I am Algerian and I want to be acknowledged


… Not.

I went to Paris a few weeks ago and, like often, I spent a few hours at the IMA. There was an exhibition, of photographs, paintings and sculptures by Tunisian artists, apparently related to the “Jasmine revolution”. I was disappointed to be honest, but this is not the topic.

So at the IMA I observed the roles distribution of its employees: the security people were black or from Algiers, the hostesses from Eastern Europe as they’re apparently the only to speak more than three languages, and French and Lebanese employees were at the bookshop and restaurants. And while in the bookshop, I was glad to find the books selection dedicated to Algeria’s independence 50th anniversary. But only a few were written by Algerians, and the only Algerian books in Arabic were Laredj‘s, Mosteghanemi‘s and Ouettar‘s. I started reflecting on the value that is “given” abroad to Algeria and Algerians, or on Algeria’s visibility abroad.

My reflection went further when I followed the IMA’s guide who “introduced” me to the Arab world. She was annoying with her “n’est-ce pas” at the end of every sentence but more annoying was the fact she never mentioned my country. She even talked of Djibouti for God’s sake! At the end of the tour I saw silver jewellery which looked very much like coming from Ath Yenni (you can see some here) so I thought here’s our chance… But the ugly guide said, “these are very beautiful cuffs from Tunisia, n’est-ce pas.” I was going to scream.

I am not particularly attached to Algeria’s belonging to the Arab world, but the fact I do not consider myself an Arab doesn’t mean I deny my country’s natural belonging to this region. So I admit I was disappointed (twice in one day) and felt the unfairness of not being considered by others. It’s like when I am abroad and people hear I am a North African and ask if I am from Tunisia and when I say no they say then Morocco?

So I remembered the Algerian flag which we can see in all the world’s stadiums and more and more during sports competitions other than football games, and wondered if this wasn’t more than a display of Algerians’ attachment to their country. Perhaps it is a way to seek acknowledgement from the rest of the world. Perhaps we feel that our country’s position and value in the world is not deserved and should be much higher, and all of us in our own ways try to change it.

At the IMA’s Tunisia exhibition, there was a wall where visitors were invited to share their feelings. Most messages were of encouragement, pride and hope; but I could read some odd ones such as “Algerie mon amour”, “je suis fiere de toi mon Algerie”, “MCA chnaoua” and “Vive USMH”.

You must have observed, this post and my reflection weren’t really elaborated. It’s because, in actual facts, I do not give a monkey of what the rest of the world thinks. Dezzou m3ahoum 🙂

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6 thoughts on “I am Algerian and I want to be acknowledged

  1. Our culture has been highjacked, they want to eradicate us from the Arab map, they dare call is French!! They dare say Morrocan Merguez, they claimed Cheb Khaled, they even claimed Bouteflika,Tindouf ….these might seem like silly examples but it’s the hearsay and the rumours that play a role in our invisibility!

    The comments you read such as Vive USMH lol is a clear message of what Algerians feel about this! We’re here whether you like it or not but we care so little about what YOU have to say! So VIVE Mouloudia

  2. Excellent article! I have been feeling extremely frustrated at the lack of knowledge Arabs and non Arabs have about Algeria- it’s genuinely unknown and there are too many stereotypes (You speak French not Arabic yh? err No…). Sad really but like you said we couldn’t give flying monkies 😀

  3. J’ai eu Ă  faire face Ă  une situation similaire, il y a plusieurs annĂ©es, lors d’un concours d’entrĂ©e en Ă©cole d’ingĂ©nieur en France, pour l’Ă©preuve orale de culture gĂ©nĂ©rale. Un examinateur me demanda si j’Ă©tais tunisien ou marocain, j’avais envie de lui rĂ©pondre que pour sa culture gĂ©nĂ©rale, entre ces deux pays, il y en avait un Ă©norme que seul un aveugle ou un inculte pouvait rater. Mais bon, je tenais quand mĂȘme Ă  rentrer dans cette Ă©cole alors je me la suis fermĂ©e.

    Ma soeur qui regarde des Ă©missions de cuisine sur le satellite m’a racontĂ© qu’une chaĂźne spĂ©cialisĂ©e fait le tour des pays du monde arabe pour montrer leurs spĂ©cialitĂ©s et leurs produits et jamais, cette Ă©mission n’Ă©voque ni ne met le pied en AlgĂ©rie. J’ai tendance Ă  penser, vu la gĂ©nĂ©ralitĂ© de l’opinion extĂ©rieure sur l’AlgĂ©rie, que, le tort vient quelque part de nous et de personne d’autre. Une image se construit de diverses maniĂšres et celle de l’AlgĂ©rie est dĂ©plorable lorsqu’elle n’est pas teintĂ©e d’indiffĂ©rence mĂȘme chez nos “frĂšres” arabes. L’idiotie qui a consistĂ©, par exemple, Ă  nĂ©gliger le tourisme trĂšs gros pourvoyeur d’emplois, a contribuĂ© grandement Ă  cette ignorance. Tout se ramĂšne au bout du compte au systĂšme politique algĂ©rien qui assĂšche complĂštement le pays et le rend sans intĂ©rĂȘt aussi bien pour ses citoyens que pour les Ă©trangers.
    RĂ©cemment, un collĂšgue de travail français, grand sportif voulait faire un trekking dans le dĂ©sert. Il s’est un peu renseignĂ© auprĂšs de connaisseurs qui lui ont dit que s’il voulait vraiment rencontrer la nature sauvage du dĂ©sert et pas un petit tour artificiel guidĂ© par une agence de tourisme tunisienne, il fallait qu’il aille en AlgĂ©rie. Il entreprend alors des dĂ©marches complexes, difficiles et chĂšres, un vrai trekking avant le trekking pour finalement se voir refuser le visa parce qu’il a le visa d’Israel (qu’il avait visitĂ© pour le tourisme) sur son passeport. Il a fini par aller en Tunisie.
    Personnellement, pour avoir visitĂ© les quatre coins de l’AlgĂ©rie, j’imagine mal des Ă©trangers s’accomoder en masse de nos “4 Ă©toiles” socialistes qui n’ont de 4 Ă©toiles que le prix.

    Un pays qu’on a du mal Ă  visiter est un pays ignorĂ©. C’est tout.

    La Tunisie, avec un patrimoine culturel, gĂ©ographique, historique et culinaire beaucoup plus modeste que celui de l’AlgĂ©rie, optimise ses possibilitĂ©s et se bĂątit une image attractive. MĂȘme Deglet nour de Tolga, l’unique, la meilleure au monde est moins connue et moins vendue que la datte de Tunisie…

    • QatKhal tu m’as rappele un truc. A l’oral de langue arabe (j’avais opte pour l’Arabe en langue etrangere pendant ma prepa), l’examinateur etait libanais et voyant que j’etais algerien il m’a demande de disserter sur l’excision et les droits de la femme, parcequ’il croyait qu’on la pratiquait en Algerie. Je lui ai alors explique que je ne me sentais pas concerne et que cela ne se pratiquait pas chez moi. On a du coup parle de tout et de rien et il m’a laisse filer.

      Mais sinon je suis d’accord. Beaucoup de gens pensent que la civilisation a fait un saut de Kairouan vers Fez sans passer par l’Algerie. Nous serions restes a l’etat sauvage…

      Pour le tourisme, des fois je crois vraiment que nos decideurs font expres… comme avec les autres sujets 3ala koulli hal.

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