A thing that prevents someone from giving full attention to something else. This is the definition the dictionary gives for distraction.
Everyone uses distractions. Parents do distract their children when they become bothersome. Teachers do the same with their pupils. But those with cunning and most dangerous distraction strategies are probably the politicians. Whether in domestic and foreign affairs, distractions are an important tool to pass laws, hide information or even invade a country. Politicians are even able to use clustered distractions where A is used to prevent from noticing B which in turn is used to distract from thinking of C. Oumelkheir gives an example here. Continue reading →
Two days ago Algeria has celebrated the 40th anniversary of the hydrocarbons’ nationalisations. Last year’s celebrations coincided with Sonatrach’s latest known of financial scandal which led, among other things, to the dismissal of one of Bouteflika’s best friends, Chakib Khelil. Things are different this year. Khelil’s successor, Youcef Yousfi, held the celebrations in Hassi Messaoud; and the city’s youths also celebrated the event by blocking the access to the oil plants. They demanded a share in the jobs that are created by the oil exploitation activity. Though the problem is more complex, it cannot be denied that the people of Southern Algeria are not the biggest beneficiaries of the hydrocarbons industry.
This anniversary triggered the idea of this post. A review of a book which talks of this very special and unique period of independent Algeria which witnessed this great achievement.
Ahmed Taleb-Ibrahimi‘s last political appearance in Algeria was in 1999 as a candidate to the presidential elections. He was then portrayed by some of his opponents as a retrograde Islamist who would gather former FIS sympathisers and replace the dissolved party (his party, WAFA, was never approved by the system). This accusation was backed by at least three points: he was supported by Mohand Said, he was Bachir Ibrahimi‘s son and he was Boumediene‘s minister of education when the Arabization process had started. Then Taleb, along all the other candidates opposing Bouteflika, withdrew his candidacy because it became clear that the system had already chosen Algeria’s current president. This withdrawal led Bouteflika’s supporters and many observers to accuse him and the other candidates of executing the DRS’s plan, the aim of which being to reduce Bouteflika’s influence after his plebiscite. Another attempt to candidacy in the 2004 elections wasn’t approved by Zerhouni’s services. Since then, Taleb decided to put an end to his political activities and dedicate his time to writing his memoirs. Continue reading →
I decided to buy this book the minute I heard of its publication, but I hesitated once I got to the bookshop and read Abdelhalim Abbas’s (the author’s son) text on the back cover. He wrote that his father had asked him to publish the book only when a democratic system would be installed in Algeria and when the word freedom would fully bear its meaning. He added that it was therefore the right time to publish the book. I cannot deny that our public expression limits have been released since the end of the 80s; but saying that we have a real democratic system in Algeria is a plain lie. Our political system is as despotic as before and the red lines nobody is allowed to cross move only according to the system’s confidence in its power and to its paranoia level. Perhaps Abdelhalim Abbas feared to die before he publishes the book…
I found it interesting that in 1985, Ferhat Abbas thought his son would live and witness the democracy’s advent in our country. It looks like he’s always had and kept this excess of optimism and faith in humans, just like he had thought for a long time that the French would award the Algerians equal rights without waging a war against them. Continue reading →