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.
On the government’s side, while Bouteflika and Ouyahia remain silent, Djiar (the minister of youths) declared that the rioters are the innocent victims of manipulators and that we should protect them. He added that violence never achieved anything. One should remind him of how we got our independence, or closer to us, how he and those in power kept their positions for almost 50 years.
Ould Kablia, the minister of interior, was even funnier in his declarations. He also mentioned the manipulations and the investigations he planned to start in order to uncover the evil manipulators. He also declared his surprise at the hatred that is in these rioters’ hearts. I indeed wonder how such a bad feeling could reach people living in wonderland, or بلد العزة و الكرامة as they like to call it. I almost forgot that he said his services hadn’t received any application for a peaceful and legal demonstration. Like he’d have given his agreement…
Ben Bada, minister of trade, obviously thinks the rioters complain on the goods’ prices increase and has therefore promised that oil and sugar prices will be lower starting from next week: through subsidising the goods but also by cancelling the new regulations which aimed at controlling the trade activity (and finally getting the taxes which the traders never paid in the past). Great reactivity of the minister and the government who still don’t know whether we’re in a socialist state or not. This also proves the state’s weakness in front of the economic players.
Louiza Hanoune is not in the government but her stance has changed since she had signed her agreement with the RND. So on the one hand she says that the events are not serious and the movement very limited, but on the other hand, and that’s her Trotskyist part, she blames everything on Rebrab (and Cevital) who is monopolizing the oil and sugar production in Algeria.
On the “opposition” side, almost everybody says it’s not about sugar and its cost, and is rather about democracy. One can watch on Youtube the declarations of people such as Karim Tabou, Salaheddine Sidhoum, Zitout, Fodhil Boumala, Abassi Madani, Ferhat Mehenni etc. who have been interviewed by many TV channels.
Of course, these people do not say the rioters are ignorant young men as this would deprive their analyses and declarations from some seriousness. Also, in order to make things look more important, they do not hesitate to compare the situation to October 1988.
The internet (mainly Youtube) also had its analysts who didn’t bring anything new compared to the classical positions I mentioned above. One made me smile though: Hchicha‘s proposal to support the rioters by choosing a specific time and making noise with cooking ustensils. Man, we’re talking of Algeria!
I too will speak on the rioters’ behalf (why wouldn’t I?) I think they’re nothing but ignorant young men who’ve got too much time and energy in their hands and who are destroying everything around because they are unhappy with their lives. I don’t believe its goes beyond this. They don’t even know the meaning of politics.
But this is the result of the authorities’ actions which destroyed the people during 50 years and simply decided to ignore it.
It’s taboo in Algeria to compare our rulers, many of whom former Moudjahidines, to the French colonial regime. I do it and find many similarities in the way the colons treated the “indigènes” and the way we’re treated by the “pouvoir”. Corruption, elections frauds, torture, isolation between the two groups, responses of the rulers to the peoples’ demands, etc. every thing is very similar.
Luckily for the rulers (and for us), the GIA and co. didn’t have the population’s support as the FLN/ALN did during the revolution. This gave the rulers a second a chance. When are they going to take it?