A Franco-Algerian woman in the middle of a civil epic against a hypocritical regime

« Born in Paris, of Algerian origin by my parents, I have always been very attached to Algeria since my childhood, especially the Kabyle region. I have lived in several countries, but I always had in mind to settle in Algeria and make things move forward in this beautiful unexploited country where I felt at home. It was in 2016, when I was 29, that I decided to settle there progressively, with the feeling I was at my place here, in Algiers.

« Sabrina Franco Algerian gives you her popular vision of the Algerian movement towards the 2nd republic »

The political situation at the time was very hypocritical. It consisted in an undemocratic democracy, tampered votes, with a president who decided to change the constitution to get re-elected for life, a government of ministers who were friends of the presidential family and had absolutely no legitimacy, a corrupt state and a neglected country.

For 20 years,  Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who proclaimed himself a heroe of the nation after the murderous conflicts of the “FIS”(Islamic Salvation Front) in the 1990s, has ruled Algeria with well-placed people, “Daddy’s boys” who became richer while the people was forgotten.
The Algerian people were simply manipulated by a handful of men, who were not thinking at all about their country but about their personal comfort and those around them.
For the presidential elections taking place on April 18, candidates were invited to run for presidency, and when President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced he was running for a 5th term – although he had had three strokes since 2013, he was in a wheelchair, he was unable to appear in public and unable to either speak, write or shake a hand – that the Algerian people  decided to react.

Friday February 22, 2019: the first march begins … with the young people of Bab El Oued.

The Algerian youth is abandoned, primarily by education. The present system does not encourage students to get involved in their curriculum, since it leads to  unemployment.Thousands of young people from the working-class neighbourhood of Algiers, Bab El Oued, decided to protest that day to make themselves heard.

The young people of Bab El Oued have a rather violent reputation (drugs, theft, aggression, deal … ) so that after learning of this march, the whole city locked itself in, the inhabitants entrenched themselves at home out of fear.
But at the same time, we could follow live videos on social networks and we saw that the demonstration was peaceful, calm, and people were singing  and were in a good mood.

It was after that first march that the movement was launched. University students protested the next day, then lawyers, teachers, doctors…
On the Friday following the first demonstration, we were still watching live on the networks, and young men and women were walking in the streets of Algiers Centre against the 5th term of the president.

We were shocked by this massive crowd and especially by the harmony among them… and we wanted to take part in the demonstration. The main topic of conversation was the demonstrations, so why not be at the heart of this movement?

The following Friday we got ready for the walk …
We walked from El Biar, a neighborhood on the hills of Algiers, down to Square May 1, one of the two starting points of the march, leading to Algiers’ post office.
Once I got to the starting point, I was just astounded by the national fervour, the strength that I had never seen or felt before.
Families, women, men, children, disabled and elderly people, all Algiers was out. They were carrying the national flag on their shoulders and singing in unison against the system.
You could feel human warmth, fraternity that is second to none, a smile and indisputable respect, and I understood that I loved Algeria for the strength it shows.
Music, words, songs, everything was worthy of a great people, a people that no longer wanted to live oppressed because it is not in the good books of well-placed personalities, a people who was on the brink of crisis and no longer wished to be silent, a people who had overcome their fear of rebelling after the black Decade, a people who wished to be simply freed from this

concealed dictatorship. This walk was very well structured, rules were established, 18 rules to be precise, so that everything took place in calm and good mood.
I could see families admiring the demonstrators from their balconies, others left their door open so we could take pictures of this beautiful vision of our Algeria from their balcony.
Others distributed water bottles and dates to keep our energy, so much sharing moved me to tears.
Respect was so total, that when we reached the hospital for serious burn victims, we avoided singing in order to let the patients rest in peace.

The Algerians have a rather aggressive reputation abroad, especially during football games and there, we had the formal proof that the Algerian people is indeed an example of pacifism … I am proud of my roots, proud of my Algeria, proud to be present to experience all this and especially proud to tell what I have experienced during this period.

My Algeria, your liberation is just beginning … Love S. « 

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