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


Language, ideology and belonging, the Algerian paradigm III

This post comes a relatively long time after parts one (I) and two (II) of this series, but it is not going to be the last. So before I conclude on the topic in a fourth and perhaps last part, I thought it would be useful to share here a paragraph from Noureddine Boukrouh’s “Algeria between the bad (for the Pouvoir) and the worse (for the FIS)” book.

Boukrouh was the leader of the tiny Algerian renewal party (PRA), and I had some affinities with him, politically speaking. But then he joined the crowd and became the minister of small and medium enterprises under Ahmed Benbitour and the minister of trade under Ahmed Ouyahia. I don’t know if it was because, like many Algerians, he had hope in the newly elected 1999-Bouteflika, or because he became a “realist” like many of our politicians (“realist” here is opposed to “idealist” with the definitions Malek Bennabi gave to these two words in his “Mémoires d’un témoin du siècle” memoirs). I heard Boukrouh became an ambassador and then I don’t know what happened to him. If someone has some information, please do let me know.

Back to the topic. Continue reading

The universal weekend and decision making in Algeria

Today it has been exactly one year since Algeria has switched the weekend from Thursday-Friday to Friday-Saturday. So now we are like most of the Arab countries (to my knowledge only Tunisia and Morocco with Saturday-Sunday and KSA with Thursday-Friday are different).

Following our independence Algeria inherited, among many other things, the Saturday-Sunday weekend from the colonial era; and it was only in 1976 that Boumediene decided to switch to Thursday-Friday. I don’t know exactly why he did it, but I am guessing it was a way to affirm Algeria’s difference with the West. Algeria was then one of the Non-Aligned Movement‘s leaders and  such a symbolic decision had its meaning. I also think it was somewhat related to the oil crisis. Some say it was a concession he made to the Islamists inside the FLN. Anyway, I would be glad to find out about the real reasons so if anyone has an idea, please do share it.

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The ideological battle

Malek Bennabi

This is the title of a book written by Malek Bennabi, the most prominent Algerian thinker. In this book, he describes the subtle tools used by the colonisers (and others) to control and neutralise the “ideas”. He tells us, among other things, how the coloniser uses others’ hands to give the wrong perception (through several mechanisms) on the owner of the idea so that this very idea never makes it to the targeted audience or at least doesn’t have the expected and hoped for effect.

He uses his own case as an example. When he published the Arabic translation of his “the conditions of renaissance” book, many supposed nationalist press attacked the ideas conveyed by the book. This wasn’t enough, he was also targeted by a more subtle attack: Another important book “Al 3orwa al wuthqa” was published. This book gathered the articles of the reformer scholars Jamal Eddine El Afghani and Mohammed Abdou. And the person who prefaced the book mentioned Bennabi’s “Vocation of Islam” book and introduced him as ” a French man who lived in North Africa and converted to Islam”. This preface and the nationalist press attacks reflected a specific image of Bennabi and his book, which may have turned those who didn’t know him away from reading it and materializing the idea.
Bennabi admits that the author of the preface had good intentions and was only used by the coloniser, which made the process more effective.

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