Res Publica II, towards a Second Republic

In her last post, algerianna asked the questionwhat would Algeria need to focus on in order to attain global presence?“. She perhaps aimed at starting a sort of brainstorming around this question, and I hope our usual commentators and others will share their ideas and thoughts, and create an interesting discussion here.

algerianna’s question reminded me of another initiative which has been launched last month. The initiative, which probably borrows its name from the French tradition of adding an increment to the republic every time its constitution is changed, is called “Res Publica II, towards a second republic” and has been started by Mr. Fodil Boumala.

As far as I know, Mr. Boumala’s first experience on TV was with the UFC programs in the late 80s or early 90s (can’t remember), and then he presented his own interview show (El djaliss) in the 90s. And I remember he gave the impression of a smart man who had ideas which he expressed quite well. He used to give talks in Algerian universities and had a relatively big success with the audience.

Boumala decided to run “Res Publica II” as a virtual space (on Facebook) because, he says, all the other communication means in Algeria are simply closed. And he wants the Facebook group he created to be a place for debate and discussion where everybody (nobody’s excluded, with the exception may be of the ruling system’s people) can ask their questions, share their analyses and suggest solutions. The goal behind this initiative would be to build alternative projects for Algeria which would create a real disconnection with the current system and mentalities. The exact form of the initiative’s mission and rules can be found on its Facebook page.

I joined the group very recently and I didn’t have the time to go through all the posted videos, articles and comments. I will probably post again about it once I have a clearer idea on what it is and how it’s evolving. Nevertheless, I can already say that the group is growing (983 members as I write) and that it looks really open and diverse (with regard to the people Boumala interviewed and the comments I could read so far). I could also tell that Boumala’s experience in communication is an asset, and he still deals with things with the scientific thinking method I noticed when I saw him on TV in the early 90s.
Within Res Publica II, Fodila Boumala continues to give talks in the Algerian universities (last was on In Bejaia, and next one will be in Tizi-Ouzou). He also interviewed Algerian personalities as diverse as Karim Tabou (FFS national secretary), Maissa Bey (writer), Noureddine Ait-Hamouda (RCD) or Ahmed Benbitour who has his own project and whom I mentioned here. His discourse reminded me of Amr Khaled‘s renovation/innovation motto which I talked about in a previous post. And as usual, there are already people on internet forums accusing him of being a DRS agent.

Anyway, until I come back to this topic, I leave you with the Res Publica II presentation video and text.

اسمحوا لي أن أعرض عليكم هذا الفضاء الجديد الذي يتخذ من “الجمهورية الثانية” عنوانا له.. يهتم في عمومه بالجزائر و يعنى أساسا بواقعها و يستشرف مستقبلها..يطرح بصراحة و صدق الأسئلة الكبرى المرتبطة بنظام الحكم والمجتمع و ما يرتبط بهما من مخاوف و مخاطر من شأنها هدم البناء الكلي لكياننا الجمعي.هو فضاؤكم الحر للتفكير الجاد و السجال السياسي و العلمي بهدف بناء مشاريع بديلة لجزائر أنهكها الارتجال و اللاكفاءة و الفساد من جهة السلطة الحاكمة و أزلامها و الصمت و الخوف والخنوع من جهة من لهم القدرة على قول “لا” في المجتمع.”الجمهورية الثانية” تهدف لقطيعة حقيقية و نهائية مع الذهنيات الميتة القاتلة و نظام الاستبداد و قمع الحريات و خرق الدستور و القانون و الأعراف.فضاء “الجمهورية الثانية” مفتوح لتعدد الرأي بدون أي إقصاء بدعوى العقيدة أو الثقافة أو اللغة شريطة أن تكون رسالتنا جميعا خدمة الجزائر

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6 thoughts on “Res Publica II, towards a Second Republic

  1. It’s a shame I don’t have a Facebook account (and don’t intend to have one!). I would have been interested to see how this initiative evolves. I do think however that such initiatives will only attract either the Algerian diaspora or the relatively well-off and educated elites in Algeria (because these are the people who would have an Internet connection and would be interested in such topics).

    As for all other communication avenues in Algeria being closed, is he not aware that the Algerian parliament has recently passed a new law to censor ‘inappropriate’ Internet content? His site may well fit the bill for ‘inappropriate’ Internet content.

    I hope you will post again on this with perhaps a collection of interesting suggestions people post in this group.

    • algerianna, I think you can still view the Facebook page without being logged in. You just won’t be able to participate, which is the real shame.
      I agree an internet initiative won’t attract the masses, but I don’t think they would be attracted to such initiatives, even if held during the weekly markets. Which is quite normal if you ask me.

      Now, keeping the process in the virtual world wouldn’t take it far. It has to be transformed into real-life actions if Boumala wants it to be effective. Perhaps his talks and conferences are one of these real-life actions.

      • Well I have quickly browsed through the contributions MnarviDZ but was disappointed to find that the boards have been taken over by trolls, fanatics and activists for separatism of Kabylia from the rest of Algeria. A good illustration why Internet initiatives of this sort won’t work, they not only do not attract the representative masses, but they tend to attract the fanatical minorities.

  2. Quite interesting, but as we saw recently in Iran – protestants communicated through ‘twitter’-, the massive online movements are pointless for radical changes. They may be way too useful in spreading the word or raise awareness amongst the folks about this issue. But, as stated in the comment above, people who might use Internet for SERIOUS work aren’t enough for such big initiative.

    • But, as stated in the comment above, people who might use Internet for SERIOUS work aren’t enough for such big initiative.

      Welcome to the blog Schneller.
      I don’t think the problem is in how many people are around who might use the Internet for serious work, it is rather in the naive conception of the Internet as a means to induce real and significant change in people’s mentalities like Mr. Boumala seems to believe.

      If we’re to use the Internet to our benefit and that of our country, we need to seriously think about what the Internet is and what it could do in this sense. One example I quite like is how Obama had used the Internet to fundraise for his electoral campaign. This is an interesting example which shows how the Internet as a tool was used to mobilize the masses around a common goal – not by talking but by ACTING. It was an ingenious move and it shows a good understanding of modern technology and also a prior-analysis of how it might best be used for political goals.

      Having said that, I am sure such an initiative wouldn’t work in Algeria, not because people are tight, but because they’re apathetic and desillusioned whereas Americans for example still have an ability to believe that change is possible and that they can make it happen.

  3. Pingback: The “Arab spring” gives birth to a new initiative in Algeria « Patriots on Fire

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