After a long journey, Rayane Bensaghir, a second-year master’s student in international relations at the ULB, has managed to have her first novel published. “The mad ally of the devil” (ed Millot, 2022) tells the story of Gafora, a young man from Brussels who is retracing the thread of his life from his prison cell. He wonders about the elements of his life that led him to commit an act of terror. Through the story of this young man, Rayane Bensaghir addresses themes that are close to his heart, such as school dropout, precariousness and radicalism.
A difficult start
“I had a chaotic school career”explains the 29-year-old student straight away. “After having repeated several times, I left school at 17, without CESS. At the time, I only lived for football.” But after a season spent in Belgian D2, his career project collapsed. “I was without a diploma, without a project, I didn’t know what to do”, he explains. Fortunately, the young man ends up taking control of his life. Originally from a modest Moroccan family, he set himself the goal of obtaining his diploma. “I started working in shisha bars or nightclubs to raise enough money to pass my CESS. Then, at 24, I enrolled in political science at the ULB.”
The will to get out
While working on the side, Rayane Bensaghir succeeds at every stage of her academic career. The one who has always wanted to learn how to defend his ideas then decides by chance to start writing. “I was watching TV and saw the writer Rachid Djaïdani on the set of Tout le monde en parle. He came from the neighborhoods, like me, and dressed like me. I said to myself that, finally, I too could write novels.
For a year, the student refined his work. “I didn’t have a lot of time to write, with my studies and my job, but I got into it whenever I could.” The themes imposed themselves. “I saw around me people let themselves be seduced by Islamism. This proximity challenged me. I wondered why them and not me. given, I was so lost in my life, that maybe it could have happened to me too. So I wanted to understand the reasons behind these changes in behavior. It’s not by calling them crazy let’s fix the problem”slips the author.
A brilliant career on the program
After completing her story, Rayane Bensaghir then sought to be published. “It was the most difficult stage”, he acknowledges. But, last June, his dream finally came true. “I really didn’t think studying was for me, so writing a book even less,” he concludes. “What I would like to say to young people is anything is possible!”
Since the publication of his novel, the student has been invited to classes to talk about his story. If he is delighted with the publication of his book, Rayane Bensaghir does not wish to make a career out of it, even if he already has a second novel in preparation. “I would very much like to do a doctorate and turn my dissertation into a thesis.” A great university career therefore seems to be waiting for this young man who, at the start, hated school!