Monday 27 June 2011

The Algerian Identity

In times of hardship, the bond between humans is fortified, fraternity is reinforced and a sense of belonging emerges bringing people closer to make them stronger and united.

The Algerian people; a nation that has been bruised and battered, emerging from enemy occupation and plunging into civil unrest and government oppression followed by civil war and terrorism, a history that ravaged the country and its people and brought the economy to its knees.

A national identity and a strong nationalism were actively cultivated since 1962 (independence) through strong educational history syllabuses filled with gory details of the bloody war lead against the French occupation, with stories of martyrs and heroes that fell, of our duty to remember and honour the seven year war and genocides in Setif and Kherata.

Cultivated thought remembrance days, patriotic rituals and traditions, such as the flag salute ceremony practiced in every school in the country at the beginning and end of the week, nationalistic bank holidays such as 1st November (revolution day) and 5th July (Independence day), which were great measure taken to reinforce the people’s allegiance to la mere patrie and stop them from running back to France and to reinforce the national identity as one and united.

This national identity developed further and was strengthened through the unfortunate political events and civil unrest, the hardship the Algerian people were put through has produced a new breed of Nationalism, one that is so strong, it is overpowering and over zealous, perhaps even fanatical and can be witnessed in many aspects of the Algerian persona and lifestyle (politics, football, relationships, family…etc); we are one and united.

We Algerians have been indoctrinated to such an extent, we all believed we were all from the same big family with the same values, lives and principles; perhaps it was Boumediene's socialism that rendered everybody equal.

This sense of belonging to the same clan is what gave way to the over bearing Algerian fraternity, when they blindly defend each other even if they don't know each other and the fact they're both Algerian suffices, when they judge other Algerians as though they were brought up in the same house and by the same mother, when they watch each others step as though they were in charge of the principles & piety brigade(1), when they scrutinise the Algerian woman when she travels solo, drinks alcohol, dates openly or marries someone who is not Algerian or even Algerian but different as in not from the same area, background or race, based first on this huge pride pang and race protection instinct they develop and ultimately on the delusion that we are all sons and daughters of our mother Algeria.

The government went to great efforts to perpetrate and create this Algerian pride and strong patriotism, but it seems to be mostly focused towards or perhaps more appropriate to say AGAINST the International scene (France etc) there was no effort in establishing a national unity that is based on embracing the rich diversity Algeria boasts in terms of people, languages, races and religions, so we ended up with a torn sense of identity, United against most things foreign but divided amongst ourselves.

We unite strappingly for football; patriotic songs come out, Algerian flags everywhere, Algerians all together in unison and euphoria, we forget where we come from and what colour we are, yet we divide for domestic matters, over Arabic and Tamazight (Berber language), over religion, we look down each other based on geography and accents, the only time YOU have heard of Tindouf was on TV when they announce Ramadan Iftar times along with Ain Salah and Bordj-baji-Mokhtar(2), the only time you have seen the Sahara desert or the Jurjura mountains was on NatGeo, the only time you were heard of St Augustine’s basilica was because he (St Augustine) was born in Algeria and that makes you proud.

Our Algerian Identity seems to be strong, yet it is visibly torn;
Algerians are torn between being Arabs, Berbers, between being Algérois or Algériens, Moderate or fanatical Muslim, between Mediterranean and African, between white or brown or black, Little to no effort is done by the government to assert the national identity within the country, diversity dismissed and differences ridiculed not revered, allowing a huge gap for conflicts, regionalism, penultimately civil war but ultimately a weak national identity that is visibly threatened with diminishing and complete modification within the next 50 years if no measures are taken.

Malgrès tout Bladi nebghik - will no longer be relevant.

An Algerian and proud Dz-chick

Article of interest:
(1) Police ta3 al akhlaq - made up of course
(2) What on earth does it mean!!


  1. FYI: This post was written on request after some of you asked me to tackle some questions!

  2. LOL!

    It's good. It's just that it's summer, it's hot and people are either thinking about their vacations or - like me - are too busy at work to comment such a serious topic...

  3. I know, it took me 5 days to finish it, I just couldnt be bothered with this one! but am trying to take your minds off my love life lol

  4. you're fearing the virtual evil eye?

  5. lol no I just need to be ready to share...

  6. oh so vulnerable, so cute

  7. Is love in the air then?

    Tell us more about him.

