The situation has calmed down in Algeria and things are going back to normal (read usual). Bouteflika, as always during tough moments when one would expect the president to speak to his people, has kept silent. Some even suggested he was dying (treating a stomach-ache) in a French or Swiss hospital. This was obviously a rumour which disappeared as soon as Bouteflika appeared next to the Canadian foreign affairs minister.
In actual fact, Bouteflika was busy talking on the phone with Zine El Abidine. Tunisia’s also experiencing a social unrest and the situation doesn’t look close to resolution. The two “Pouvoirs” do indeed have a lot in common and could be called good friends.
An old joke in Algeria says that Ezzine was surprised at and even envious of the high scores Chadli Bendjedid got at his presidential “elections” so he asked the Algerian president to help him get similar results in Tunisia. Chadli agreed (I said they were good friends) and sent his first counsellor to Tunis to share his techniques. The Tunisian “elections” took place and guess what? Chadli was elected president of Tunisia with a 99.9% score.
Same thing today, Bouteflika was advising Ezzine on the phone. Parts of the conversations leaked to Patriots on Fire and this blog is sharing some of them.
Abdelkader el mali: 3aslama Ezzine!
Ezzine: Marahba si Abdekka!
Abdelkader el mali: So what the heck are you doing? Why did you kill 50+ persons? You’re making the same mistake as we did in October 1988.
Ezzine: You know the people don’t want to die and this way they’ll fear me even more. You too have killed 3 people at least.
Abdelkader el mali: Well some were accidents and my minister of interior said he’ll investigate all these cases.
Ezzine: So tell me how did you stop the riots? I cannot find a solution for mine.
Abdelkader el mali: I granted the rioters all what they wanted!
Ezzine: Democracy? Are you leaving???
Abdelkader el mali: Nah! Don’t be silly. I just decreased oil and sugar prices.
Ezzine: But that wasn’t what they wanted, was it?
Abdelkader el mali: I don’t know, even Louiza Hanoune (an opponent) said it was about sugar and I trust this brave woman.
Ezzine: I am starting to think that having an opposition is good.
Abdelkader el mali: Of course! But you’ve got to make sure it’s in the same state as mine. You should learn from what I did with Khalida: From someone who barked about democracy and all, I turned her into my minister of culture who defends me and even supervises censorship!
Ezzine: I remember that move impressed me. Well done! But hey decreasing oil and sugar prices will cost you 30 billion dinars and your prime minister says he’d give a 2500 dinars/month to every unemployed university graduate. This costs money and I am not so rich.
Abdelkader el mali: Correct. They say the great ones usually have luck too :D. But hey you know I help you a lot by keeping my tourism industry in an awful state. This forces millions of Algerians to go to Tunisia to spend their summer and NY holidays.
Ezzine: Thanks for that but it’s not enough I am afraid.
Abdelkader el mali: Do not expect more! Don’t think I forgave you for what I read on WikiLeaks and how you sided with Morocco.
Ezzine: I apologised already, many times. I told you I was drunk when I pronounced those stupid words.
Ezzine: By the way, how come there were no women among your rioters?
Abdelkader el mali: Hehe. We’re Algerians! They are horomates. It’s your fault! You gave the impression to your females that they were emancipated and they believed it.
Ezzine: It was the price to pay for me to be liked by France and the West. I am the role model in their eyes.
Abdelkader el mali: Wonderful! What did they do to you? Nothing. Ok, in France they didn’t mention your rioters before it got really serious, and Even now they refuse to call you a dictator. But the USA said they’re concerned about the situation!
Ezzine: See it’s useful, the French even proposed to help me (and you but that’s just so you don’t get jealous)! On the other hand, the French again very quickly talked about your rioters!!
Abdelkader el mali: True, but this is positive for me; the more the French criticise me, the more I am supported by my people. You know how much they hate the French.
Ezzine: True again. Gosh, you are too lucky!
Abdelkader el mali: So you should leave some space for an “opposition”. You should also let your people criticise you in the newspapers. It won’t hurt you but will definitely make them feel happy. And stop putting journalists and bloggers in jail.
Ezzine: I’ll think about it. It’s not easy you know especially that I invested a lot of money on internet control and on the people I pay to write positive things about me and Tunisia everywhere on the web. Plus you too started banning websites, first was Rachad then Algerie-Focus and I hear Facebook and Twitter weren’t easily accessible these past days.
Abdelkader el mali: You are right but it wasn’t me. You know I don’t rule the country alone and my associates do not always share my ideas. Not everyone rules a country with his wife…
Abdelkader el mali: It’s time to leave now. But I want to give you a last advice.
Ezzine: Please do!
Abdelkader el mali: I think my people do love me to a certain extent. I believe it’s because I look kind and caring and that’s because I look a little old. So I think you should stop dyeing your hair.
Ezzine: Are you sure?! That’s tough :( What about plastic surgery? Should I stop the Botox?
Abdelkader el mali: Goodness! 3oum bahrek, nta khatik el boulitik.