As I stroll in downtown Algiers, amongst the haussmanian buildings, Moorish and art deco architecture, the confused identities and confused faces, the travellers, the office workers in their suits, the vagabonds and all the rest, this rest that makes our youth, our unemployed, our unrepresented and ignored future, amongst these people, stand side by side the electoral candidates's posters, in their best suits and in their best "advised" positions some chose a bruce lee stance (witness preposterous exhibit below) whilst others are content with looking their positively corrupt and untrustworthy selves.
As I look around and watch people, I can't help but feel their indifference to these electoral campaigns (if they even qualify as such), posters badly stuck on, completely uninviting, lacking in colour, aesthetics and message, you could almost feel their contempt for the people, these so called politicians who lost touch with the people, they're not capable of explaining to the masses why they should vote, their messages are so ambiguous and false, they're incapable of standing out as a real opposing party. They're all bought, and as Simon Cameron said" An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought".
As you walk around, you can feel people's total and utter distrust in these clowns in posters! The odd ones who stop to look at the posters for a fleeting second quickly walk away shaking their heads but promptly forget about them, it's a non issue. they're not going to vote.
Café des artistes and bohemian bars are unusually quiet, gone are the heated political debates, no body knows who these so called deputies are or what they stand for, they're an insult to our intelligence and to our country.
I thought to myself, so who's going to vote? and for whom? For the clowns who will sit in the parliament (where the rate of absenteeism is higher than that of a high school in Thénia(1)) raise their hands to vote "YAY" so they receive their enormously, ridiculously large salaries that are well above 30 times the average Algerian salary?
On one of the Algerian radios, I heard a message urging people to vote and to make their voices heard, my sister who was driving seemed to be immuned to it, didn't even hear it, she continued insulting the driver in front of her, she didn't even feel concerned or gave it a thought, I asked her if she was going to vote, she said "na3adine babak yal kavi"(2) to the guy driving the Audi Q something!
Then I thought back to the times when I was younger (and voted for the FLN party because everybody else said better the devil you know) and of all the people you see on TV casting their votes and voicing their opinions, the people who vote and will always vote, on whom the government count to vote, are the people who don't live in villas, the ones who don't travel to Paris for the weekend or visit le salon du Livre, the people who need to have their voting card stamped because Algeria needs their votes and their opinions, the people who are receiving countless SMS from their telephone providers urging them to vote, if they don't want to live another black decade or witness closely what happened in Tunisia and Lybia and the people who think that not voting will stop them from obtaining their 12S* and certificat de nationalité and the ones who count on God's will to prevail and say things like "acheda fi rabi" so they can sit back and wait for God to fight for them.
Free and just elections with international observers is the image they're trying to portray to the world because they care more about what the world thinks, whilst the youth is drawing cartoon characters like sponge Bob and Mickey Mouse on the electoral posters in reference to Bled Miki.
Free and just elections indeed, with one candidate running around escorted by 4 Gendarmerie Nationale land-rovers and an entourage to compete with that of P-Diddy and another one pitching up in his old Honda and can't afford a poster, one using the Government resources with unlimited access to newspapers and national TV, when others are denied 5 minutes on the NATIONAL television channel, leading the latter to accept international funding.
As for the handful of international observers, they're all guests of the Algerian government not of the people, they're here to protect the interest of their countries with Algeria and will not denounce fraud if it bit them in the ass.
If this is not proof of total and utter contempt for civil society, then I ask you, what is?
Yet it amazes me that people are still willing to vote and express an opinion that is invalid and pointless as tradition has it, Algerian elections are and will always be rigged.
Have the past elections not teach us anything?
As long as people voted, the situation will continue, only a boycott of this mascerade could save our dignity and perhaps bring a glimmer of hope, be the beginning of a change, a revolution....of something.
Where is this Algerian dignity we're so known for? How can we let a group of dinosaurs destroy our land, our present, our future and that of our children.
Maybe one day, the laws of physics will change and we'll be able to construct a solid base on sand and swamps but for now, it remains an impossibility.
We need to stand our ground and let our inactions speak as loud as our words. ABSTAIN.
Dz-chick…The jig is up Algeria!
(1) a town somewhere near Algiers
(2) A generic algerian insult, invoking the father, the religion etc
* Some kind of biometric birth certificate