From awareness to action


BentAljazair replied to one of my comments on her blog by saying that “Ocacha would have written a great blog”. I think she’s absolutely right and this is why I am posting something Ocacha could have said.
The following paragraph, from Mohammed Dib‘s “the fire“, is Ben Youb’s words. A man who, like Ocacha, was aware of Algeria’s situation and wanted to do something about it.

“Ce n’est pas une vie que la nôtre. La vie que nous menons depuis nos plus lointains ancêtres n’est plus une vie. Nous nous ennuyons et nous n’avons plus la force de vivre. Nos parents, nos grands-parents, les parents de nos grands-parents… avaient tous des devoirs. Pour eux, la vie ne pouvait se passer de devoirs. Ce que nous savons d’eux, ce qui nous est parvenu de leur temps, la manière dont ils comprenaient l’existence, me fait dire ça. Précisément, la conscience de ces devoirs avait fait d’eux des hommes, alors que nous, nous n’avons pas mieux trouvé que de nous libérer des nôtres. Comme les bêtes, nous mangeons et ne pensons à rien. Il n’y a plus de devoirs. Nous sommes des hommes qui n’ont plus de tâches à accomplir. Notre vie nous semble inutile; nos actes nous parraissent inutiles; nous nous promenons, inutiles nous-mêmes, sur cette terre; nous ne trouvons aucune joie dans nos travaux, qui sont devenus des travaux des anciens. Pas de joie dans nos amitiés, pas de joie dans les paroles que nous échangeons avec nos semblables, pas de joie à voir grandir nos enfants, pas de joie à voir nos biens fructifier. C’est bien le signe qu’il nous faut des tâches nouvelles[…]”
[…]
– […] Par exemple la grande majorité de nos paysans creuse la terre à un pousse de pronfondeur; il faudrait désormais qu’ils labourent à une coudée.
[…]
– Il faut des hommes nouveaux pour le faire, fit remarquer encore Bochnak.
[…]
– Est-ce que nous avons ces nouveaux hommes? […]
– Nous ne les avons peut-être pas…, hasarda Ben Youb. Mais peut-être les avons nous. As-tu bien regardé autour de toi pour savoir s’il n’y en a pas?
[…]
– Regardons en nous et autour de nous. Et sans doute découvrirons-nous des hommes qui étonneront le monde et nous-mêmes.

Dib’s novel relates events which happened in 1939, at a time when the Algerian national awareness had reached a relatively high level. This awareness, combined to other factors, has led to the 1954 war.

I read this paragraph and I think every bit of it could be applied to our present situation. Obviously most Algerians complain about their lives and everything in Algeria, but, and this is an important difference, I don’t think most of them have a conscious awareness of the country’s bad shape. Some are indeed tricked by the ambient consumerism that is reigning in the country and others are just wasting time and oxygen on this earth. Among the aware ones many care little about their fellow Algerians. The post-independence regime had blocked any individual feeling so the people today react with an exaggerated individualism.
What we really lack is pro-activity. We are not happy but we are not doing anything to change our lives (as a group). We refuse to dig deeper (using Ben Youb’s expression) and we expect things to change; seriously do we believe in magic? Perhaps are we like Bochnak who thinks change can only come with new people and these new people do simply not exist… yet?

Is it not the elites’ role to help the people grow their awareness and transform it into action?

Today is October the 5th and it has been 22 years since the uprising of October 1988. I wonder if the people back then were aware of their situation and if they knew what they were doing. I wonder if the elites had fulfilled their role… Apparently Chadli knows the answer.

2 thoughts on “From awareness to action

  1. I remember I have read on newspapers then somebody saying “the youth in the riots don’t know what they want, but they definitely know what they no longer want”
    People no longer wanted Chadli, FLN, hogra (injustice)…but Chadli disappeared, Messadia disappeared, we got democracy…but Hogra remained.

    I see you call it uprising. For me it was only riots of angry crowd…skillfully manipulated angry crowd.

    • You know I had actually written riots because that’s what they were to me, but I changed it only for the important consequences they had (which we still endure for some).

      Change will happen only if the whole system disappears, not just one or two pawns.

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