Last month, the inhabitants of the city of Bejaia and most of its valley have been left without tap water. It appeared that the water was blocked by the people living near the Tichy Haf dam. These people wanted to complain about their village’s road’s poor state. The same dam was blocked in 2012 by another village because they wanted access to natural gas, stable electric power and… tap water.
And dams are not the only to be blocked in Bejaia. The RN9 (linking Bejaia with Setif) and RN26 (linking Bejaia with Bouira) roads are blocked every now and then. Blocking a road is so easy and safe: You want a school, you want democracy, you want to get rid of your mayor or neighbour, your girlfriend dumped you? Worry not, grab a wheel or two, a friend if possible and put them in the middle of the road. You don’t even have to burn them. And worry even less, the police and gendarmerie won’t bother you.
I don’t know if these people get their issues fixed by the authorities and I honestly doubt it. Ahmed Ouyahia, then Prime Minister, said once that the Algerian people knew the state was weak and fragile (it was during the so-called Arab Spring) and thought they had to block a road or take part in a riot and the state would grant them all their wishes.
This might have been true, but now, with what happens outside our borders and with everybody rioting every now and again, because the people of Bejaia are not alone (check this out), the authorities do not feel threatened any more and people can block all the roads they want… well not the roads in some special places, you get what I mean. The people can even burn themselves if they wish.
So basically we have unhappy people who complain and protest for whatever reason that interests them or their community/group and who are unable to unite with other protesters to make it effective. And while protesting, these people hurt themselves and their fellow Algerian citizens without even getting their issues fixed. So the whole thing is not only useless but it is counterproductive and… stupid.
I remembered Cipolla’s basic laws of human stupidity and the golden law which says that “a stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.” And this matches exactly the examples I gave above. It also matches many other examples such as the teachers’ or medical doctors’ strikes, the people throwing garbage in the street, the people who burnt Bejaia’s House of Culture a few months ago, the people who decided to keep Bouteflika “in charge”, the people who speak of the foreign hand, etc.
But Cipolla also states that every society, community or group has the same ratio of stupid people (the ratio being always underestimated) so our country has fallen and is unable to stand up (don’t believe the song) because the non-stupid ones do act in a stupid way.
Besides the stupid, Cipolla says a person could be either intelligent, a bandit or a helpless, with the latter two having an intelligent or a stupid flavour. It seems therefore that the number of intelligent Algerians who try to do something has decreased and most of the helpless (not sure they exist in the country) and the bandits (of which we have so many) are more often stupid than intelligent.
I wrote this post because I decided that, in order to keep the blog alive, I should post something before Aid El Adha (this Saturday) so it is not like I spent a lot of time preparing it. This is why I am going to finish it very quickly by stating this:
Cipolla’s book must be translated into Arabic/Tamazight/French and given free of charge to all literate Algerians. And every non-stupid Algerian would be requested to pre-analyse their actions and classify them on the below chart. Only the actions to the right of the POM line would be carried out and all those to the left of the same line would be abandoned.
This is a message to the good, the bad and the evil. Be what you need to be, be bandits if you feel like it but for the country’s sake, please be intelligent bandits.
I should have come up with this as my sole program action when I sought to be the country’s president.
Update: I just saw the article shared in this tweet and which speaks of another stupid and absurd roadblock.