It’s been almost two months now since Bouteflika has left Algeria, two months that the country lives without a president. There are contradictory rumours about his come back before July 5th, Algeria’s independence anniversary, or before the beginning of Ramadhan. Nothing is sure and it looks like the president has deserted the country.
Our friend eljin commented on a previous post here and said, “So what can ordinary people do? Flee the country or die hard.” And I feel this is what most of us did or try to do. I am not speaking of dying hard; it is fleeing – I prefer leaving but fleeing may be more accurate, the country that I am concerned with.
I left Algeria a long time ago. It was to pursue my studies but the fact is that I have settled abroad despite the tight links I have with my country and my people. Many Algerians did the same or dream of doing the same. This is not what I am going to speak about, our situation is clear, we’re away. My point is about those who are still in Algeria without being there.
The ruling category of our people has deserted the country. It lives in ghettos isolated from the rest of the population and its concerns, it works to achieve goals which are not always for the good of the country and it doesn’t seem to care about Algeria’s interests. I would be glad if this category does desert the country for real.
The problem is with the rest. I was reading this article about Cuban ophthalmologists who work in Algeria, in remote parts of Algeria more precisely. Places deserted by Algerian doctors who want to work in the North. But even in the North, Algerian doctors have deserted and stopped doing their job properly. Algeria’s health sector is a calamity, people needed to know someone to be taken care of, and now knowing somebody is not enough and the people have to empty their purse before they can be treated.
Teachers have also deserted. A teacher I know told me that during the last baccalaureate exams, the examination centre director asked all the teachers to let the pupils cheat. Speaking of Algeria’s education sector could take me a whole life so I’ll just link to some previous posts here. And let’s not get started about research.
Pupils have deserted as well. Studying is no longer a priority. They go to school and university for God knows what reasons but it is certainly not to learn.
Imams have deserted. They don’t seem to care any more about whether the people listen to them or not. Being an imam is now just a job. They come, lead the prayer, give their sermon and go back to whatever they do in their offices.
The intellectuals have deserted as well. These have deserted since such a long time that one feels they’ve never been in. One may doubt they ever existed. The new TV channel, Atlas TV, will apparently dedicate a program to our élite. I cannot wait, I am curious to know who they are and what they do.
I could go on mentioning all the professional categories. Just look at the products manufactured in Algeria and how bad most of them are. Nobody cares any more about their job or about doing it properly.
Algeria became a dirty country. Cleanliness has deserted it too. And in this case, the people did worse than just deserting, which may at best be qualified as a neutral position. They are having a negative role as they seem to do their best to win the prize for the dirtiest country in the world.
I remember an article where the journalist argued that using any outdoors space as a recycle bin is a way for Algerians to show that they deserted the country, that they left it to the rulers and couldn’t care less. The journalists said it’s the people’s way to show their resistance and defiance to the ruling powers.
I obviously disagree, but this reminded me of how the Algerian people reacted to the French occupation. I read somewhere that when Emir Abdelkader surrendered to the French he apparently said that it was time for the people to stop fighting and start surviving. I don’t know if this is true. Algerians didn’t stop fighting but their survival period had indeed started. They turned their back to the colonizer, ignored it and left what would have been a normal life. Some thought this was resilience, others said it was the way they resisted till they became able to do it differently in 1954.
If this theory is correct then I wonder when the people will stop their desertion and come back to life. I know some still resist in a positive way, some do work with conscientiousness, some would prefer to die than cheat or make use of corruption, some just try to give the best education to their children, etc. This means there is still hope but I am afraid this won’t be enough unless the rest, the deserters, decide to be active again, to work for their own, their people and their country’s well-being.
The longer this desertion lasts the more difficult it gets to recover.