So as expected after Medelci’s last visit to Washington, Hillary Clinton took a short trip to North Africa and spent some time in Algeria. While in Algiers, she encouraged the ruling system to make more reforms and declared that North African people deserve to decide for themselves. And taking the opportunity of this visit, the US embassy in Algiers invited some Algerians, considered as representatives of the civil society, to be present during state secretary’s speech. American administration’s interest in youths and civil societies has increased especially since the Arab Spring. A year ago, Clinton discussed through video conference with civil society representatives from 20 countries; and her special advisor for global youth issues, Ronan Farrow, visited Algerian computer sciences school, chatted with its students and had lunch with some youths. To the press, he explained his country’s interest in the world’s youths and made more important announcements.
An Algerian blogger, who thought she’d be among the civil society representatives, wrote about the event to share her ‘sadness’ for not having been invited. A funny reaction but nothing more. A more ‘interesting’ reaction was made by another Algerian blogger who was among the guests but didn’t take the below group picture with Hillary Clinton. In his post, he wrote that those young men and women were not civil society representatives but rather Pro-American civil society representatives.
But what is a Pro-American person?
The blogger says those people were businessmen, lawyers, youths supported by MEPI and a representative of Mozilla Algeria community. Let me tell you that I do not believe these descriptions are a proof of being Pro- or Anti-American. Is anyone who studies(d) in the US, or lives there a Pro-American? Are we Pro-American because this blog is written in English? Obviously not.
A Pro-American person is someone who supports the US and its policies. Some say such a person also supports the American culture and its people. Both definitions make sense but I prefer to stick to the former. There is this Algeria-born (but not bred) man who owns a blog (all blogs mentioned here are anonymous :)) and he describes his blog as “the first Pro-American blog in Arabic”. He says something like being a hardcore fan of the US, being a proud Pro-American, and working on fighting hate against the US in the Middle-East.
Two points sound strange here. I cannot understand how one can take pride in being Pro-American or Pro-any_state for the matter. A second point is, being Pro-American is not something we hear often in Algeria or from Algerians. The blogger being bred elsewhere might be the explanation. It is not important anyways.
It is admitted that Britain is Pro-American and that even France became more Pro-American since Sarkozy took office. I am talking about states here as the people do not necessarily share their state’s stance. This article tells us that some African countries are among the most Pro-American ones. But what about Algeria?
As I said above, the question may look odd to us. Whether it is on the state or the people levels, we are more used to accusing people of being Pro-France. Hizb Fransa, in all its aspects (the secularists, the DAFs, etc.), is what we know in our part of the world. So being Pro-American, relating oneself to Uncle Sam is relatively new. We of course have Chekib Khelil who’s been accused several times of caring more of the US interests because of his US citizenship, but I couldn’t think of somebody else.
Also, Algerians are rather Anti-American. Not as in Algerians hate the US but more as in Algerians disapprove of US international politics especially in the Middle-East.
My question is, what would happen if we start thinking of some Algerians as Pro-American? What would it mean to question Algeria and Algerians’ position versus American politics? I mean questioning it seriously. Would it not mean that there’s a shift in the way we look at the world and the weight European countries, and France more specifically, compared to the rest of the world have in our lives?
I know this post doesn’t say much on the topic. It’s just a question I asked myself after I read the blog entries I mentioned above. This link gives a list of the most Pro-American movies. I have watched only 3 of them so it looks likes I am not Pro-American.