A majority of Algerians is glad that the country didn’t experience anything remotely close to the so-called Arab Revolution, despite some attempts here and there. Many, under the influence of the Wantoutrism effect, even take pride in having
escaped countered the global conspiration against us.
But saying so means the country is in deep stagnation, or stability as the Algerian rulers would call it. You’d say stagnation – sorry, repeat after me, stability, stability, stability is better than violence and unrest and you wouldn’t be wrong but I still hate to think that we’re stuck and nothing is moving forward in Algeria. Also, I felt a bit jealous of all these countries that had their colour revolutions, tulips revolution, Jasmin revolution, umbrella revolution, etc. with symbolic places such as Tahrir or Maidan. So I looked again and guess what? Algeria has had its revolution too, the Ticket Revolution.
The Ticket Revolution ran through a long and peaceful process. It started a few years ago in some banks then spread to private mobile operators and now it even reached Algeria Telecom, the Algerian post, Air Algerie and several public services and administrations such as the electricity and gas company, the water distribution company and… the city hall. Yes my friends the waiting ticket is now in use in Algerian city halls!
I understand your surprise. This is the problem with gradual revolutions; the media don’t speak about them and some MENA region experts (and I am not speaking of the ones who follow some local people on Twitter and think they know the MENA region) would even refuse to call them revolutions. But those among you who know what queueing in Algeria means cannot but agree this is a one hell of a revolution. How could you deny it when its impact goes very deep in all political, social and cultural aspects!
Another drawback with gradual revolutions is that you do not realise the change, the new world, the revolution created. And this is what happened to me until I paid a visit to the Algerian consulate a few days ago. My biometric passport is not ready yet (it’s been three months) and I had therefore to renew the old one so that I could travel… And as the Ticket Revolution hasn’t reached this consulate yet, I had to be there at around 6 in the morning (finding already a minimum of 40 people before me) and could submit my application at 10am because we had no waiting numbers and people kept jumping the queue and the consulate agents did process files of people who weren’t even there…
This visit was some sort of Back To The Future with a return in the past and made me realise the awesomeness of the post-revolution world.
The Ticket Revolution has of course its enemies, the old system and its satellites/clients. As you have seen, places such as my consulate still resist. And even in places where the Revolution has succeeded (can we be sure?) you would find people who pretend they didn’t see the ticket machine. Others would try to take a single ticket for a bunch of people. I have even see some people answering when it’s not their numbers that are called. Some agents still do as in before the revolution and deal with their ticket-less acquaintances before those clients with waiting tickets. Sometimes, the ticket machine is empty and the new world just falls apart.
So the Ticket Revolution’s success is not definitive. It requires everybody’s vigilance. The people must be responsible and should not allow the new rules to be broken. Also, the agents must always ask the clients to show their tickets before taking care of their business. And most importantly, the ticket machine must always have tickets.
Before I finish, a few words about the claim some enemies of the Revolution make about it being supported by the foreign hand. The ticket machine is indeed a foreign invention but this doesn’t mean the Ticket Revolution is foreign too. We have taken our time before deciding to use the waiting tickets and you can look everywhere, you won’t find Optor’s fist anywhere close to any ticket machine.
In five days, Algeria will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the 1st November 1954 Revolution. It was another hell of a revolution that brought a dramatic change to the people’s lives. Unfortunately, the effort, goals and results have all followed the wrong path since that Revolution ended. The Ticket Revolution is but an attempt to turn things into the right direction.
So hail the Ticket Revolution and all the small and big revolutions that
must will follow.