Algeria seems to be back in the 80s, the period before the East Block collapsed. People cannot find milk anywhere and are queuing early in the morning to have a chance to buy one or two litres. This reminds me of when I was a kid and had to wake up at 5am to queue at the baker’s in order to buy some bread, or when we all queued to buy oil, sugar or coffee. The minister says we shouldn’t worry as there is no milk shortage at all (lovely 80s propaganda), that it’s just a matter of organisation which will be solved very soon (he didn’t add that fakhamatouh Bouteflika would be the solver).
Milk is not the only thing missing in Algeria nowadays. Money is lacking too, and I don’t mean that people are poor or anything but that the people cannot find enough bank notes. It is indeed almost impossible for them to withdraw their salaries from the post-offices. The Algerian minister (another one but they all deliver the same message) says it’s the people’s fault (of course!) who apparently are doing things wrong. According to him, they shouldn’t use cash all the time and should pay by cheques or bank cards. What he forgot to say is that we’ve always done that way, that nobody uses cheques in Algeria, that bank cards cannot be used in most places and that our banking system is just archaic.
The funny thing is that it seems the milk we’ve been drinking for years wasn’t 100% milk, not even 50% milk. Specialists say that the producers changed the composition and decided to use less milk powder and more water. So we should be happy that milk has disappeared.
Another funny thing is that the Algerian dinar is the preferred currency of smugglers, and billions cross the Algerian borders every year. Other billions do arrive in containers coming from China where they’re manufactured. Yes, the Chinese not only build our roads, prisons and houses, they also manufacture our clothes and games, and now they import our own money. Of course, this is counterfeit money but why would we care!
Sonatrach and Gazprom announced yesterday the discovery of a new hydrocarbons reservoir. I thought what a curse! Why the hell do we have oil? Exploiting oil is so boring, we need to sell it and make calculations and all and then buy the stuff we need. This is really bothersome. Can’t we just discover reservoirs of money, milk, meat and vegetables? Can’t we discover reservoirs of intelligent rulers or are we going to keep milking Algeria until its milk dries up?