  8. Love is in the air yes, but I am not ready to talk about it.

  9. Unfortunately we are a long way from being a united nation. We have Islamists who don’t believe in respecting others opinions. We have seculars who are dictators.
    Our curriculum glorifies violence, hatred, anti-Semitism and promotes racism and chauvinism.
    We do not teach tolerance and respect to our kids. We teach our kids to kill and to beat women.
    Our education system has produced terrorists.
    We think it is a waste of money to spend on people and it is ok to over spend on roads which will run down in a few years.
    We pay an American more than Algerian to do the same job in our oil fields.
    We look down on educated people and make them the lowest rank in the society.
    We look down on Algerians and treat them the same way France used to treat us or rather the same way Daddy the Kayed used to treat the villagers during colonial era.
    We hate each other at the end of the day, we have no ambition except to make money and acquire power.
    May be I am just having a bad day.

  10. Forgot to ask; Allison, where are you off to on holiday? tzair? :)

  11. @Dz-Chick : Nope, it's been a while and you know how it is : the less you go, the less you wanna go.

    Anyways, I'll take few days here and there during summer and then a 2 week trip in the fall.

    ATO : I'm afraid it's a true picture of our society. Hopefully it'll change soon enough.

  12. Whatever you get up this summer Allison, make sure it's fun and don't do anything I wouldn't do ;)

    ATO: Tis sad but true.

  13. "and don't do anything I wouldn't do"
    - Par exemple?

  14. Hello, just wandering around, and finally decided to troll a bit :)

    Actually, I'm strongly convinced that educated and smart people don't need the kind of gross brain-washing old-soviet-style propaganda like "partiotism" to live all together in a peaceful and joyful world !

    As you mentioned already, patriotism is often constructed as a "we" against the "others", and I'm seriously getting tired of stuff like.

    You don't need to be patriotic in this sense to care about your country and you fellow citizens

    May the force be with you

  15. old soviet style? how about the freedom fries style of patriotism !! There are all sorts of brain-washing including the star wars type :)
    I agree on the no need to be patriotic to care, I suppose Lybian rebels care too and so does NATO !

  16. Grindaizer!!! thanks for dropping by ;)

    May the force be with you (too)

  17. @Allison: I don't do kareoke ;)

  18. you don't do karioké? who goes on holiday to do karaoke anyway :P ?

  19. You'd be surprised ;)
    BTW: Your pseudo has been ripped off...someone said my blog was drivel...blablabla and signed TDW

  20. is ittttt? oh well what can i say lol.

    how did you know it was not me?

  21. It could be...I thought you would have done it for the heck of it, but really who has the time! did you?

  22. no i did not. here i am though ;) .

  23. just experimenting

  24. qué pasà dans la riviera?

  25. many google a/c do you have?

  26. am using the same a/c but changed the display name.

  27. daode, only loosers will want another person to fix them up with a woman. didn't you get enough humiliation from haniya?

  28. Ohh that's harsh anonymous, only Daode and Haniya know what happened between them! you should not assume....or judge!

  29. that's not harsh; it's funny ;) . what is safe to assume is that anonymous above needs to get a life instead of stalking people on the net :-D . now that's a sad existence.

  30. dz chick the man is so furstrated. he went and gave his email address on your comment box for haniya to contact him lol. then he asked you to remove it lol. clearly haniya thought he was algerian but once she realised that he was an indian she throwd some water on him to cool him down.

    i didn't judge him but his furstration gave him out lol

  31. you should not censor my comment. i have the right of reply.

  32. Why must we have nationalistic pride derived from a hallow notion of a national identity that in itself is based on a country defined by a coloniser?

  33. "you should not censor my comment. i have the right of reply."

    Yeah, you're quick to invoke your rights, but what about your duty?
    Duty to respect others for example?

  34. Hi I want to ask you question not related to the topic. Where I can buy algerian or berber dress for wedding. im going for my friend wedding. is there any online store or any stores in london. please help

  35. Hi Aisha, I am sorry I won't be able to help with this one, perhaps in Finsbury square you might find shops run by Algerians or someone could help you there!

  36. @Dz-Chick I am looking for a traditional dress for my lady, any tips on what colour should I go for?

    I am looking for something very sexy and vibrant!

  37. @GMA: I thought you were single!!!
    If your lady is as stylish, sexy and vibrant as I am, she might enjoy BLUE :)

  38. @ Aisha, I didn't mean Finsbury sqaure as that's in the City of London, I meant Finsbury park in North London where there is a large Algerian community.

    GMA: or perhaps white ;)

  39. @Dz Chick: I was never a single man!I was merely waiting for her ladyship to drop by.

