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Algeria

New Texts Out Now: Jacob Mundy, Imaginative Geographies of Algerian Violence: Conflict Science, Conflict Management, Antipolitics

[Cover of Jacob Mundy,

Jacob Mundy, Imaginative Geographies of Algerian Violence: Conflict Science, Conflict Management, Antipolitics. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Jacob Mundy (JM): At first, I wanted to write a book about the unanswered questions surrounding the violence in 1990s Algeria, particularly the extraordinary massacres of late 1997 and early 1998. The typical question asked in response to those atrocities, even today, is: “Who killed who?” That is, who conducted the massacres? Islamsits? The state? Private actors? Some combination of these? These questions persist into the present, and I now agree with Hugh Roberts that ...

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Kamel Daoud: Sexual Demonization and the Secularist Select

(Y. Gastaut,

In a controversial NYT op-ed, the Algerian journalist and prize-winning author Kamel Daoud weighed in on the infamous events of last New Year’s Eve in Cologne, Germany. He wrote of the sexual harassment and rape authored by Muslim migrants and refugees as symptoms of a “sick” relationship with sex and women in general, and that this “disease” was now spreading to Western lands. This spectacular episode of sexual violence had managed to turn what had been general sympathy for refugees fleeing terrorism into anger, fear, and hatred. A large group of men had congregated at Cologne’s central train station before breaking off into smaller groups to commit robberies and sexual ...

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The Fantasies of Kamel Daoud

[Screenshot from France Inter interview with Kamel Daoud. Image from Youtube]

[This collective letter, translated by Muriam Haleh Davis, was originally a response to Kamel Daoud’s piece, “Cologne, lieu de fantasmes,” in which he purports to analyze the allegations of sexual violence committed by refugees in Germany that occurred on New Year’s Eve. Both articles – Daoud’s piece and the collective response – appeared in the French newspaper Le Monde on the 31 January and 11 February, respectively. Subsequent to their publication, German investigations have shown that most of the perpetrators were neither refugees nor new arrivals in Europe. Moreover, given Daoud’s piece in the New York Times this past Friday, entitled “The Sexual Misery of the Arab ...

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الأنثروبولوجيا والتراث الشعبي في الجزائر: تاريخ ومسارات

[مقطع من لوحة للفنان التشكيلي الجزائري تبرحة نورالين]

اقترن الحديث عن الأنثروبولوجيا والتراث الشعبي في الجزائر في بداية الاستقلال، وبصورة رهيبة، بأسئلة جريحة وصعبة وخطيرة، كادت أن تعصف بالكيان العلمي والمعرفي للأنثروبولوجيا نفسها كعلم أصيل وعريق، وبالتراث الشعبي الذي ظل موضوع مراهنات غير مسؤولة وغير علمية ظلت تلاحقه مدة من الزمن... فإن نحن سمحنا لأنفسنا بالاختصار نقول إن الأنثروبولوجيا قد ارتبطت في المخيال المعرفي الرسمي الجزائري ما بعد الاستقلال بأنها علم استعماري بامتياز، سخّرته المنظومة الكولونيالية الفرنسية منذ أول عهدها بالجزائر، وما قبل هذه المرحلة بقليل، من أجل استعمار البلاد حيث دفعت لهذه المهمة بعدد من الإداريين ورجال الدين ورجال الجيش، وكذا بعض الانثروبولوجيين والاثنولوجيين والاثنوغرافيين، من أجل دراسة المجتمع ...

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A Moveable Feast? Reflections on the French Coverage of the Paris Attacks

[Image of the Eiffel Tower illuminated with the Tricolor following the Paris attacks. Image by Passion Leica/Flickr]

Writing on the relationship between acts of terror and the mystification of liberalism in 1947, Maurice Merleau-Ponty wrote that, “cunning, violence, propaganda, and realpolitik” appeared “in the guise of liberal principles” and were “the substance of foreign or colonial politics, and even of domestic politics.” [1] He was not writing about religious fanatics, but he was rather concerned with another specter that once faced Europe: Communism. Unlike the Cold War, if France is indeed “at war,” one is at a loss to characterize what kind of war it is, or against whom it will be fought. Perhaps we are in what Jean Baudrillard categorized as a “Fourth World War,” in which the ...

