Wasted


Pretending is something the Algerian authorities like to do and even though they suck at it they keep pretending again and again and again. Perhaps this is a way for them to perfect that art which we fail to understand. So they pretend that a mummy is actually ruling the country, that the country’s doing fine, that the state’s sovereignty is full, that the press is free in the country, that we are a democracy, that we have judicial independence, that our issues are caused by the foreign hand, etc. They even pretend that they actually care.

The list is long but I need to mention another example which will introduce this post’s topic. The authorities pretend that they value science and research along with the Algerian youths. So Continue reading

You are not welcome in Algiers


Today’s visit of the French PM to Algeria gives a new opportunity to the Algerian regime to bring Bouteflika in front of the state TV’s cameras and prove, if need be, that he’s alive and actually ruling the country. And just like every other foreign official who’s visited “us”, Valls will probably back the regime by praising the president’s courage and alacrity.

The context around this visit is somehow tense. There is apparently no mention of Bouteflika in the Panama Papers (only his industry minister Bouchouareb is found to own an offshore company) and yet French newspaper Le Monde suggested otherwise by putting the Algerian president’s picture on its front page. The Algerian side complained officially and denied visas to the newspaper’s journalists who were to come with Valls. Many French journalists decided to stay in Paris to support their colleagues.

I don’t expect this context to prevent what I mentioned in the first paragraph from happening but I doubt the French PM will sip a cup of mint tea in downtown Algiers surrounded by women in haiks. Continue reading

Je Suis Mnarvie


This text is a contribution by an Algerian friend of PoF who kindly agreed to share some of her thoughts around today’s (and yesterday’s) preferred targets when feminism is projected on Muslim women and societies.
Happy reading!

Oui vous avez bien lu, il y a effectivement un E à Mnarvi.

Je vous rassure tout de suite, c’est ponctuel. Le temps d’un post seulement.

Merci à Mnarvi, le vrai, pour l’invitation:)

Avec tous ces : Je Suis Ceci, Je Suis Cela, j’avais moi aussi envie d’être quelque chose. Comme tout le monde. De créer un #hashtag. D’être solidaire avec Mnarvi pourquoi pas ? Il y a tellement de choses qui se passent et qui sont causes d’énervement… Et comme je suis une femme : pas question de m’énerver sans un E ! Il parait d’ailleurs que l’une des grandes victoires du féminisme est celle d’avoir obtenu la féminisation du langage. Comme d’avoir ajouté un E à “écrivain” par exemple, ou bien à “auteur”. Dérisoire ? Et pourtant c’est bien une victoire pour certaines. Nous parlons du français, parce qu’en arabe il y a bien longtemps que le problème est résolu. Le Ta Marboutta est là pour ça ة . Oui, j’aurais pu écrire Je Suis Mnarvia et Continue reading

PoF Leak: Kamel Daoud, contre-enquête


Faisant suite à une demande pas si massive de pas grand monde, je vous propose une traduction en langue française du billet PoF Leak: The Kamel Daoud Investigation. Vous pourrez ensuite consulter les commentaires déjà publiés sur les deux billets précédents.
J’ai cherché un traducteur en vain et je dois donc le faire moi-même. J’essaie de faire attention mais je vous prierais de pardonner les éventuelles absences d’accent et les mauvaises concordances des temps. J’ai depuis longtemps perdu l’habitude d’écrire la France à moins que je ne sois un précurseur de la nouvelle langue française. Voici donc l’article.

Vous avez été nombreux à avoir entendu parler des articles écrits par le journaliste et écrivain algérien Kamel Daoud et ayant lien avec ce qui est désormais appelé “les agressions de Cologne”. Les habitués du blog devinent mon désaccord avec le chroniqueur. Je me suis en effet satisfait de quelques commentaires sur Twitter et je n’ai pas senti la nécessité de leur dédier un billet. Beaucoup de monde l’a fait avec des articles plus ou moins intelligents. Celui-ci fait partie des meilleurs, à mon avis, et le reste peut aisément être trouvé grâce à Google. Continue reading

Book Review: Les Enfant des Frontières


Two weeks ago I was at a conference about the “refugees crisis” in Europe. The talk was given by a geographer researcher specialised in migrations, one who could have been among the 19 who signed the contribution in Le Monde refuting Kamel Daoud’s article in the same newspaper. A “bien-pensant” intellectual as Daoud’s friends would have called her (cf. this article in El Watan and a reaction to it in Le Matin) or simplistically a jealous person as prodigy Daoud himself would have called her had she been Algerian.

So there were maps, statistics and graphs with some geopolitics putting things back in their context. It was very interesting and informative. People should get access to such information to, at least, try to avoid situations such as having some former refugees who do not want their new country to take in new ones. Especially when a “renowned” journalist and writer implies that the new refugees come with a cultural sickness which makes them prone to violence and “that the disease is spreading to their own lands.”

