Links: Week22’16

algerian_nuthatchA 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


Je Suis Mnarvie

This text is a contribution by an Algerian friend of PoF who kindly agreed to share some of her thoughts around today’s (and yesterday’s) preferred targets when feminism is projected on Muslim women and societies.
Happy reading!

Oui vous avez bien lu, il y a effectivement un E à Mnarvi.

Je vous rassure tout de suite, c’est ponctuel. Le temps d’un post seulement.

Merci à Mnarvi, le vrai, pour l’invitation 🙂

Avec tous ces : Je Suis Ceci, Je Suis Cela, j’avais moi aussi envie d’être quelque chose. Comme tout le monde. De créer un #hashtag. D’être solidaire avec Mnarvi pourquoi pas ? Il y a tellement de choses qui se passent et qui sont causes d’énervement… Et comme je suis une femme : pas question de m’énerver sans un E ! Il parait d’ailleurs que l’une des grandes victoires du féminisme est celle d’avoir obtenu la féminisation du langage. Comme d’avoir ajouté un E à “écrivain” par exemple, ou bien à “auteur”. Dérisoire ? Et pourtant c’est bien une victoire pour certaines. Nous parlons du français, parce qu’en arabe il y a bien longtemps que le problème est résolu. Le Ta Marboutta est là pour ça ة . Oui, j’aurais pu écrire Je Suis Mnarvia et Continue reading

Book Review: Les Algériennes du château d’Amboise

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.

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Algerian Revolution 58th Anniversary

I am not sharing a video this time. Instead I post the below, my own composition 🙂
I hope you like limericks.

Our president’s name is Abdekka
His best friend is the prince of QA
He’s the village hero
Coz he beat the terro
And he took us to South-Africa Continue reading

Book Review: Chants de Guerre des Femmes Kabyles

Unwritten languages face many threats. They could of course disappear, and when they have people trying to save them, as it is the case with Kabyle, they still face the threat of losing all or part of the cultural patrimony they carry.

Some Kabyles nowadays speak in French or Algerian dardja, and many do speak Kabyle but mixed with so many Arabic or French words that you wouldn’t recognise it. Several Kabyle words are therefore not used any more.

But it is not just words that disappear. Poems and proverbs tend to be forgotten as well. A great-aunt of mine, aged 103, lost her 16 yo and 18 yo sons who died as martyrs in the early days of the Algerian Revolution. I think she never recovered from her loss and she used to sing many poems dedicated to them and to the war in general. Unfortunately nobody did learn or record them, and they will probably disappear the time she will leave us. Continue reading

Book review: The sword and the cross

I started this post almost a year ago and then forgot about it, and I remembered it only these days after reading the discussion that is going on here mainly between Oumelkheir and QatKhal. It is not 100% related but never mind, I just used it as an excuse to finish the post (write the last three lines) and publish it.

The sword and the cross

The relationship between religion and politics has always been very tight, and religious men have used politics as much as politicians have used religion to settle their power. Politicians do indeed need an ideology to support them and, while some have used “non-spiritual” ideologies such as secularism or communism, many others used existing religions or even created new ones to back-up their political systems.
Religion was also used to justify wars and gather and motivate the soldiers. Regardless of their real background, many wars were waged with mixed temporal and spiritual aspects.

I used the past tense here but I could have used present and my assertions would have remained as correct. And today as yesterday, religion is a central point in every conflict (armed or not), especially when a Muslim entity is involved.

Algeria’s recent history gives us many examples where conflicts were backed-up by different religions. Continue reading

The 56th anniversary of the Algerian Revolution

Louis-Philippe cynically declared in 1835, “What difference does it make if a 100,000 rifles fire in Africa. Europe doesn’t hear them”. What a mistake he had made!
56 years ago, a handful of young Algerian militants of the PPA/MTLD decided that it was time to put an end to the French presence in Algeria and break-up the war. They did make not only Europe but the whole world hear Algeria’s voice. Many say Continue reading

French anti-personnel mines, another positive outcome of colonialism

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.

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Book review: The Mirror

Le Miroir

There are a number of  books dealing with the Regency of Algiers and giving details on its socio-economic, architectural, military and/or political aspects. But many of them use the information provided by Diego de Haedo in his “Topography and General History of Algiers” (published in 1612) and “History of the Kings of Algiers“. Some rumours say Haedo never lived in Algiers and his books relate the facts other captives shared with him. But regardless, the book gives valuable information even though Christian Haedo displays a certain disdain of the Muslim inhabitants of the Regency.

Haedo’s books, obviously, don’t cover the time period close to the French invasion of Algeria.  And this is what makes Hamdan Khodja‘s “Le Miroir” interesting. There are of course other works relating the events around the French invasion but “Le Miroir” is noteworthy because it was the first book written by an Algerian following the French occupation.

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The French will not apologize. So what?

In a recent program on AlJazeera, Algerian Djahid Younsi (from El-Islah party) and Libyan Elhadi Chellouf (a martyr’s son) debated over the “Why do Arabs request an apology? And are Arab rulers not worse than the colonisers?” question. As often with AlQasim’s programs, the debate led nowhere. Chellouf said that the colonisation was great and he would be happy to sit in a French or Italian tank were they to invade the Arab countries again. He added that the Arab populations should rather request an apology from their rulers instead of targeting the gentle and kind colonisers. On the other hand, Younsi admitted that the Arab rulers are the worst ever, but he said they should be faced on the political field. And this situation shouldn’t prevent the people from requesting the rightful apology for the confirmed colonisation crimes.

A poll organized by the TV channel showed that 68% of the Arabs think the colonisers were fairer to the population than today’s Arab rulers.

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