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De-dramatizing Algerian Politics

[Image of a map of Algeria. Image from Wikimedia Commons]

Three weeks ago, Algeria’s long term Military Intelligence Agency (DRS) Chief, known as, “The God of Algeria,” was removed from his position. Coverage in the Western press has been emblematic of broader media trends. When it comes to reporting on Algeria, analysis is often superficial or framed by dominant narratives. These narratives, while originating from Algerian elites, find resonance with Western stereotypes of Arab politics as defined by a Manichean struggle between authoritarianism and democracy. Rather than addressing underlying social, economic and political issues, power struggles are over-simplified and depicted in a dramatic fashion.  Some versions of ...

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The Changing Nature of the Algerian Political System and the Illusion of a Civilian Regime

[Image of the Martyrs Monument at the Central Military Museum in Algiers, Algeria. Image by US Army Africa/Flickr]

Since 2011 Algeria has recorded a series of important political changes, despite its reputation as one of the most immobile countries in a region marked by instability and turmoil. This evolution in the nature of Algeria's regime has gone largely unnoticed on the international media, while domestically the authorities have been able to craft a narrative centered around the idea of a transition from a military-backed system to a civilian regime. In this powerful narrative (all the more powerful due to the lack of any effective counternarrative), President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is the bold architect of this reform: his rise to the presidency has marked the end of ...

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Maghreb Media Roundup (July 22)

[Image of Tamezret, a village in Tunisia. Image by Dennis Jarvis/Flickr]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Maghreb and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Maghreb Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to maghreb@jadaliyya.com by Tuesday night of every week] Algeria  A (Silicon) Valley Grows in Algeria Elizabeth Nicholas interviews several entrepreneurs on the difficulties of startups and the tech industry in Algeria.  Le chanteur de raï algérien Cheb Mami et la société d'édition EMI condamnés à 200.000 euros pour plagiat French courts ordered Algerian singer Cheb Mami to pay author Mr. ...

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A Dangerous Dualism: The Myth of Two Algerias

[Image of a square in Wahrane. Image by Maya-Anaïs Yataghène/Flickr]

In his last column for the magazine Rupture, the writer and journalist Tahar Djaout introduced his dichotomy of an Algeria divided between “the family that advances and the family that regresses” (“la famille qui avance et la famille qui recule”). This was in May 1993, just before his assassination. The dualist representation expressed in this phrase puts those who advance modernity in opposition to those who defend authenticity. In the Algeria of 2015, this problematic dichotomy is still relevant and is expressed in various forms, despite the end of the civil war and the considerable social fragmentation that history has bequeathed. Take, for example, the notion that ...

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Planning Beirut during the French Mandate: The Construction of a Modern City and its Legacy

Marlène Ghorayeb, Beyrouth sous mandat français, construction d’une ville moderne. Paris: Karthala, 2014.   This is a wonderful addition to our knowledge of Beirut’s early days of modern planning, during the transition from Late Ottoman to French Mandate, and later. In the lineage of Jens Hanssen’s Fin de Siècle Beirut, Eric Verdeil’s Beyrouth et ses urbanistes, Carla Eddé’s Naissance d’une capitale, and Robert Saliba’s Beyrouth architectures: Aux sources de la modernité, the book is a must-read for those interested in the key spatial transformations of Beirut during the first part of the twentieth century. It nicely complements and enriches earlier texts by ...

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New Texts Out Now: Hamza Hamouchene and Mika Minio-Paluello, The Coming Revolution in North Africa: The Struggle for Climate Justice

[Cover of

Hamza Hamouchene and Mika Minio-Paluello, editors, The Coming Revolution in North Africa: The Struggle for Climate Justice. Platform (London), Rosa Luxemburg Foundation (North Africa), and Environmental Justice North Africa (EJNA), 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this book? Hamza Hamouchene and Mika Minio-Paluello (HH & MM-P): The idea was both to highlight the violence of climate change in North Africa, and the need for an indigenous response. We wanted to point out that survival relies on structural change, and on facing the challenge of talking about climate justice in Arabic. Climate change is already a reality in North Africa. People are dying ...

