The “Arab spring” didn’t affect Algeria in the way many had hoped. There were of course some riots here and there (note that riots have been continuously erupting in Algeria for many years now), a number of men and women attempted to kill themselves, and some political parties and civil society representatives (every word here should be put between quotations) created the CNCD and wanted to copycat the Tahrir gatherings but the Algerian people didn’t follow them and they had to stop their movement a few weeks ago.
The Algerian pouvoir told us Algeria is not Tunisia or Egypt (which is ironic when you think of the times when this same pouvoir kept telling us we’re all “identical” Arabs and part of the Arab Nation) and that the riots had only social demands. So it was easy to stop them and satisfy these demands. And indeed, during the past months, every time somebody wanted something all they had to do was to launch a strike or gather before El Mouradia and abracadabra the government finds the money and solves the issue. But despite the purely social demands, the pouvoir decided to launch some political reforms as was promised in Bouteflika’s speech. I wonder if these political demands didn’t come from elsewhere, behind the sea and the ocean. But anyway, Ben Salah and El Mokh got busy during a few weeks and met with many Algerian personalities and organisations (the list compiled here by Algérie-Politique). And now they should shortly give their conclusions to the president who will decide of the next steps. Note here that it took longer than his Moroccan counterpart but I am afraid we will reach similar results: pseudo reforms to buy time.
So let’s forget this boring establishment (pouvoir and opposition alike) and consider the other alternatives, which is the object of this post.
It is now an old movement which is not related to the Arab spring. But I mention it here because it was about to launch its TV channel (El Asr) but Eutelsat, according to Rachad, refused to broadcast the channel’s programs. And again according to Rachad, Eutelsat’s decision was provoked by the Algerian pouvoir and its French friend. Needless to say that Eutelsat denied everything. Remember that Rachad’s website has been blocked in Algeria for a long time now, but I heard it is accessible again since last week (confirmation by readers from Algeria is welcomed). As I am not a fan of this movement I don’t even know how they reacted to the Arab spring.
Ahmed Ben Bitour:
I mentioned Bouteflika’s former prime minister and his initiative a few times on this blog. I must admit that I stopped checking his website as I failed to see something really interesting. I have an explanation for my lack of interest but I will give it later. Ben Bitour reacted to the Arab Spring and joined the CNCD before withdrawing. This, I think, was not a wise move.
I have dedicated a post to his initiative. I sometimes check his Facebook page and even watch some of the videos he posts (he interviews Algerian politicians, intellectuals, etc.) but I didn’t see anything else. Also, the way he reacted to the Arab spring kind of disappointed me: He kept wandering in all the news channels criticising le pouvoir (if I weren’t aware of the situation in Algeria I would have thought a revolution was on-going), and also joined the CNCD before withdrawing eventually.
The above initiatives aim at changing the situation in Algeria through politics, by changing the system or rather replacing it. And this is probably why I lost interest in them. They seem to think the political situation is the most urgent thing to change and I disagree with this point. Which brings me to the other initiatives which decided to leave the political arena alone.
There are already many associations of Algerians in Algeria and abroad which work on improving things in Algeria, mainly economically speaking. I am not going to mention them especially that some of their members I know use them for their own advantage.
Nabni (Notre Algérie Bâtie sur de Nouvelles Idées)
And a new initiative (which is the one mentioned in the title) just gave its report to the authorities. It is called Nabni (we build) and was launched a few months ago. At that time some said it was launched by the DRS to break the CNCD but this is a usual accusation on everything in Algeria. So the members of this initiative worked for some weeks and built a list of a 100 measures to apply in order to improve things in Algeria by 2020. They say they have no personal interest and don’t want a change in the system but are ready to work with the pouvoir in order to implement their measures.
So let us see what the pouvoir will say and how things will evolve. I haven’t yet checked the measures list but I will go through them and then share my opinion in a new post.