Friday, 14 December 2012

Ah now you notice me!


The Algerian Cultural Collective which was the driving force behind the recent success of the Algerian Cultural Festival that took place on the 20th Oct in London, has contacted me for an exclusive (oh yeah) interview...You can find it on their Facebook page 

-----------------------------------------
The Algerian Cultural Collective brings you an exclusive! The first interview with Algerian London-based blogger DZ-Chick. For those who managed to miss it, her now infamous blog "Dilemmas Of A Single Algerian Girl in London" is a witty, critical, fresh (and never without controversy) exploration of love, singlehood, relationships, marriage, gender issues, identity...never short of new ideas and insightful observations. In this interview DZC tells us her story and that of her writings. So grab a cuppa, get comfy, and start reading! (and why not you ask your own Qs at the end?) 

Q: Who is DZ chick :)?

A: Thank you ACC for the opportunity and the chance to take part in this fantastic event that is the Algerian Cultural Festival, I mean I think over the past 5 years of being Dz-chick, I repeated the word Algeria/an so many times, If you didn’t contact me, I might have had to do a sit-in protest.

For me Dz-Chick is this side of me who gets to say it as it is (as much as my actual self allows it), I started blogging one November day in 2007, I was bored and it was the beginning of the financial crisis, so many mixed feelings were raging within me and I needed to let them out, there was no obvious platform for me to use, so I thought about blogging. I don’t even remember if the word “blogging” meant anything to me back then. The pseudo Dz-Chick just came to me and I simply started writing.

 


Dz-chick and myself are the same, thankfully, the only differences probably lie in the easiness of Dz-chick’s language and the way she is protected with anonymity. She built herself a thick layer of skin and learned not to take things personally, which I think my actual self is envious of. I am jealous of Dz-Chick; she’s way cooler than I am.

This all sounds very schizophrenic, but in actual fact, it’s very healthy to step away and let the inner self take over and say what your inhibitions and peoples’ reactions hinder you from expressing so freely.

Q: DZ Chick, where did it all start from?

A: That fateful November gloomy day, I guess I was on the verge of losing my job (I didn’t), it was raining (major factor) and I was single (nothing new there then), maybe I just needed a hug “laugh”, but something within me just wanted to jot things down and I started writing and I never looked back really since.

Nowadays I write more to help point out or put into words certain social inadequacies and situations I witeness and know for a fact to be flawed or wrong, most people notice them but cannot or perhaps don’t have the inclination to put their finger on the problem, I tend to take one step further by over analysing and pointing fingers.

Q: How do you describe your blog?
A: Ah Dilemmas of a single Algerian girl in London, I think remains relevant as ever, not only for me but for many Algerian and non Algerian ladies and gentlemen out there.

The issues and topics tackled are always related to the words: Algeria, single, girl, London and dilemma but in no way restrictive, I always strive to make it a free space where people come and express themselves, be it encouragements, thanks, anger, frustration or whatever damage the latest post had caused. Ooops!

Q: Do any of DZ chick readers know who she is? What are the advantages and disadvantages of blogging anonymously?  

A: You know people like to talk; gossip is a universal sport it seems.

Yes some people know the real girl behind Dz-Chick, people I told by choice, others found out through other friends who can’t keep a secret (you know who you are GRRR) and most of my readers don’t know or at least aren’t curious enough to dig.

I chose to write anonymously because I use a lot of my own experiences to tackle any topic, experiences I don’t wish to be known as mine.

I find writing anonymously imparts a freedom you cannot have if writing under your own name, you can be as blunt and as controversial as you wish and if it rubs anyone up the wrong way (which is the case a lot of the time) then my anonymity acts as a shield, the same applies to all the anonymous readers who themselves hide behind their anonymity to comment, mostly negatively.

Advantages: Freedom to say what others feel but cannot put into words, it is fun and it’s safer.

I feel resentment when I hold myself back from writing certain truths because the more people know who is behind Dz-chick, the more shackled I feel.

