L’An 2000…


Readers of PoF might now know that I love traveling. Meeting with new people and cultures is something I am attached to. But the journey is as important as the destination. You could learn a lot in airports and planes, in trains and taxis

A few days ago I took the plane to a South-East Asian destination. As usual, for a few years now, I went with Algeria’s Air Algerie through its international hub in Algiers. The company hasn’t made it yet to the world’s Top10 airlines but everyone knows it is on the right track. The crew was as nice as ever (forget those horrible ones they had in 2012) and, willing to further improve their service, they asked us to answer their monthly survey. The passengers behaved well too, they no longer rush to the doors as soon as the plane lands.

While in the plane, I sat next to an Algerian handballer. The NT made it to the World Cup semi-finals and the sportsman was confident they’ll do better in the next edition. Understandable as he was among the Algerian juniors’ group who won so many international tournaments in the past years. The sustained training they received in Algeria since their young age won’t be vain. The ‘bricolage’ and luck are no longer the working standards in Algerian sports.

At Algiers airport, several passengers coming from various destinations and connecting to Africa and Asia decided to spend two or three days in the country. Specialized operators offer short visits to many touristic sites around Algiers, La Casbah, Riadh El Fath, Tipaza, Cherchel, etc. Even Algiers’ Big Mosque is now an attraction. I remember when former president B. decided to build it and how many were against it with silly arguments. Now the Mosque is an attraction for tourists but also researchers who come to its huge library and the many very rare books it acquired.

Among the passengers I met in Algiers was an Algerian observer. He came right away from Caracas. Hugo Chavez the Boss’s death caused a big turmoil in Venezuela. Having concentrated all powers in his hands left the country orphan and an easy prey to all its enemies after he had passed away. Today, with huge efforts of Algeria’s diplomacy, the country eventually organised a fair presidential election and the observer told me Venezuela’s new president will be as good and legitimate as ours. I believe Venezuela’s example was what caused change in the Algerian regime. So thank you Chavez…

I too decided to stay a little in Algeria to see my family. In the fast lane train from the airport to Central Algiers, I chatted with some businessmen. Most were there to discuss with Algeria’s economic champions. Cevital, split into two by the anti-trust administration, became two competing entities with highly estimated products. Haddad’s ETRHB is now the number one in Africa, and Chinese companies cannot even compete. The deal the army had made with Daimler Benz led to an important car industry in the country with a specialization in “sustainable cars”. French Renault couldn’t resist the 2008/2014 crisis and went bankrupt many years ago.
Sonatrach is still Algeria’s biggest company but its share in Algerian exports is around 42%. Also, 24% of the energy it produces is now from alternative (re)sources. The most surprising champion is probably KaPMG (Kada Potato Maaskar Group). It grew and became a global player in a very short time; even Canada’s buying Algeria’s potatoes…

These champions are associated with numerous start-ups in so many fields. These start-ups are incubated in Algerian universities for which more and more foreign students apply. Tlemcen and Constantine’s universities have been in the World Top30 for 3 years now, and Bejaia’s human sciences faculty is number one in Africa. Bless that great man who fired Benbouzid…

Getting off the train, a man asked me in a Lebanese accent how he could find El Barzakh Editions. He was this year’s favourite for Malek Haddad Prize (the one launched by Ahlam Mosteghanemi some decades ago), the most prestigious Arab literature prize; and El Barzakh published his work… Forgot to tell you that Algiers became as important as Beirut and Cairo for Arab literature, and Batna is the uncontested number one for translations from and to Arabic.

This blog is usually about politics so I guess I should mention our resolute and dedicated government. It’s a mere coincidence that I write this post today, almost on the same day the last of the Tab Jnanou government had been announced after those useless elections of May 10, 2012.
Today’s government is composed of smart and hard-working ministers. The PM is from Wargla and his minister of interior a Targui. Actually, people no longer think this way as regionalism is “fi khabar kan” since our first Kabyle president 20 years ago.

Things have improved so much that the population forgave all those Tab Jnanhoum people who prevented Algeria from going forward for so many years. We now face our past with intellectual honesty and serenity. We look before us and work in order to achieve our goal and the vision the leaders shared with us.

While speaking about facing the past, our Moroccan brethren ousted their monarch and finally admitted their green march was but another colonial move. Today serious discussions are ongoing in Oran between them and Western Sahara’s representatives. Perhaps the UMA will finally be revived and all the work achieved on the South/South axis would have a true meaning.

I am in South East Asia today. I flew on Lufthansa through its hub in Frankfurt. There I saw Algerians checking-in on Air Algerie’s flight to Algiers. They were shouting and looked unhappy. The usual… But I thought what if…

Many years ago, Hanane Elmez3ouqa had a chronicle on TV (Bouzenzel or Bled Music) during which she spoke of how she imagined year 2000. Needless to say none of her plans came true.

11 thoughts on “L’An 2000…

  1. Too good to be true, even in Fantasy world!! (provided no human genetic engineering took place in the meantime).

    Anyway, enjoy your trip!

    • wb My 2p. I know what you mean, but I am convinced these changes are not that difficult if we try a little harder…

      Thanks, am enjoying all but the food…

      • Thanks. I have been reading, don’t worry!
        We need a big revolution which requires a high level of maturity (which the Algerian perople have been programmed to lack), and even then everything would have to be rebuilt from scratch.

        Are there halal restaurants where you are?

        • If you’re right then we are doomed… It’s a shame nobody helps me in my rare moments of positivism.

          And no halal restaurants… Plus they use meat based dressings with almost every dish, including the vegetarian and fish ones…

  2. I can’t even try to help you…this is too much of a culture shock for my little brain to take in at once.

    PS: It’s almost a crime to use some of the words in one sentence (which you did)!

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