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Illicit Sex in Ottoman and French Algeria: An Interview with Aurelie Perrier

[Postcard depicting street of Ouled Nails, Biskra. Image via Ottoman History Podcast.]

The association of the Arab world with Western sexual fantasy figured prominently in the artwork and literature that was critiqued so famously by Edward Said in Orientalism. Yet beyond the fantasies embedded in Delacroix’s paintings of odalisques, what did sex actually mean in nineteenth-century Algeria? In Ottoman History Podcast #188, Aurelie Perrier begins to answer this question. Building on the groundbreaking work of scholars like Malek Alloula and Christelle Taraud, her research explores the nature of illicit sex in nineteenth-century Algeria under both Ottoman and French rule. Perrier situates the topic in the fluid boundaries of Ottoman-administered sex ...

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الإرث الفكري لفرانز فانون

تُوُفّيَ فرانز فانون قبل أشهر قليلة من استقلال الجزائر في شهر يوليو عام 1962، ولم يعش ليرى بنفسه تحرر بلده بالتبني من الهيمنة الاستعمارية الفرنسية، وهو شيء كان يعتقد أنه أصبح أمرًا حتميًا. وكان هذا المفكر الراديكالي والثوري قد كرّس نفسه وجسده وروحه للتحرر الوطني الجزائري، وكان يُعَدّ مرآة من خلالها فهِم عدد كبير من الثوريين الموجودين في الخارج الجزائر ، وأحد الأسباب التي ساهمت في أن تصبح البلاد مرادفًا لثورات العالم الثالث. وبفضل ثِقَل نضالها في الماضي القريب، وعلى وجه الخصوص نضالها الطويل لنيل ...

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التعليم العالي في الجزائر: قراءة في ثنايا نظام الأل أم دي

لا يزال اكتشاف المعارف الجديدة و نشرها وتفعيلها في المجتمع الإنساني في طليعة ما يدفع بعجلة التنمية نحو الأمام، و يظل التفكير المنهجي، الناقد والمبدع مفتاح نجاح هذه الأنشطة. و من الواضح اليوم أن مؤسسات التعليم العالي قد اكتسبت وكادت أن تنفرد تماما بذلك الدور الحيوي الذي يكمن في تكوين ورعاية مثل هذا النوع من التفكير. أما في بلد كالجزائر، حيث تُقوَّض استقلالية مؤسسات التعليم العالي عبر سياسات مركزية، لا بد أن تقع مسؤولية الرعاية تلك على عاتق سياسات الحكومة في إدارة و تسيير التعليم العالي. فما هي إذن وضعية ...

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La question du patrimoine en Algérie

Dès les débuts de la décennie 2000, le patrimoine s’impose dans le débat public. Il fait l’objet d’une rencontre annuelle organisée généralement le 16 avril ; une date qui correspond à la fête du savoir, Aïd el Ilm en arabe, que les autorités locales organisent généralement dans les grands hôtels[1], selon des dispositions particulières, comme l’inaccessibilité au grand public[2]. Le mystère pèse autour de ses rencontres qui n’ont pas l’air d’enrichir le débat sur le patrimoine. Pour les pouvoirs ...

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Women in the Men’s House: The Road to Equality in the Algerian Military

In developed countries, the recruitment of women into the military has been the subject of intense debate for over thirty years. Supporters assert the equal right of women to serve alongside men in the army, even in combat roles, while opponents fear that the very presence of women in what they see as a male institution undermines its esprit de corps and combat efficacy. [1] Some argue that women cannot bear physical harm, although the integration of women into Western armies in increasing numbers ...

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Kabylia: Between Colonial Myths and Algerian Realities

[La genèse de la Kabylie. Aux origines de l’affirmation berbère en Algérie (1830-1962), by researcher and journalist Yassine Temlali was published by Barzakh (Alger). The excerpt we are publishing below is an extract from the chapter entitled “La politique berbère (kabyle) de la France en Algérie : mythes et réalités.”]  [...] The image that French colonizers had of the indigenous Algerians was determined, first, by the pseudoscientific and racialist dogma that professed the existence of essential ...