Disadvantages: I can’t think of any disadvantages to blogging anonymously, except that perhaps when I am very proud of one of my pieces and I can’t claim it. So I spread crazy rumours about Dz-Chick, what does she know anyway!

Q: What has been the response to your blog?

A: Overall, I think most of my readers are big fans and I love the regulars, they make the blog after all otherwise it’s just me babbling on the blogosphere.

I managed to get some kind of notoriety and a lot of followers over the last few years. I cannot discount how many negative and insulting comments I received from anonymous trolls who think I should only write as an Algerian if I am to represent Algeria and Islam adequately. I wasn’t aware I had this huge responsibility on my shoulders. The views of a blogger are his/her own.

Q: Do the hateful comments affect you Dz-chick?

A: Ah the haters, where will I be without them :), before I developed this thick skin, some comments were so personal and so awful, I was reduced to tears many a times, but now, I laugh, and every time I receive one of those, I know I must have done something right.

Q: Any projects to compile your blog into a book?

A: A book! Sounds like a nice idea but frankly never really contemplated it. Of course if there was an interest in my posts I would publish it with the Algerian flag as front cover ;)

If I publish maybe I can finally come out and write under my own name, especially since I am writing a book Safia (title is temporary) which I half published on my blog, work in progress though.

Q: According to you what is the role of a blogger

A: I blog, therefore I am.

The way I see it, blogging is a kind of illicit journalism, we bloggers have no restrictions, no employer policies to abide by, and we can tackle ANY topic from any angle. I sometimes read articles in the press and can almost read the words they typed and erased, that’s my queue, to go and elaborate and say what hasn’t been said. Blogging is the epitome of freedom expression. 

I believe that bloggers can be very influential and their views should not be discounted.

Q: Dz-Chick, why do you always say you exclusively want an Algerian man?

A: “NERVOUS laugh” I am lazy.

I think it has a lot to with family, culture and religion, every time I see how frustrating it is with Algerian men, I think that’s IT. Give me an English guy anytime, but then I see someone else and think No this is what I want, I feel Inter-cultural couples have a lot more chances of making it work, of sustainability and Algerian men are just so funny especially when they play up to their Mediterranean/Arab macho image, makes me want to pat their heads and say calm down dear it's just your hormones. : P

Q: Is your family aware of your blog?

A: Yes my family knows about the blog, but obviously not everyone can read English, though they follow my writing, I think they’re just relieved I am more interested in writing than in drugs. Ha ha 

Q: Has Dz-chick ever been happy single?

A: Yes extremely but will be lying if I said all the time, but most of all, yes absolutely, I am happy with what I am and that’s enough for me, of course meeting someone who when ready to show up (take your time BTW), will only add to my happiness.

Q: Do you think the title of the blog “Dilemma of a single Algerian girl inLondon” might be hindering your chances of getting into a relationship; is it like a self-fulfilled prophecy?
A: I thought about this before, I do think that my desire for continuing to write the blog as the single girl might have perhaps stopped me from pursuing the man when he showed up. Perhaps it felt like I was cheating on my blog.

Q: What author do you aspire to be like?

A: I know you're expecting some great names of literaries but i always preferred thrillers, I love to read Clive Cussler, I love the intricate details and research he puts in and the inevitable romance that always adds a bit of soft edge to the very rough story. I don’t go to the gym so thrillers are my only heart-rate riser, but overall I will read anything with words in it, except for the Sun.

Q: Do you consider yourself a feminist? And why?

A: When I was 12, I remember overhearing two women talking at a wedding I was dragged to, one of them said to the other “yes he is 45 and can only see from one eye and she’s only 23 and beautiful but you know he IS a man and men cannot be faulted” whilst the other woman nodded in agreement. I remember I shot them evil looks and ran to my mother to tell her what I overheard with disgust, she just laughed and gave me a hug. I thought; was that a pang of feminism I just experienced at such young age? “laugh”

Yes I believe I am a feminist (one who believes in keeping her bras safe and away from fire), I believe in and stipulate equal rights and opportunities for women in education, employment, sport, politics and to protect women and girls from domestic violence, sexual harassment and assaults, because as much as we’d like to think, a high percentage of women all over the world remain victims of unfair treatment, unequal rights and discrimination. I do not however think myself a feminist activist, unless you consider this blog to be a contribution.

