A study day dedicated to the Algerian nuthatch (or Sitta ledanti or Sitelle kabyle) was organized a week ago by the AREA-ED. This news gives me the opportunity to mention this association and also to speak of this species which was discovered in October 1975 and is Algeria’s only endemic bird species. The Algerian nuthatch is unfortunately endangered with less than 2000 (1000 according to other sources) pairs. You may want to watch this related communication from the university of Bejaia (part 1, part 2, part 3). Continue reading
Tomorrow we will celebrate the 61st anniversary of the Algerian Revolution. I used to dedicate a post to this occasion with a link to a song or a poem. This time will be different as I am taking this opportunity to finish this book review draft and post it.
The Algerian Revolution was the final step taken by the Algerian people towards their independence. All the armed and peaceful resistance actions taken since the French invasion in 1830 paved the way for the glorious War of Independence. The resistance movement led by Emir Abdekader was a major episode even though it ended with the prince surrendering to the French who imprisoned him and his followers in France instead of sending him to today’s Turkey, Syria, Egypt or KSA as was agreed between the Emir and the Duke of Aumale. And this is where Amel Chaouati’s book comes in.
Many books have been and are written on Emir Abdelkader but only a few speak of his 97 followers (including 21 women and 15 children and babies) and I don’t remember reading any which relate the story of the women amongst them during his detention period in France (three months in Toulon, four in Pau and four long years in Amboise). Chaouati tried to tackle this aspect.
I admit I was more sceptical when I bought the 1500 DZD worth book than when I started reading this one. I wondered what the author would have to say knowing the scarcity of historical sources. And I was right, there was little material to fill the 204 pages of the book except that the author chose a different perspective.
Following the horrid murder of two children in Constantine earlier this month, there have been protests calling for the application of the death penalty in cases of proven murder. Many people felt very angry about the current situation wherein most criminals are released during the Presidential Grace period which occurs every year. Many Algerians now understand human rights as meaning criminal rights or the right of criminals to kill, assault and steal and get 5 star treatment, or indeed get away with it! This is because the human rights cabal always comes out in force whenever a monstrous crime like the one mentioned above shakes the public opinion and brings the application of the death penalty back onto the discussion table.
For information, Continue reading
Meeting with a book has sometimes to do with luck. Sometimes it is because you are at the airport with some foreign currency which you couldn’t spend even after you visited the restaurant, the café and the duty-free shops. And then you spot a book with a catchy title and the right price to empty your wallet. So you buy it and read it during the 12 hours-long flight. Then you decide to write a review because you have nothing more interesting to write about.
This is what happened to me and this book.
Well, not exactly. I decided to write this post because the book’s topic is essential in our present days where so many wars are said to be launched against Islam-ist groups and threat.
In “A world without Islam“, Graham Fueller tries to picture a world where Islam wouldn’t have existed and considers the current trends to find out whether they would have been different or not. Would there still be a war on terror, a clash of civilisations, hatred towards the US, etc. Continue reading
So the Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union “for [having] over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.” Wikipedia says the prize is worth US$1.2 million. I wonder if EU will give the money to Greece or Spain or… Goldman Sachs. Perhaps this prize will revive rating agencies’ faith in the EU and encourage them to stop lowering their ratings. L’espoir fait vivre… Continue reading
On the occasion of International Women’s Day of this year, I have chosen to speak about various ‘feminist’ movements in the Muslim world in general. Many Muslims do not like the term ‘feminism’. The easiest way to discredit a movement in the Muslim world is to link it to the secular West. It is amusing to observe how Muslims seem sometimes more inclined to sympathize with the ideas of the extremist Christian right than with secular movements. Not to say that the Christian right doesn’t have any acceptable ideas from an Islamic perspective, but just to highlight the tendency to distrust anything that is tagged as ‘liberal’, ‘secular’ or even ‘democratic’. This is perhaps why the Islamic feminist movement has had relatively Continue reading
Hamza Kashgari is a 23-year old Saudi poet and writer who has been involved in a big media frenzy after some tweets he’d published on the run-up to Mawlid. The tweets were an imaginary conversation, in Arabic, Kashgari was having with Prophet Mohamed (pbuh):
On your birthday, I will say that I have loved the rebel in you, that you’ve always been a source of inspiration to me, and that I do not like the halos of divinity around you. I shall not pray for you.
On your birthday, I find you wherever I turn. I will say that I have loved aspects of you, hated others, and could not understand many more.
On your birthday, I shall not bow to you. I shall not kiss your hand. Rather, I shall shake it as equals do, and smile at you as you smile at me. I shall speak to you as a friend, no more.
Hours after he published the tweets, Kashgari apologized and fled to Malaysia, en route to Continue reading
I am perhaps supposed/expected to write something about Egypt and congratulate its people for toppling their dictator, but I don’t feel this is time for celebrations/congratulations: Seeing the military clearly taking over the power doesn’t please me. I will therefore wait till a new constitution is voted and new legislative and presidential elections are held, and then perhaps I may congratulate the Egyptians for the great courage and determination they have shown.
The recent events in Tunisia and Egypt have shown us that the people’s determination and organisation is key when they want to free themselves. The events have also shown us once again the hypocrisy of the Western democracies.
I said in a previous post that I didn’t care whether France apologizes or not for the crimes it committed in Algeria. I haven’t changed my mind and it still gets on my nerves to hear the Algerian politicians’ calls for an apology. Only recently, Ennahda and the Moudjahidines’s organisation insisted again on passing the law criminalising French colonialism despite the clear message of the APN’s president.
What I said in the past and which I still call for is to have the French pay financial compensations for their crimes. This would include the victims of the nuclear tests in the Sahara but also the victims of the anti-personnel mines. And this is really important especially for the latter for we still get new victims of these dirty mines.
One of our American readers has sent me this piece which he wrote on the subject of the repatriation of Abdul Aziz Naji to Algeria after his detention in Guantanamo by the US under suspiscion of terrorism-linked activities. El Khabar has today published an article about Naji, where the latter recounts the horrors he has seen in Guantanamo and denounces it as a violation of human rights from the comfort of his home in Batna (click here for an English summary). Only last week, he was denouncing Algeria for its human rights abuses but this time from the discomfort of Guantanamo, still, he stated that he’d rather stay in Guantanamo than be sent back to Algeria for fear of torture.
Below, I am reproducing Jake’s article as was sent to me and it would be interesting to have a discussion around this issue and in particular, from an Algerian perspective:
On July 24, the New York Times posted an editorial about the forced repatriation of Abdul Aziz Naji that condemns both the United States and Algeria in the handling of former detainees, but from my point of view, as a young American interested in Algerian society and in international human rights, the Times didn’t go far enough in criticizing both nations.
The decision to send Naji back to Algeria represents a fundamental change in Continue reading