    If I'll say to you that my lady is stylish, vibrant and sexy...I would have short-changed her.I am sorry I can't describe perfection in words!

    As for the blue which one, azure or indigo?

    I am also looking to buy un 9ardoon wa swak! any tips about the swak; hard or soft wood? apparently, el foum lamsawak is perfect for kissing!

  40. Wow!! she must be a lucky girl that's all I can say, bssahtek GMA

    Royal Blue...ALL THE WAY!

  41. Dz-chick: Actually I do love her in white, she looks so angelic, pure and beautiful.....just like yourself obviously!

  42. Then may I suggest a White Kaftan.
    Mabrook alik GMA, you're obviousely getting married...

  43. Dz-Chick, I hope that you haven't forgotten that you've promised me a dance!

  44. And I'll be happy to oblige :)

  45. hmmm ... ok ;) .

    noticed a recent popularity in random people (women obviously) doing professional type photoshoots. encountered any of that yourself?

  46. @Doede: what on earth do you mean? who are these female participants? and who and where are these photoshoots?
    Did you have a nice weekend?

  47. interesting post, well done...

    What are your thoughts on the identity and inclusion of 'les émigrés' or 2nd generation algerians, especially those that live in Britain?

    Many 2nd generation algerians have a very strong affiliation with Algeria, they speak the language, have lived there, have family & friends there. They consider themselves Algerian 100%. But I am finding the 'us and them' mentality you have rightly mentioned has fostered a disrespect against them from 'a minority' who are Algerian-born, questioning there right to also be proud or voice an opinion on Algeria (to be part of Mother Algeria).

    It begs the question, can we retain our Algerian identity (whatever that is) in a foreign country for future generations with this underlying contempt?

  48. i don't mean random as in people getting picked for photoshoots. i mean people paying to get one-off professional-style photoshoots (like models would). just a random observation, no biggie.

    weekend was nice, busy on saturday catching up with some old friends, out the whole day and quiet on sunday just chilling indoors watching a series called Boston Legal. it's really good and funny, do you know it? and how was your weekend?

  49. @Anonymous: I believe that as Algerian with strong national identity ourselves, we endeavour to pass this on to our children and instil the patriotism thought the 1.5 million martyr stories, the Setif & Kheratta genocides and such like. Algerians born in Britain or in France, remain very much attached to the mother Algeria through the strong roots their parents have, but undoubtedly this will start to dissolve after a few generations as with time I cannot see it as sustainable.

    The contempt you are referring to may also emanate from the islamophobia spreading fast around the world, and 3rd and 4th generations of Algerians born overseas will be affected by this and in an attempt at full integration, will somehow dissolve their National identity and that of their ancestors until it is no more. ALL in MHO

    @Doede: my weekend was ok I guess, park to top up tan on Sunday, dinner on sat...usual really!

  50. so nothing special?

    ever watched that series i mentioned btw? you should check it out, i have a feeling it would appeal to you ;) .

    oh and i like Doede.

  51. this economic recession / socio economic problems are due to corruption, bureaucracy .this enforces the gap between communities , each one blames the other to be the cause of the misery. the country doen't nationalisme which is vertual idea to develop but it's needs technology, law above everything, development in the different economic sectors .

  52. I like Doede too :) you've had more pseudos than I had ....can't think of anything!

    @LYL: interesting perspective...

  53. i think i'm missing something here but let's just leave it to that because i'm shy ;) .

  54. ohh my god i miss u all..

    @ anynonymous walah walo..we got in touch besah i am not interested in anything as I got out of something just few months i need a break big time... and he is not either so we just you could chill and dont be harsh with Daode...

    besah indeed..nmot 3la ka7l rass lol (algerian algerian)...

    @ GMA, I dont know but I am sensing you just playing, u dont have someone special lol...

    hope u all well..

    boussa to all

  55. DZchick...follow-up regarding 2nd generation.

    Apologies, you misinterpreted the 'underlying comtempt'...this unease is from certain Algerians who struggle with the concept that someone speaks the queen's english and 'derja' too...not western ignorance.

    Tbh, you touched on a topic that I feel extremely passionate about.

    I'm not actually algerian born, I am a 2nd generation Algerian. Speak perfect Algerian arabic in my local dialect, have loads of old friends there, go there all the time, all my life I've been surrounded by 'Algeria'. I've always been a proud 100% Algerian...(not to say I'm not proud of my Britishness also, it's taught me some good being on time)

    But 'some' algerians(a very small minority) refuse to comprehend it (only the younger generation, the older generation admire it greatly). This is not a hunch, I've been called an 'Algerian wannabe',
    told I'm 'not really algerian are you', told I shouldn't be criticising algerians, told I don't have any responsibility to help Algeria.