Q: Sometimes it seems you are highly critical of all men, with no discrimination towards the 'few good men' out there (let's take your last post as an example ;) - what would you say to that? (and what if the roles were reversed? how would you react to a male blogger writing about women in this way?)

A: Everything has to be taken at the 2nddegree; I make preposterous generalisations and most of my posts are generally self-deprecating, humorous with a touch (or two) of home truths, I am very critical of men yes, mea culpa. But I am a single girl who instead of looking at why she’s single, she prefers to have someone to blame, in this case, the unattainable Algerian man, whom she builds and reduces to nothing within the same post. He’s my side kick :)  See the latest poem as a perfect example The Algerian Man .  

I encourage any man out there to start blogging and let it rip, about women, about those acne years at Uni and the girl he could never have and let us hear your views for once, along with thick skin I (dz-chick not me) learnt to take criticism gracefully and see the funny side, so I say bring it on.

Q: Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

A: Tough question! I see myself somewhere under the sun, with someone to love and a book to read with an occasional job to do. What could be better than that?

As we say in Algeria: ana hchicha talba m3icha, not really a hchicha, perhaps more like a flower, a tulip even :)

Q: What happens if DZ-Chick gets married?

A: ha ha ha that’s a question I haven’t heard before! If Dz-chick gets married (ha ha) she will divert to blogging about her husbands’ bad habits and dirty toe nails and how she misses her single life. Some people can never be pleased. 

18 comments:

  1. English girl in NY14 December 2012 at 22:49

    Thanks for sharing this with us dz-chick, you have a beautiful soul and a gentle spirit albeit fiery. I loved the way you tackled every question with a personal and humorous touch. only you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I usually hate reading interviews but that one was brilliant. Especially the answer to this question ''Dz-Chick, why do you always say you exclusively want an Algerian man?'' The answer applied to me and I am sure so many other single algerian girls in the UK/everywhere !. Thanks for sharing it with us and lets hope one day will meet a darling algerian like we want to.. boussa kbira..xx . Hanya

    ReplyDelete
  3. First thing first, massive THANK YOU to the Algerian Cultural Committee for this interview and for their commitment & dedication in promoting the Algerian culture in the UK.

    Dz Chick many thanks to you for opening up and revealing more of yourself in this interview as always in humour, wit and sincerity.

    May I add a few more questions?! This is a rhetorical question, I will proceed ;-)

    1- Which post of your own blog do you prefer and why?

    2- If your encounters with Algerian men are mostly negative, what is it that makes you want more?

    3- If you could pick a person, dead or alive, to have dinner with, who would it be and why?

    4- What's your pet hate?

    5- What makes you tick?

    6- What's the deal with 'les immigres'(refer to Bleddard vs Immigre, Feb 2011)?

    7- Which article do you wish you had never posted and why?

    8- Describe your Mr Right

    ReplyDelete
  4. English girl in NY the type of comment that makes me feel all mushy inside, thank you.
     
    Haniya Thanks chica. I need to find a publisher now, screw the (Algerian) man.
     
    Miss Polemique I didn’t except anything less from you. I will answer as much as I am allowed to
     
    1 – I think I like most of them, but lately I am quite fond of my poem “The Algerian Man”
    2 – My very few encounters have not always been negative, but I guess we came to the conclusion I am a closeted optimist and believe in finding that one guy who is perfect for me.
    3 – I first thought about Einstein but then I thought, who is the epitome of the Human being, the best person who could have answers to everything that is going on in the world now, who else than the Prophet Mohamed (SAAW).
    4 – I don’t have pet hates, I dislike many things, but I tend to steer clear of hate, hate is a destructive feeling that consumes you, hating anything is like burning down your own house to get rid of a cockroach.
    5 – What makes me tick? That’s a very hard question and I am not sure what actually does, could be a combination of things, having the love and  moral support from family and friends etc…
    6 – There’s no deal with “les immigres”, what’s your deal with it?
    7 – I cringe when reading some of my earlier posts of 2008, but at the same time, I refuse to auto-sensor, so they’re staying put. But I don’t regret writing anything. I sense from this question, you might be wishing I regret my “Immigres vs. Bleddard” post. I don’t :/
    8 – My Mr. Right is a kind man with good teeth and a greater sense of humour, one who understands space and what overcrowding in a relationship means, one who encourages not undermines and criticises. Everything else can be worked out.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Dear Dz-Chick,

