By French decree Algeria has known conspicuous cruelty. Its former masters had no mercy. Even when Algerians found refuge in their caves, the French had sabotaged these petty envelopes of safety by suffocating them with fire and smoke. Today, the streets of major cities go up in flames as Algeria fights against new power, this time their own people, who are supposed to have their best interest.
Algeria never succumbed to France.. until after independence. Many have kneeled to an inferiority complex that merits its own jihad to fight against. French colonialism was the confiscation of property, and psychologically, of person. Today, those in power have also exploited land, its fruits reserved for their circles, and by such have made national dignity a rather unrealizable virtue. It is curious how we have shed blood to remove our enemies, only to become each other’s.
Under colonialism, grapevines replaced grain fields in a place where hunger chronically haunted the colonized. By 1940, 400,000 hectares were devoted to wine production. Viticulture symbolized the severity of colonialism. The physical transformation of the land was a cultural affront given the country’s Islamic character. In Algeria today, our leaders are these grapevines. To leave their own people merely surviving in the vicissitudes of poor conditions, to appropriate the land’s resources for exclusionary wealth, we question if they fear God. The Algerian is starving for justice. But he must also be just too, in his own pocket of existence.
Algerians who protest every Friday have put an end to invisibility, but there are also issues of building upon a traditional corpus in regards to identity, making it authentic and respectably plural. There remains a population who identify with values propagated by an expired French imperial entreprise, masked by a certain nationalism. However beyond this, we are lacking in the basic tenants of quality life. Education, infrastructure, clean public spaces, the plethora of facilities that are essential or recreational, and from there preservation of historical sites, promotion of regional cultures.
French colonialism in Algeria was certainly injurious, but its indifference made it particularly oppressive. Today, rulers are indifferent in their neglect and disingenuous in their attentiveness. It is embarrassing to ride on the back of nationalism while providing citizens little to be materially and environmentally content with. We wait for pleas, the right pleas, to be heard.