No Algerian in the world ignores this authentic and much loved Algerian brand of fizzy drinks, limonades and sirups. It is commonly referred to as El Guezouz (Algerian version of the French word ‘gazeuse’). Hamoud Boualem (حمود بوعلام) is a well-known and loved family-owned business. The first factory was established in 1878 in ex-Belcourt now known as Belouizdad (Algiers) by Youssef Hammoud. In 1889, the limonade Hamoud was presented in the Universal Exhibition (Exposition Universelle 1889) in Paris, where it won the prize for the best drink. It was in the same event that a preliminary prototype of la Tour Effeil was displayed. The brand Hamoud went on to win many more gold medals in various exhibitions (as many as 20 according to some accounts). Continue reading
A selection of clips I found on youtube, of Algerian TV programmes since independence. It is by no means exhaustive. Enjoy!
News & Political Analysis Programmes
Sample news bulletins from Octobre 1962 - 70s : one thing that stuck me in these clips is that they are all in black and white! (Joke) No it was actually that all presenters are men who look pissed off by what they’re reading. The only thing that has changed nowadays is that now, we’ve discovered that this phenomenon is not only restricted to Algerian male news-readers. I hesitated to use the word ‘presenters’ here for obvious reasons. Also, note how the presenter keeps referring to political leaders as ‘el akh‘ (literally brother but, if we take the polico-economic context of the time the actual meaning might be closer to comrade).
Conspiracy thinking probably exists in every society, however it seems to be the predominant mode of reasoning in the Arabo-Muslim world. By predominant, I mean that it pervades all classes of these societies and constitutes a ubiquitous genre of narratives (or counter-narratives) encountered in journalistic analyses, popular culture, gossip, political discourse…etc. This is different from the US for example, where conspiracy theories are also popular but not in the same disproportionate fashion nor with the same predilection. The psychodynamic and cultural determinants which underlie this phemenon might be different or influenced by different factors in these two cases. It would therefore be interesting to attempt to understand the correlations between conspiracy-modes of thinking and the factors which promote and eventually validate them. All conspiracy theories are centered around Continue reading
The recent shootings in Toulouse, which were perpetrated by French alleged former jihadi fighter Mohamed Merah, have been turned into a national tragedy in France. The Jews as usual have gone nuts over the incident (Merah had shot a rabbi and three Jewish children). The usual anti-Semitism brigade came out in force with the usual mission to persuade the world that Israel can do no wrong. EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, drew criticism in Israel over what Israeli leaders said was an attempt to make the massacre of Palestinian children by Israeli soldiers engaged in Continue reading
According to Wikipedia, Mother’s Day in most Arab countries is celebrated on 21 March. It was introduced in Egypt by journalist Mustafa Amin in his book (Smiling America) 1943. The idea was overlooked at the time, but when Amin heard the story of a widowed mother who devoted her whole life to raise her son until he became a doctor, got married and left without showing her any gratitude, Amin became motivated to promote for “Mother’s Day”. The idea was first ridiculed by Continue reading
I wrote in the past about the visit of US department of state’s secretary to Algeria, and we all debated on the stance we take or should take as Algerians versus the US and their policies. Today’s post is one of those, rare, with information leaked to Patriots on Fire. We have indeed learnt that some shadowy US “representative”, and it is not Mr. Michael G. Vickers, met with the leader of one of the newly created parties. The meeting took place a few weeks ago and its objective was to decide how the US would help this party, should it win in the upcoming elections, get Algeria back on track and become America’s closest partner. A win-win agreement had been signed and the American side launched its plan as requested by the Algerian leader.
Our source told us that Continue reading
There was a news alert in yesterday’s El Khabar newspaper about Algerian Health Minister Ould-Abbas allegedly declaring that Viagra is ‘tasty’ and that Algeria plans to import it for cheaper prices from India. To the question on why Ould-Abbas intends to import Viagra while there is shortage of contraceptive pills (and I would have added vaccines and many other vital drugs), he replied that, as an Algerian citizen and not as a Health Minister, he wants the Algerian population to Continue reading
On the occasion of International Women’s Day of this year, I have chosen to speak about various ‘feminist’ movements in the Muslim world in general. Many Muslims do not like the term ‘feminism’. The easiest way to discredit a movement in the Muslim world is to link it to the secular West. It is amusing to observe how Muslims seem sometimes more inclined to sympathize with the ideas of the extremist Christian right than with secular movements. Not to say that the Christian right doesn’t have any acceptable ideas from an Islamic perspective, but just to highlight the tendency to distrust anything that is tagged as ‘liberal’, ‘secular’ or even ‘democratic’. This is perhaps why the Islamic feminist movement has had relatively Continue reading
The following interview was published in Middle East Report, No. 192, Algeria: Islam, the State and the Politics of Eradication (Jan. – Feb., 1995), pp. 14-17, by MERIP. I am sharing it here because it highlights many deep social and psychological problems which are still around today. Perhaps they have even gotten worse. Indeed, have the former Hittistes evolved into today’s Harragas?
You will perhaps feel that the interviewer, Meriem Verges, asks loaded questions (those about identity, Islam’s role etc.), but it must be emphasized here that this interview was conducted at a time when the international community was trying to understand what was going on in Algeria, how ‘terrorists’ are formed and how Islamism contributed to the situation.
This interview conveys an overwhelming feeling that Continue reading
Algerianna‘s recent posts on the upcoming elections in Algeria coincide with elections in two other countries which, I think, have the closest political landscapes to ours. Russia’s Putin is celebratinghis victory, and his “I am officially the Prime Minister but I am the real President” trick he played in the past four years could have been adopted by Bouteflika in 2009 had he not had that too big ego of his. And Iranian Ahmadinejad and his friends are apparently losing the legislative elections to a more conservative group. The fact all those conservative/less conservative/reformist wings belong to the same system under Khamenei‘s control remind me of Algeria and how the next elections might change the parliament political distribution but not the system.
So I am taking this opportunity to write about my visits to Iran. I’ve been to Tehran a few times and my last visit was over a year ago. It coincided with Ouyahia’s visit and also with the assassination of some Iranian scientists. It might be safe here to tell that I am not connected in any way to either events. Continue reading