    Many thanks for taking time to provide answers to my questions.
    Your replies were unsurprisingly interesting.
    Your choice of dinner date is, to say the least, very unexpected, the Prophet Mohamed (May Allah's peace & blessings be upon him & me while He is at it).

    The metaphor you have used to describe the internal damage hatred engenders got me laughing out loud which is concerning considering I am at work and shouldn't be making use of equipment to get on my favourite blogger's website!

    Your answer to question 5 is really vague so I will push my luck and rephrase the question:
    what brings you the most pleasure (besides the obvious ;-) )?

    As for the 'immigres', inappropriate term used to describe French-Algerians who of course have not immigrated to France but were born there hence are French. Bref, one felt resentment towards the French-Algerians in that post and being a French Algerian, one undeniably felt insulted. I do not fall under the 'generalisation' you have made and frankly I don't know anyone that does.
    I don't expect you to regret writing that article, ironically it remains one of my favourites, evidently due to its controversial nature.

    I wanted to ask you controversial questions but your readership won't be too impressed hence I will refrain.

    Merci de tout coeur Dz Banksy.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ya Miss Polemique, arrête de polemiquer…
    - What brings most pleasure in life:
    -          The obvious
    -          Family
    -          Food
    -          Travelling and getting lost somewhere far where nobody knows me
    - Espece de migriya :) – yes totally inappropriate generalisations, bad bad Dz-Chick.
     
    You are most welcome :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Bad bad Dz Chick, now that's what I call an answer!

    You are uncontestably my favourite bleddarde :-P



    ReplyDelete
  8. Dawood Terry Yaki17 December 2012 at 20:35

    polémiko u so boorrrrrrrrngk

    ReplyDelete
  9. We love you Dz-Chick.
    You must make some jealous people greeeen

    ReplyDelete
  10. Congrats for the interview! I realy enjoyed it.
    I look forward to reading Safia :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks guys!

    Blue you mean the whole book right? you have read the chapter posted I hope!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Of course I read the chapters. I aked you, a while ago, for the rest of the story but you were a bit busy at that time. So I was patiently waiting but I see that you'll be writing a book instead. I guess I will arm myself with more patience :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. bravo dz -chick ,i am realy surprised and amazed in same time by your writing style and for the first time in my life in england you make feel proud to be algerian,i showed your blog to some no algerians freinds and was boasting about it and saying this is the work of my countryfellow.thank you

    ReplyDelete
  14. just one more think..why do want to meet (prophet)mohamed?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thank you it's my pleasure to give you something to be proud of. Though you know you should be proud of who you are and where you come from regardless! This morning I was walking into work and felt this sudden pride of being who I am and coming from where I come from! Looking around the people outside the office building smoking I felt so superior and privileged ( abd deluded too perhaps) and it had nothing to do with the smoking or lack of for me, but I have many reasons to be proud and one of them is definitely being Algerian.

    As for your question, I want to meet Prophet Mohamed (pbuh) because he's the ultimate human being, sometimes when I want to just stoop to people's levels and be nasty, I always think what would he do? Lol I know it's nuts but it works every time.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Only just discovered your blog .. Amazing got a lot to read. I'm also blogging about my life and moving to Algeria .

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hey it's about time more people discovered this blog and get to enjoy it 'cos I ain’t gonna keep it going for ever. though it's my safe haven where I can come and offload my thoughts and whining despite a number of people knowing who the real DZ-CHICK is. That isn't going to stop me.

    ReplyDelete

Most popular ramblings!