and indirect methods. In Cal?s desperate arguments,
he betrays his fear of Alboury, the black guards of the camp, the town and its
possible retaliation, and to all the damn lost continent.
Horn, impatient, declares to him finally: ?They?re all going to shoot you.?
Soon the spectator is witness to the deep psychological evolution
of the personages throughout the work: the vain and successive attempts of
Horn to dissuade to Alboury from his intentions; the consternation and
impatience of Cal, his failure to find the corpse that he himself hid, and his
final resolution to kill Alboury, to ?that black shit who, in fact, wants is to take
We see Leona, a Parisian woman, invited by Horn, to get to know Africa. She
shows herself to us, at the outset, as a half-crazed girl who needs love and
protection; later, Cal would declare her a simple whore; and, finally, we would
recognize in her a cold-hearted woman anxious to escape of a world to which
she does not belong, wishing to be black and thus to be accepted by Alboury
and his. And, towards the end of the story, we discover that Alboury was not
the simple, naïve black who could be convinced of anything by some dollars.
Horn only hits upon this is able to stammer unintelligible things
after hearing his final sentence: ?If I cannot have the body of my brother, then
I will have the one of his assassin?. But Alboury will not take the action with
his own hands, but that will be the invisible guards of the camp, who carry
out the right revenge longed for by a man, by a family, by a whole town.
The main subject of the work is not racism, nor colonialism, nor the human
exploitation. That is only the backdrop curtain. The work speaks of the
disconnect between the people, of the lie and present distrust in all relations.
For centuries, humans have formed societies and groupings; it is in our
nature. We felt secure around between people similar to us, and we distrusted
those who did not belong to our surroundings. The inhabitants of a country
reject the foreigner, a Jew does not sit at the table with a Christian, an African
only can be employed by a European, never their partner.
To be human is to be like an immense tree: two leaves forget that they
belong to a same branch, two branches forget that they belong to a same
trunk. And the tree, as it grows, divides more each time. The whites (the
?dogs?), the more ?the grown,? no longer have anybody, their ?group? has
been reduced to a single person.
Cal does not trust Horn, and Leona no longer trusts anybody. Alboury (the
?black?), more primitive, even has at least his, his tribe, to whom the invisible
guards also belong. If the communication between Cal and Leona is
hypocritical and distrustful, the ?dialogues? between Horn and Alboury show
the most complete disconnect. Horn does nothing more say lies, and Alboury,
although honest and direct, is misunderstood by the overseer. In ?Combat of
black and of dogs,? we are witnesses of the great emptiness of human
relations, and we understand that man is a solitary being more and more and
distrusted, and that the truth will finish being an impossible one.