My objective behind the Book Reviews section is to write about the books I liked and/or which deal with some “interesting/useful” topic; and so far I’ve been successful in doing so. The previous book I reviewed was a disappointment but at least it allowed me to highlight one or two aspects about Algerian writers.
Black Suits You by Ahlam Mosteghanemi was beyond disappointment. The only good thing about it is that it can be read quickly, especially when you do like me and read only half the words starting from page 200.
I’ve read most of Ahlam’s novels, actually all but Nissian.com. I liked Memory in the Flesh more than Chaos of the Senses and Passer-by a Bed. She’s a good writer and I like her style but her novels are all the same. So I was aware that I was going to read just another variant of Mosteghanemi’s work when I bought Black Suits You, but I didn’t expect the boredom I experienced while reading it. Continue reading →
It’s been more than a month since my last post here. I confess it’s because of this very last post that I couldn’t publish anything. Every time I thought of a topic I’d realise what I was going to write would hinder my chances for the presidency. But it cannot be helped, I’ll take the risk knowing it’s small as most of my electorate doesn’t read in English.
A few weeks ago, everybody in Algeria was surprised by the transparency displayed by the Algerian regime over the president’s health. Both private and state news outlets gave many details about it and we even saw his personal doctor interviewed here and there. We learned that the president had a transient ischemia, that he didn’t want to go abroad and was forced to as his case couldn’t be treated in Algeria. And soon we were told he was in a great shape and just needed some rest. But after one week of apparent honesty, information flow stopped. Rumours then started, he’s dead, he’s resting but managing current affairs (Sellal declaration but I put it as a rumour), he’s back in Algeria, he’s in Geneva, he’s still in hospital, his case is very serious, etc. Continue reading →
You heard it. I bet you are surprised, but you really shouldn’t. We all know that blogging is not the fastest way to get things done, and this despite what people tell you on the so-called Arab Spring.
A few days ago I was watching this disturbing video on the bombing of Al Barra in Syria. There were too many civilian victims. I thought Bashar was a monster. But is he the only monster in the Syrian tragedy? What about the different opposition factions, Syria’s neighbours, “friend” and “foes”, Russia and the West, TV channels? It is said that Lakhdar Brahimi might resign soon, do we know the real reasons?
Obviously I don’t know.
3G deployment in Algeria is taking forever, the minister keeps setting dates and then postponing. Some people think it is because of purely technical reasons, others say it’s because the government is incompetent, others say it is because of Djezzy problem, and a few days ago somebody gave another explanation on TV.
I think it is all the above but, let’s be honest, I simply don’t know. Continue reading →
I created this post and the page remained empty for at least five minutes. I didn’t know what to write which would be a typical Algerian’s view on Japan. The Land of the Rising Sun is indeed so different from anywhere and any foreigner may come up with impressions similar to mine.
But I am not in the mood to write about Algeria so I kind of have no choice.
Like many Algerians, my first introduction into the Japanese world and culture was through anime. Continue reading →
In a previous post I spoke of some Algerians’ desire to be acknowledged by the world. But a more urgent wish for Algerians is to be seen and acknowledged by their rulers, representatives and their compatriots in their country and abroad.
Invisibility is not just not being seen by the other. It is also not being considered and respected; it is being ignored both in terms of rights and duties. Being invisible makes one feel useless and, as a consequence, irresponsible. I tend sometimes to blame our people for their wrong-doings, the fact they do not care of the cleanliness of their cities, etc. but I know that it is because most of them feel they are invisible that they do it. Invisibility also deprives the person from their morals, hopes and dreams, from their future. Continue reading →
I am one who likes everything Algerian, I am even capable of finding positive aspects in the worst among us and the worst of our traditions. And being abroad is not the only reason for this as it is not nostalgia for weqt zman, it is deeper in me: I love my people, I love my country, I like wearing the Kabyle Burnous and I’ve always liked seeing men (young and old) in the high plateaus wearing their Qechabia.
This is why I welcome events such as the Haik Day which took place two days ago in Algiers. It doesn’t cost money and creates some change in the capital while reminding the people of a past we all share in our memories.
But my positive stance doesn’t mean I become blind whenever things are related to Algeria and its traditions. It’s our Algerian tradition to criticize after all and this is what I am going to do here. Continue reading →
Today is the National Day of Persons with Disabilities in Algeria. Every year, on March 14, Algeria remembers this part of our society just like it does with women on the IWD. Disabled people are actually luckier than women as Algeria also remembers them on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3) but they are luckier only on the paper.
I don’t know about you but, very often, I wonder how physically disabled Algerians do in Algeria. This usually happens while walking in my city’s streets and noticing their very bad state which is dangerous for the most fit among us, let alone the disabled. Then a second thought comes and it’s that I seldom see disabled people in Algeria. And indeed, if I exclude the few ones who beg here and there, the only disabled I see seem to be the mentally ill experiencing a relapse. Continue reading →
A few days ago I read an article written by Natalya Vince in the Journal of North African Studies (Natalya Vince (2013): Saintly grandmothers: youth reception and reinterpretation of the national past in contemporary Algeria, The Journal of North African Studies, 18:1, 32-52). The researcher carried out a survey on 95 ENS students (history, philosophy, Arabic literature, French and English trainee teachers) to understand how Algerian youth interpreted national history (official and non-official versions) and “explore what image students have of the mujahidat and how this image is formed through the filters of school textbooks, family stories, films, books and current affairs.” The article is interesting because of the empirical method used in the research and because it doesn’t look at the different versions Algerians get from their political elites but concentrates on how these versions are perceived/mixed in the Algerian mind. It is also interesting because, unlike many so-called experts, the analyses Natalya Vince makes are not clueless.
I had planned to write my comments on the article but realised that this would mean to dedicate several longish posts to the many aspects it raised. So, lazy as I can be and seeing that today is IWD, I decided to take a little further the answer one of the surveyed people gave during Vince’s study. The question was Continue reading →
Many Algerian writers, too many of them in my opinion, concentrate in their writings on two specific periods: the colonisation/war of independence and the nineties, the black decade.
And I got fed up with them. This is why I was glad when I found Maissa Bey‘s novel “Blue White Green“. The novel relates a story which takes place between 1962 and 1992.
I actually don’t know what to think of it. I rarely appreciate novels written by Algerian (but not only) female writers. Whenever I read one I get the feeling it’s written by a woman for a feminine readership, unlike novels written by men which are suitable for both genders.
Anyway, the novel is written in the same style as “Voices“. Maissa Bey uses her two main characters, Lilas and Ali, to narrate the story. Each their turn. It starts in 1962 with a girl and a boy and evolves with them as they grow up, love each other, get married, have their child, and ends in 1992. Continue reading →