Whose side to choose? I cannot decide. I have thought about it for several weeks now and still couldn’t make my mind and this is why I have decided to share my dilemma with you dear readers and seek your advice. You may not be familiar with them but don’t worry, I’ve done my homework for you.
Who they are
Kenza Morsli and Souhila Ben Lechheb are two Algerian women who took part in some Arab reality TV singing competition. I don’t know if either has won (I hate homework). I first heard of the two girls some months (years?) ago. I visited the Algerian arabophone twittosphere and it seemed like 90% of it was dedicated to them. Tweeples were fans and groupies and formed what they called Kenza’s army and Souhila’s army. I even received some angry and insulting tweets when I dared tease them about their two stars. Members of the Algerian francophone/anglophone twittosphere mock these armies and believe they are very shallow. But they seldom point to the shallowness of the many Algerian francophone/anglophone tweeples who are beliebers or live-tweet every other French TV show and even French football games (La ligue 1 for God sake!) This Algerocentric blogger only likes Algerian TV’s show “alhan wa chabab” and liked this song by Celia Ould Mohand, 2016’s winner. But I digress, I may come back to this topic in the future.
- Their looks: I have only seen their faces heavily loaded with makeup so I can’t tell; but I confess Souhila’s picture frightens me, as if she had some mental instability.
- Their first names: Kenza reminds me of an old Algerian show, and Souhila reminds me of an old Algerian song.
- Their last names: Morsli reminds of Algerian champion Noureddine Morceli. Ben Lechheb doesn’t ring a bell.
- Their art: hmm, I didn’t listen to any of their songs 😦
Ok, you should by now have understood that I don’t give a flying monkey about the two women. I am not even sure they are competing and their armies at war. Perhaps they are friends and allies and their armies are already waging an attack on the poor Celia… unless she’s their friend too!
But I decided to play at choosing sides here rather than doing it within Algeria’s political scene.
I’ll try to make it short so bear with me and forgive some shortcuts.
Algeria’s former energy minister resigned and fled the country after his name was mentioned in an Italian investigation of a corruption case between Italian Eni/Saipem and Algerian Sonatrach/officials. This investigation kind of forced the Algerian authorities to investigate and issue an arrest warrant against Khelil. Many people have been jailed but the former minister was already in the United States (rumours say he’s a US citizen). The press, among which Ennahar TV and newspaper, were very tough on the man.
Now that the Bouteflikas have dismantled the DRS and sacked everybody involved in investigating this case, Khelil is back in Algeria and is visiting zawiyas all over the country and claiming that he’s innocent, that the DRS framed him, that he’s ready to serve the country, that oil price will increase again, etc. The same Ennahar TV and newspaper switched sides and are now Khelil’s most active supporters and tries to convince the people that the man is an angel and may be Algeria’s saviour.
On the other hand, Algerian businessman Issad Rebrab decided to acquire Algerian media group Elkhabar (he already owns Liberte newspaper). Communication minister decided this acquisition is illegal and asked the justice to look into it. Ennahar newspaper reported that Rebrab’s name appeared in the Panama Papers before removing their article and apologizing to the man (because he’s an old man according to Ennahar’s owner). But Rebrab didn’t like it and withdrew all the advertising he was doing on Ennahar, to which the media reacted by a campaign against the man, not old enough to be spared this, where he’s accused of working with the DRS, organizing the 2011 riots, financing the terrorists in the 90s, etc. Rebrab replied through his current and future newspapers Liberte and Elkhabar, and the war is still ongoing. And besides the Elkhabar case, Bouchouareb, the industry minister excluded Rebrab from this week’s Algeria-UK Investment Forum.
Rebrab joined Twitter recently and is (has always) tried to picture himself as self-made man who achieved that much despite the Pouvoir’s animosity. His biography written by Taieb Hafsi was very positive too and Hafsi said he was fair (despite him being hired by Rebrab to train his children on management).
What to make of it?
Many say this is a war between Bouteflika’s clan and the former DRS clan. Others such as Algerian journalist Abed Charef say these clans no longer exist and other forces are fighting. And all are using dirty weapons as illustrated in Le Hic’s cartoon below.
Understanding this should be enough for the people but it seems many somehow missed it. One can see people, your average Joe and Jane, engaging online and defending theses as silly as “Rebrab is an honest man” or “Khelil is an honest man” and doing it with such power and energy and… blindness reaching the point of mentioning Ennahar TV and newspapers as valid sources. These average Joe and Jane are really amazing and leave me with an… awful feeling.
In 2011, I wrote a post about the protests and back then the Bouteflikas and the DRS were objectively allies against the protesters, or so it seemed. And I said that the whole game was boring because the Pouvoir is the worst thing that has happened to Algeria and the opposition is not genuine for many of its members have been part of this Pouvoir, until very recently for some. And the other opposition is equally useless because it doesn’t know what it wants and how to achieve it, not to mention its unquestionable certitudes (Barakat’s member I mentioned there blocked me right away on Twitter).
Today, we get information about the Panama Papers from media which are neither controlled by the Bouteflikas nor the DRS and Khelil’s wife name, Rebrab’s name, Bouchouareb’s name, Sellal’s daughter’s name are all mentioned and should have to explain themselves if only we had an independent judicial system.
This is what I take from the whole story. For everything else, a friend’s aunt used to say one shouldn’t involve themselves in a dispute within a couple. I suggest the Algerian people do follow this wise advice and pray the couple divorces and the spouses fade away very far from us.
But before following this advice, you readers still have to reply to the poll. Thank you.