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 →
Professor Pierre Chaulet passed away last Friday. He was one of those French men and women who sided with the FLN during the Algerian war. I do usually take my time before writing about a recent event and this is why I am not going to write about this valuable Algerian man. The reader can browse the internet (Algerian news websites and blogs) to find some good tributes.
Instead, I will write a few words on Frantz Fanon‘s book “A dying colonialism“. Note that I didn’t write about the author last year for the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of this death. Some good articles have been written last year and the reader could easily find them on-line.
Frantz Fanon was another Frenchman who defended the Algerian cause and sided with the FLN. And it was Pierre Chaulet who introduced him to the revolutionary party in 1955. Unfortunately, he died a few months before the ceasefire was declared. Continue reading →
This post is part of the series I started some time ago; and the idea is, as usual, to lay down some points to trigger a discussion in the comments section. I’ll also add a poll at the end of the post in order to have our readers’ opinion, including those who do not comment :)
Unwritten languages face many threats. They could of course disappear, and when they have people trying to save them, as it is the case with Kabyle, they still face the threat of losing all or part of the cultural patrimony they carry.
Some Kabyles nowadays speak in French or Algerian dardja, and many do speak Kabyle but mixed with so many Arabic or French words that you wouldn’t recognise it. Several Kabyle words are therefore not used any more.
But it is not just words that disappear. Poems and proverbs tend to be forgotten as well. A great-aunt of mine, aged 103, lost her 16 yo and 18 yo sons who died as martyrs in the early days of the Algerian Revolution. I think she never recovered from her loss and she used to sing many poems dedicated to them and to the war in general. Unfortunately nobody did learn or record them, and they will probably disappear the time she will leave us. Continue reading →
Rais Hamidou is one of the most famous corsairs of the Regency of Algiers. He was and still is very popular among Algerians mainly because he was a very powerful corsair who won many battles (and captured many ships and prisoners), because he was the last great Rais before Algeria’s invasion, and because he was a local (tawa3na) unlike the other major corsairs who came from Europe.
Albert Devoulx, who wrote a lot about the Regency of Algiers, could retrieve many documents related to Rais Hamidou and wrote therefore a book about his life. You can download it from the second link I provided here.
Rais Hamidou ben Ali was born in El Casbah of Algiers in the 1770s. His ancestors being Kabyles from the Isser district in Boumerdes. He started training to become a tailor like his father, but the stories he hears on Algeria’s corsairs ignited his thirst for adventure and pushed him to leave the training and sail in a Regency’s ship at the age of 10 or 11. Continue reading →
Today I happened to be in a French city where a joint celebration of Algeria’s fiftieth year of independence was organized. The celebration took place in the town hall in presence of the mayor, the Algerian consul, a representative of the French state, some diplomats and many other guests. I decided to attend so I could see how things go.
I was going to write something else today but I decided to share what I saw as somebody already wrote something like my original post.
So the ceremony started with a speech of the mayor followed by the consul and then the French state representative. 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). Continue reading →
The purpose of this series of posts, when I started it, was to discuss the francophone/arabophone divide within our élite and how it translated into a belonging ideology. I decided to extend the scope and tackle other aspects.
A few weeks ago, a Tunisian friend of mine told me that politicians in his country were busy discussing whether they were too much or not enough Arab/Berber/Muslim. He said, “we already know who we are so why are they talking of identity, religion and language when the population thinks unemployment, economic crisis and security?” Apparently, Tunisia’s political élite is like ours, but the fact there is an election in one year will perhaps force them (and Ennahdha particularly as they are in charge) to deal with the people’s real concerns and stop with the distractions.
This post continues in the same theme of my previous posts here and here, but it is concerned with a section of Algerian society: women. It is about the role Algerian women played in the revolution and the social and cultural tensions which were experienced during the revolution and then after gaining independence. A while ago, MnarviDz sent me an interesting video about this issue. Here it is:
There are many more on YouTube (all in French though). The interesting thing about this video and many others, is that one gets the sense that very little has changed since (this video was filmed in 1962). It is an eerie feeling indeed. Actually, one has to be Continue reading →