It is so hard to look South!


Click to visit his Twitter account

I mentioned in my previous post the accounts followed by Algeria’s minister of communication on Twitter and noted that they were telling on where his interests lie. This time I am going to dedicate the whole post to this topic using a newcomer on Twitter, our Minister of Maghrebi affairs, the African Union and the Arab League, Mr. Abdelkader Messahel.

The minister joined Twitter three days ago, and as I write this text he tweeted six times and follows 43 accounts. I expect (and hope) the situation to change in the near future but this post will still be valid as the 43 accounts are the first that he followed.

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Book review: Memoirs of an #Algerian II (2/2)

About Boumediene, Alistair Horne wrote in his “A savage war of peace: Algeria 1954-1962” book “in his secretiveness and retiring modesty [Boumediene] is most characteristically Algerian”. He added “in his rare interviews with writers and journalists [Boumediene] steadfastly declines to discuss the war, or his role in it”. We indeed do not know much about Algeria’s most important president’s role during the war. His real national appearance during the revolution was when he presided the jury that condemned the colonels (Lamouri and co.) who, encouraged by Nasser, had planned to kill the three Bs (Belkcem, Boussouf and Bentobal) and overthrow the GPRA. But we know little of Boumediene’s life when he was working with Boussouf.

Boumediene visiting Ifri

We do not know much either about Boumediene’s life after Algeria’s independence. Taleb‘s book helps shed some light on the 1965 to 1978 period. I’ve already written about the first two parts of Volume II. Today I write some words on the third part of this book. Continue reading

Algeria pardons Sao Tome and Principe debt

Elkhabar reported today that Algeria has decided to pardon São Tomé and Príncipe debt of US$3million. São Tomé and Príncipe, a former Portuguese colony, has signed its independence agreement in Algiers in November 1974. And Algeria had helped it by building the only re-transmission centre of the archipelago, and also by training its students in Algerian universities. São Tomé is a poor country with an economy based on the declining commerce of cocoa and with debts exceeding US$280million, but its situation should improve in the next years as many oil discoveries have been made in its territorial waters.

I decided to share this information because I feel Algeria doesn’t publicise its aid activities. For example, the figures of the Algerian donations to the Palestinians (PA, PLO and the people) through and outside the Arab League are only made public (for the bad reasons) during crises such as the one which opposed us to Egypt. Likewise, we heard little of the Algerian aid to Haiti after last January’s earthquake.

This observation is actually true for most Arab and Muslim countries. Always on Haiti, mainstream media made it look like only the West had helped whereas many Muslim countries made important donations as can be seen here and here. These states should probably do something and improve their communication.

BTW, Haiti does still need help. Like with everything, modest but continuous help is better than a peak followed by a memory loss.

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The 14th ordinary session of the assembly of the African Union which took place between 25/01 and 02/02 in Addis Ababa reminded me of the interesting positions of the Arab states leaders in the African rulers longevity ranking.

We can indeed find three of them in the top 10 with Libyan Muammar Gaddafi (1st), Egyptian Hosni Mubarak and Tunisian Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. And if we consider the Algerian ruling system specificity (same people behind a changeable president) and the Moroccan monarchy (with different kings) we can safely add them to this top 10 list.

These regimes are still in power despite the will and hopes of their populations, and the means they use to stay in charge have little to do with democracy. But for some reason, these rulers always seek legitimacy arguments. I bet it is because they feel for their peoples and want to ease the pain their presence created and nourishes. And by providing such ingredients to the populations, they help them feel better and happily accept to follow these leaders they never chose. Such arguments could even have the surprising effect of turning parts of the populations into genuine supporters of these leaders.

Therefore, I decided to organise a sort of contest of the best legitimacy arguments. I must warn you though, I don’t know much about the internal affairs of most of these states, so it’s not advised to take the results too seriously. Continue reading