The same happens in Algeria with the sub-Saharan refugees who either stay in the South or move farther to the Northern cities (dying, for some, while crossing the Sahara). In Bejaia (and elsewhere), you can see them, men, women, children and babies turned into street beggars or very low-cost workers in construction/farming fields. They rely on the locals’ generosity and also suffer from their animosity (some in Algeria say they’d spread their diseases – yes, it’s the bell ringing that you hear.)

So I though I’d write a very short review of a beautiful book on the times when our people were themselves refugees, pushed out by the French occupier’s policies and seeking refuge in neighbouring Morocco and Tunisia if not farther. Continue reading

PoF Leak: The Kamel Daoud Investigation


Version française ici

Many among you have probably heard of or read the articles written by Algerian journalist and writer Kamel Daoud as a comment/analysis of last year’s “Cologne attacks”. The regular readers of Patriots on Fire probably know that I disagree with Daoud. I made some short comments on Twitter but didn’t have enough will to blog about the whole issue. Add that many have reacted with more or less sensible articles. This one being among the best I’ve read and Google will help you find many more.
The story could have ended with the letters exchanged between Daoud and Adam Shatz and Daoud’s announcement that he would quit journalism to dedicate himself to literature. But it didn’t. Other letters are indeed being sent and Daoud’s supporters are writing to defend him, etc. Have fun people!

Then you probably wonder why I am writing. Continue reading

Mohamed Lazouni


Lazouni1Rab Dzair, one of Algeria’s fabricated myths fell a few weeks ago when Bouteflika, or whoever is deciding in his name, dismissed General Toufik. More pictures and even a video footage of the head of the DRS finally emerged and people got to know how the man looked (I am not speaking of the old images). The myth fell once more with Toufik’s short letter in the press showing his helplessness.

But today’s post is not about this once invisible man. It is about another police officer who became famous in the 80s because of his activities and also because of his invisibility. I am of course speaking of Mohamed Lazouni, aka الشّرطي المخفي (Shorti Makhfi – the invisible/hidden cop) who, let’s admit it, unlike General Toufik, brings back good memories and didn’t harm the Algerian people. Continue reading

Book Review: Les Algériennes du château d’Amboise


Tomorrow we will celebrate the 61st anniversary of the Algerian Revolution. I used to dedicate a post to this occasion with a link to a song or a poem. This time will be different as I am taking this opportunity to finish this book review draft and post it.

The Algerian Revolution was the final step taken by the Algerian people towards their independence. All the armed and peaceful resistance actions taken since the French invasion in 1830 paved the way for the glorious War of Independence. The resistance movement led by Emir Abdekader was a major episode even though it ended with the prince surrendering to the French who imprisoned him and his followers in France instead of sending him to today’s Turkey, Syria, Egypt or KSA as was agreed between the Emir and the Duke of Aumale. And this is where Amel Chaouati’s book comes in.

Many books have been and are written on Emir Abdelkader but only a few speak of his 97 followers (including 21 women and 15 children and babies) and I don’t remember reading any which relate the story of the women amongst them during his detention period in France (three months in Toulon, four in Pau and four long years in Amboise). Chaouati tried to tackle this aspect.

I admit I was more sceptical when I bought the 1500 DZD worth book than when I started reading this one. I wondered what the author would have to say knowing the scarcity of historical sources. And I was right, there was little material to fill the 204 pages of the book except that the author chose a different perspective.

Continue reading

The ChatNoir @GnChNr Compass


MycompassSome Algerian tweeples took the political compass test to find out where they would be on a (left/right, authoritarian/libertarian) plane. I did take that test several years ago and took it again some days ago with fellow tweeples. To my surprise (or not), my position didn’t change much in all these years. No conclusion implied but note how Gandhi is the closest to me.

This is a way for me to introduce a new compass which I named “The ChatNoir Compass”. I hope fellow Algeria blogger ChatNoir won’t mind and won’t sue me for intellectual property. Continue reading

Yonamare!


Yonamare 1

More than a year ago, a movement called Barakat was created to protest against Bouteflika’s fourth term. Here I have to say that I hadn’t believed in this movement which failed to gather the people around it. Anyway, the movement’s members demonstrated a few times in Algiers and the police was always there to stop/arrest them. At that time, Ennahar newspaper and TV campaigned for the sick man who’s become the country’s president for the fourth time and had therefore been very harsh on Barakat. As can be expected from media which lack professionalism and deontology (let’s be clear, this is not specific to Ennahar), Ennahar used all means to discredit the movement (cf. this video on Amira Bouraoui) and, as an information outlet, never protested against the fact this movement and other Algerian opponents were denied their right to demonstrate and were faced with violent police forces. Continue reading