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Tunisia: The Counter Demographic Transition

[The following is an interview conducted with Youssef Courbage. This video (in French) is published in cooperation with OrientXXI] Youssef Courbage is research director at the National Institute of Demographic Studies (INED). For many years, he aimed to analyze the evolution of Arab and Muslim societies through demographic variables. In this interview, he explains that after the Arab uprisings, the countries in the Middle East and North African region have experienced a marked increase in the birth ...

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Daoud’s Camus Fanfiction Is More of the Same

Kamel Daoud, The Meursault Investigation. Translated by John Cullen. New York: Other Press 2015. Algerian journalist Kamel Daoud’s debut novel The Meursault Investigation, recently translated into English, retells the story of Albert Camus’s The Stranger from the point of view of Harun, the brother of the unnamed Arab that Camus's hero, Meursault, murders. The Meursault Investigation has garnered great praise in American media, sparking multiple articles in the New York Times, Washington Post, and ...

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Breaking the Myths of Power: The Struggles of the Haitians, Algerians, and Greeks

What do the struggles of the Greek people have in common with those of the Haitian slaves at the end of the eighteenth century or those of the Algerians in the middle of the twentieth century? Of course, these struggles are incomparable in many ways, but there is one important parallel that can be drawn. Both moments of anticolonial resistance compelled ruling power to show its true face and managed to shatter the myths informing that power’s universal claims and its so-called humane intentions. The ...

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Un dualisme pernicieux ou le mythe des deux Algéries

Dans sa dernière chronique pour le magazine Rupture qu'il dirige, l'écrivain et journaliste Tahar Djaout introduit sa dichotomie partageant l'Algérie entre « la famille qui avance et la famille qui recule ». Nous sommes en mai 1993, juste avant son assassinat. La représentation dualiste qui s’exprime dans cette formule oppose porteurs de la modernité et défenseurs de l'authenticité. Dans l'Algérie de 2015, cette dichotomie particulièrement problématique reste toujours d’actualité sous une forme ...

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الثورة القادمة إلى شمال أفريقيا: الكفاح من أجل العدالة المناخية

الثورة القادمة إلى شمال أفريقيا: الكفاح من أجل العدالة المناخية حمزة حموشان وميكا مينيو-بالويللو بلاتفورم لندن، مؤسّسة روزا لوكسمبورغ وعدالة بيئيّة شمال أفريقيا. مارس 2015 يمكنكم قراءة الكتاب وتحميله هنا.   1- ماهو غرضكم من تأليف هذا الكتاب؟ هدفنا هو إلقاء الضّوء على عنف تغيّر المناخ في شمال أفريقيا والتّأكيد على الحاجة إلى استجابة محليّة. أردنا الإشارة إلى أنّ بقاء الإنسانيّة على قيد الحياة مرهون بالتغيير الهيكلي وعلى مواجهة تحدّي الحديث عن العدالة المناخيّة بالّلغة العربيّة. تغيّر ...

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New Texts Out Now: Kamran Rastegar, Surviving Images: Cinema, War, and Cultural Memory in the Middle East

Kamran Rastegar, Surviving Images: Cinema, War, and Cultural Memory in the Middle East. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.  Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Kamran Rastegar (KR): I tend to agree with the adage that all (or perhaps, the best) scholarship is in one sense or another autobiographical, and my own childhood experiences in Iran during the Iran-Iraq war certainly set a backdrop for a long interest I have had in war and post-war themes in cinema and ...

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A New Secularism?

[This is the third of three responses to Muriam Haleh Davis’ review essay of books by Joan W. Scott, Naomi Davidson, and Mayanthi Fernando. For Joan W. Scott’s response, “More on Laïcité in Historical Context," click here; for Naomi Davidson’s response, “The Vagaries of Laïcité,” click here.] In bringing the work of Joan Scott and Naomi Davidson together with mine, Muriam Haleh Davis demonstrates the importance of undertaking a history of the present. This history enables us to identify some of the ...

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