the face of a witch-hunt and physical attacks against their members, the Barakat
citizen's movement will not give up the call for peaceful democratic
transition, Karima Bennoune reports on the post-election challenges that lie ahead.
Caught between the dynamic of the Arab Springs and that of the destabilization of the Sahel, the Algerian trajectory remains profoundly uncertain. Since its stability is essential for Europe, the stakes of the April presidential elections are high.
Taking place sixty years since the Algerian revolution, today’s presidential elections presented the perfect occasion for the country to turn a new leaf after decades of mismanagement and stagnation. Instead, a litany of political and moral failures by the political class has turned a golden opportunity into a wasted one.
circles of power and their relationship to a complex society and
history are hard to grasp. Francis Ghilès describes his own route to
understanding the country in the post-independence era, when the heavy
legacy of the past mixed with the confident idealism of the present.
In the six weeks since
the citizens Barakat movement for a free and democratic Algeria was founded it
has moved from cyberspace onto the streets. The voices calling for democratic transition
are being heard. Pro-democracy activist Louiza Chennoub spoke to
government did not expect there would be such a vigilant civil society. They thought we were dead, but we were in convalescence". Ahead of next week's elections, Amira Bouraoui co-founder of the Barakat (Enough!) movement, told Karima Bennoune about the new citizens' movement to establish democracy in Algeria
President Bouteflika and his team broke
the people as a whole and Algerians as citizens. Mustapha Benfodil, founding member of the new Barakat ( Enough!)
Movement, spoke to Karima Bennoune about the awakening of the tradition of
activism and the search for consensual politics.
Kouidri Filali is a 35 year old civil servant and blogger who has chosen to campaign
with Barakat to « defend his country ». He estimates
that this time, the Algerian regime, trapped in its own “cocoon”, will not
survive the contestation: an interview.
honour of the determination of people like Algerian TV producer, Aziz Smati, who was shot exactly twenty years ago today, we must
support all those who wield song against suicide belt, and wage art against
fundamentalism, writes Karima Bennoune
hommage à la détermination de gens comme le producteur Algérien Aziz Smati, qui
était victime d’un attentat il y a exactement 20 ans, il nous faut soutenir
tous ceux qui opposent des chansons aux ceinture d’explosifs et luttent par l’art
contre l’intégrisme, écrit Karima Bennoune
The revolutionary left denounces Russell Brand, but the poor know he is right. His lack of a proper alternative doesn't hurt his analysis of what is wrong. People must realise how many skills are available on the street that should be used to replace the old, corrupt system.
How the two sides can find a workable arrangement that doesn’t look like a climb-down by either party remains to be seen, but as things stand, the ingredients for further escalation are all too present.
and secular voices in Muslim majority countries have too often been sacrificed
by the left in the west in the name of anti-imperialism and identity politics.
The authoritarian movements of the far right, which democrats of the South
oppose, must be recognized for what they are, Karima Bennoune tells Deniz Kandiyoti.
Tunisia’s second high-profile political assassination
highlights the gravest shortcoming of the nascent Islamist
government: the inability to contain the violence that increasingly threatens
Tunisia’s fragile transition - a
violence set to divide loyalties and destroy social cohesion, foreclosing any
prospects of a viable democracy or a stable society.
In the weeks after the 1991 elections, official Algerian
rhetoric too was replete with appeals to the popular will and the promises of a
swift and total return to democracy. Promises that, two decades on, have yet to
For all its problems, Algeria never became an Islamic state. Like Algerian progressives in the 1990s,
Egyptian progressives now have to carve out the space to construct a credible
alternative under the shield of the new transitional process, and
simultaneously challenge the military’s human rights abuses
While there are too many differences between the two
historical contexts for us to panic, the parallels are too numerous to ignore. An excerpt from the longer version of this article – for which, see here.
year marks the twentieth anniversary of the Algerian jihadists war on
culture. Those who waged the
intellectual struggle against fundamentalism in Algeria throughout the 1990s
received little support internationally. Karima Bennoune pays tribute to those
who fell in the culturicide, and warns of the urgent need to remember
Cette année marque le vingtième anniversaire de la guerre menée par des
djihadistes algériens contre la culture. Karima Bennoune rend hommage à ceux qui sont
tombés dans ce culturicide et appelle à l’urgente la nécessité de ne pas les
Fundamentalist mass murder of Algerian people of letters in the
1990s was an intellectocide, in the tradition of totalitarian culture
wars. Today, official limits on expression benefit fundamentalist ideas.
This is the second death of Algerian intellectuals, says Mustapha Benfodil