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 →
The situation has calmed down in Algeria and things are going back to normal (read usual). Bouteflika, as always during tough moments when one would expect the president to speak to his people, has kept silent. Some even suggested he was dying (treating a stomach-ache) in a French or Swiss hospital. This was obviously a rumour which disappeared as soon as Bouteflika appeared next to the Canadian foreign affairs minister.
In actual fact, Bouteflika was busy talking on the phone with Zine El Abidine. Tunisia’s also experiencing a social unrest and the situation doesn’t look close to resolution. The two “Pouvoirs” do indeed have a lot in common and could be called good friends.
An old joke in Algeria says that Ezzine was surprised at and even envious of the high scores Chadli Bendjedid got at his presidential “elections” so he asked the Algerian president to help him get similar results in Tunisia. Chadli agreed (I said they were good friends) and sent his first counsellor to Tunis to share his techniques. The Tunisian “elections” took place and guess what? Continue reading →
The riots which are taking place in Algeria give the opportunity for many people to speak. These people are taking advantage of the non-organisation of the rioters, their young age, their ignorance and of the looting and criminal acts which go with them to speak on their behalf and give the reasons and explanations meeting their own agenda.
Unlike the Tunisians, the Algerian rioters do not represent all the socioprofessional categories. Most of them are unemployed young men, many are teenagers who should be in school, and some are there just to steal and destroy. They have no clear message and they don’t hold placards to tell the world what they want. I am not even sure they would agree on a common message, if they have one that is. We see therefore men and women on the ENTV, the foreign TV channels and on the internet who attempt to explain the rioters’ actions, and of course to link them with their own desires. Continue reading →
I just came back from home and, like every time, I have mixed feelings. I of course miss my family, my country and my people (not all of them I have to admit), but at the same time my heart is filled with anger and pain for what I’ve witnessed during my holidays.
I must say that I am never surprised as I have a job which allows me to go home many times a year (and I do) and I stay connected to/with Algeria when I am abroad (while I am hardly aware of what’s happening in the country I live in). But my stays in Algeria always display all the country’s problems like a punch in my face.
This time too, I came back with a list of things which are going wrong. Perhaps am I blind to positive things (even those aspects which look positive to many Algerians such as Beb Ezzouar mall, etc. are the most negative things in my eyes) or is it that I am not looking in the right direction. Continue reading →
A Nation’s Shaken Ego Seen in a Soccer Loss is the title of an article which was published a couple of days ago in the New York Times. I am not sure whether the writer was incredulous or whether I projected my own incredulity at the Egyptian reaction on the article, but it is clear that foreign observers who are living in Egypt (like journalists who report from Cairo) seem to regard the Egyptian reaction to that fateful football match against Algeria worthy of news-reporting and analysis. I am still skeptical about whether all this really means something more than deep disappointment at losing a football match – after all, an already-miserable person with very little hope will alwas be more likely to exhibit violent emotions (whether at the positive or negative ends of the emotions scale). Football is one of these games which has the ability to drive people, from all classes, mad. So in my view, the Egyptians are behaving like football fans because very little else seems to persuade them to mobilise at such a national scale and complain or rejoice. It has to be mostly about football. This of course does not deny the fact that Egyptians suffer from many problems, but we have to be careful not to confuse corelation with causality. The Guardian dedicated a couple of contrasting commentaries on the issue, one of the view that there is no need to point the finger at deeper ills because “the violence in Cairo was just thuggery cynically fomented by President Mubarak” and the other of the opposite view that there’s “more to Egypt’s riots than football“. Am more inclined to agree with Mayton (the writer of the first article).