    Seeing this ignorance makes you think, so these guys don't consider me one of them? The British Pakistani's don't get the same treatment. It's same type of blind ignorance I'm sure you encounter for being a 'modern' algerian woman.

    Just thought I'd add a dimension to the topic. As the quote goes 'home is where the heart is', you are what you feel and it's not anyone's job to define that. Maybe we're just so over-protective of who we are (similar to french).

    Finally, many Algerians will settle abroad, and an Algerian community in the UK can definitely retain it's identity for generations...I consider myself an example.

  56. @Haniya: choufi nti t9olili " you're messing about mal9itch wahda" and Dz-Felloussa on the other hand; 9alatli " you're not a singleton"......Rani nchouf ana lazamli a ndeer blog nta3i ana tanik 'the Dilemmas of an Algerian in an Algerian blog'

    Awah ana ghir Nadjma li tafhamni:)

  57. LOL GMA...I did not mean u r messing about..I just think you the kind of guy who has long list criteria lol...

    'you are not a singleton', I am single lol...

    it would be v interesting blog...

    boussa to all

  58. Khouya l'a3ziz, ani h'na!!! wesh khassek? wesh beek? ghir el khir? chkoun kalkek??
    Assma3, Singleton, machi singlton, wash3lih, el marahouche farhan, ekoullna ou hna ballak nakhtbouh lek.
    L'bnat haboulek hadja mliha, msaken ykhafou 3lik bark, ou shwiya curieuse, bash ya3rfou le statu dialek.
    Allez allez, dir video dial IRBAN IRBAN, et ca va te remonter le moral.
    Aya passe une bonne journee.

    PS: Ya lbnet, khalou etfal tranquille, ela makache tchouffou, yakhi halla yakhi ;)


  59. Anonymous: I see, and I understand the “contempt” you are reefing to now, You are being treated as a 2nd generation “émigrés” a lot of Algerians feel strongly about allowing no right of critic to ANY Algerian who was not born in Algeria or who grew up away from home, no matter how well you speak the dialect or how well aware you are of the culture and customs or indeed of the fact that you feel Algerian or not.

    Perhaps it is due to the possessiveness and blindness with which Algerians love and defend their country and perhaps due to the years of hardship the Algerian people have gone through, and I believe they feel if you were not around to share their suffering, then you haven’t earnt the right to claim your Algerianess or indeed criticise etc …

    GMA: Stop taunting us!! Are you or aren’t you?

    Haniya: Are you single and looking though? Or just single?? x

    @Nejma: Ana madert walou!! x

  60. @ Nedjma, madarnalo walo..ghir yadalal lool...

    @ dz-fellousa, I am single, not sure about looking..but if there is something interesting why not...


  61. Dzchick,

    Very true, you're a woman of wisdom. I've had the 'you weren't there' thing before to which my response to them was simple...'yes I was, but so what if I wasn't'.

    Preconceived judgements are natural and most realise a mistake in judgement eventually. In my case, I have nothing to prove and frankly,
    my friends and I joke about it and I know they're only joking, I don't take offense to it. It is only a minority, and I thought it an additional point worth mentioning on your blog. Ie: what is it within our psyche that makes some hold such views, of which I think you hit the nail on the head.

    Anyway, I'll get off my soapbox and leave you to your writing...not really read the rest of the blog but certainly enjoyed this post.

  62. @Haniya: I know you're looking, GMA seems available and apparently shy, so one of us has to make the first move...are you or should I? ;)

  63. Dz-Chick: I am still recovering from your Heathrow rejection. I've even become a member of Heathrow's reject's support group. Hata Costa Cafe felt sorry for me that day and they've gave me a Golden Loyality Card.....somehow,this things yasrawli ghir ana! zhar nta3 el chkoupi:(

    As for Haniya, ah ya Haniya wach n9olek, ana ma3andich des conditions mais nti deja 9oltili ro7 la dwar wel9a Garmiya dyalkek li tkounlek submissive....wach fiha qui henounti tkoun submissive liya???:(

    Ya Nedjma el Ghalya fahmihoum hadou les filles rahoum 7agroni!

  64. @Dz-chick, I am still broody ya m7aynak!

    Mais dorka rani 7ab nafham 7aja!Most of the people lahna rahoum single and I am sure they hope to meet someone specific( bent/wleed la bled). Now, how can that happen if there is no mean to contact that person privately? so, you ladizzz, afahmou ro7koum ou dirou un point de contact pour your admirers.

