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.
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 →
Following the horrid murder of two children in Constantine earlier this month, there have been protests calling for the application of the death penalty in cases of proven murder. Many people felt very angry about the current situation wherein most criminals are released during the Presidential Grace period which occurs every year. Many Algerians now understand human rights as meaning criminal rights or the right of criminals to kill, assault and steal and get 5 star treatment, or indeed get away with it! This is because the human rights cabal always comes out in force whenever a monstrous crime like the one mentioned above shakes the public opinion and brings the application of the death penalty back onto the discussion table.
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 →
I have always considered French apology or repentance for what it did in Algeria as a strictly French affair. This is why I haven’t written about Francois Hollande’s visit to Algeria and his recognition of Algerian suffering during the colonial era. Also, the fact everyone I follow on Twitter kept mentioning it that day saturated me.
I have shared in a previous post a list of the Algerian English blogs I knew. Today I am going to share links to another category, blogs owned by Algerian women. And as this category is bigger than the blogs written in English, I will only give links to the blogs I follow.
So here they are with no particular order.
Salima Ghezali is an Algerian journalist and you can read her editorials here. She doesn’t really have a blog but I am mentioning her because I consider her weekly audio editorials on Medi1 Radio as blog posts.
The tragic incident that is taking place in In Amenas raised a number of reactions all around the world. The international press and experts seem to have agreed to stress on a specific point: the rudeness of Algeria’s special forces intervention. I watched several programs on many TV channels and almost all the “expert” guests kept repeating that Algeria is not a democracy and its Russia-trained forces do not care about the hostages’ safety. At the end I was left with a feeling that there was an international jury declaring Algeria guilty of killing the hostages. The fact there were hostage-takers kind of disappeared from the discussions. Continue reading →