    As for you gents, les femmes Algeriennes do not want you to look at them as sisters but as women and as very sexy women.They want to be ravished by love, attention, care, kinkiness and above all they want some understanding. DO NOT JUDGE THEM and love them unconditionally for what they are. They want you to forget their past and think of the future ahead of you as a couple.

    Aya go by the rules of the jungle, ween every woman is a potential mating partner.

  65. @ dz-feloussa, I dont think he is shy, so if he wants he can make a move lol...I dont know about you but I am not big fun of a girl making the first move..

    @ GMA, gotlak 3la dowar pasq habit wahda could get your lady submissive indirectly but you have to be v clever..b dziriya ta3raf kifash taksabha...walah you will have all of her, 7nana, loving, caring...etc etc

    i agree with you, most people who are reading this blog are single..hih why not re the emails thing looool....

    fahem rohak romance wela jungle...ya3ni jungle ya GMA, allah yahdik, wa3lah 3andak brain and heart bash tkhmam wa thab your soul mate..machi li ja hadak howa :D...

    hadi fi khatarkom...

    good evening to all...xxxx

  66. Haniya: Inchallah you'll find your match and be happy, but you're right, I never make the first move in any case, I am a lady you see ;)

    GMA: are you or aren't you?

  67. inchalah i will..i believe in love and wonderful man who brings me lilies and the rest of it...

    yes GMA, are you or are you not ??

  68. To Anonymous: Thanks I am wise ;)

    You know who you are and how strong or weack your bond with Algeria, nobody has the right to dictate to you what and what not to say or feel, if you feel Algerian than who am I or anybody else to question that.

    Thanks for your comment, it's good to have the views of a UK born Algerian. Hope you get to read the rest of my posts.

  69. Aha!! why can't you ladies make the first move?? are you willing to lose someone 3lajal chwiya nta3 pride??

    @Haniya: ' the jungle' reference was directed at the complex algerian male/female initial meeting stage.Most men(I am guilty) tend to see l'Algerienne kima khtou ou hadi el 3a9liya will kill any sexual/sensual chemistry between the two... especially lahan fi etranger....mala lazam el 3a9liya nat3 khalatha tasfa khir!:)

    @ Dz-Chick tala3biha ta7achmi!! I bet you'll never serve your potential suitor kahwa ki dji yakhatbek....taba3tilou khtek instead ou to9o3di twa9bi mel keyhole.Ok ok yel wa9abat!

    As for my status,well; I am no longer single. I met a very special person(une Algerienne) about a month ago and I've been hypnotised since then! I can't make it if it's a dream or a reality!!!

  70. Awww comme c'est beau GMA.
    Krahtha :P

  71. ohh damn it..i thought u d be my chance...yakhi zhar yakhi :D:D...rabi ykamal :D..

  72. Thank you beauties. I wish you the same and I am sure the right person is on his way to you.

    You do deserve ONLY the best and nothing BUT the best.

  73. I hope so I hope so :D...


  74. Lakouba lik Haniya, I found mine already :) x

  75. nchalah, one day :) xx

  76. @DZ-Chick, this post was very informative to me as I was unaware of many of the Algerian rituals (i.e. the flat salute ceremony at school) to reinforce our identity, it's beautiful.

    However that national identity was also spread to the diaspora. My mother who emigrated to France in 1957 as a child hence has never lived in an independent Algeria has this dogmatic nationalism and so have most of my family members.
    I love the fact that in foreign land we are likely to look out for one another but it's not necessarily true. I was called a kehba recently by a harraga on the bus in East London because I didn't entertain his poor attempt at chatting me up, not so brotherly now, is it?!

    I also strongly dislike being judged by my Algerian fellowmen/women. Get a grip we are all individuals united by la mere patrie certes but individual nonetheless. Arabs (how Arabs can we be? Delusion!), Berbers we are one people and Berbers should be able to speak their language, teach it and have their own identity, after all they are the original indigeneous. No, I am not a Berber so my so-called Arabs that maybe cursing right now, keep calm & keep cursing, ha ha!

    As for religion, is there any other religion but islam in Algeria? I am not a practicing Muslim and many of my Algerian brothers and sisters view me as a sell-out for that reason. Islam does not make me Algerian, my bloodline does and I can ensure you I am 300% Algerian.

    Algerienne malgre moi mais tres fiere de l'etre tout de meme.

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