Boutef vs. Barack

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The young Mr. Bouteflika.

In addition to the previously mentioned reactions offered by the selection of Algerian newspapers from last week, there is one from the 5 November issue of Le Matin (which I neglected to include in the previous round up), which I think is particularly relevant. It contrasts progress in the United States with progress in Algeria, noting that African Americans have seen the expansion of their social and political rights over the past half century or so, culminating in the election of Barack Obama, while Algerians — independent for a similar period of time — are seeing “new generations remain excluded” from the political process.

History will record that Barack Obama, 47, became the first African American elected president of the United States the [same] week that in Algeria, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 72, violated the Constitution to stay in power.

Obama was born on 4 August 1961, when Bouteflika the master negotiator had already helped in the overthrow of the GPRA and scheduled the fateful coup.

Obama is the youngest president of the new generation. In a country where black people really enjoyed their civil rights for barely half a century, the Democratic candidate made a special way and embodies the face of a rejuvenated America and at peace with itself, the incarnation of the dream of civil rights activist Martin Luther King.

Bouteflika is the old president who the the new generation flees on boats of uncertainty. Bouteflika embodies despair.

Barack Obama emerged from Anonymity one evening in July 2004, when Bouteflika began his second term.

Barack Obama became president one evening in November 2008, when Bouteflika assured his third term.

History will record that this was the evening of our powerlessness.

10 thoughts on “Boutef vs. Barack

  1. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is a very experienced and reliable man. achievements and positiv developments during his presidency are remarkable. I dont pay any attention to what some algerian papers write about him. he very strong and its more than obvious that he is widely supported in Algeria, particularly by the main parties ( FLN,RND, HMS and Louisa-party). I thik he is also enjoying respect among the oppositon. the current constitutional change to allow Bouteflika a third term is fully good. it will give him enough time to continue his Musalaha approach that he has started and the country will attract more foreigner investors. I am not saying that there is nothing to criticise in the political performance of the ruling parties , but describing his step ( what is a political consensus ) as a violation of the constitution is absolutly inappropriate. the interest of the country should take priority over a formal article of the law. of course this excuse is favored by the arab dictators ( = presidents + kings), in Bouteflika’s case disadvantages of his stepping down immense, even though there are many names who can candidate. I think he is one of the few politicians who schould be consulted on Maghrebin and African issues. the thing I can not understand is that the arabic media is criticising Bouteflika, in particular this media financed by the Sykes-Picot arabs who are stil thinking in the medieval times and new a constitution or free election. How can countries whose fate was decided in the early 20th century schould be allowed in 21th century to interfere in the political issues of modern countries like Algeria? I think they have instead to look to themselves first and try to change some of their extremism and tribalism and reform their archaic policies that are the sourse of all our troubles today. They seem stil not to understand that the criteria of modernity are not( just) skylines and satellite channels.

  2. @ sal

    The problem, sal, is that the respect of a “formal article of the law” is precisely what makes the difference between state of law (a constitutive part of democracy) and arbitrary rule (a constitutive part of dictatorship). Bouteflika might have done good things, that’s fine. I am not judging, because I have little knowledge of the many “positive developments” that you attribute to him.

    However, his personal historical role in the disastrous overthrowing of the GPRA is well documented, as the article reminds us. And his clinging to power at a time when Algeria badly needs fresh ideas and policies is disheartening. Last but not least, unfortunately, the continuous flow of Algerians landing (pretty literally) on Europe Southern coast is a clear sign of the lack of hope these Bouteflika policies produce. And the number of people who never reach this coast is even more heart breaking…

  3. Hi,Alphast

    thanks for your feedbck

    1. regarding the change of the constitution I am fully agree with you. I m not a lawer, I want to say that the law, even in societies with long democratic traditions, is not a Koran. the thing is not to pass the law, the important things are the principles and the spirit and the framework,the intention , are the people legitimate representatives , who will benefit , who will suffer, etc. I dont care about Bouteflika’s past, since he was elected in free election with international monitoring, and reelected. the GPRA issue is not important anymore because the Algerians( in harmony with their traditions ) have vorgiven him and ( more important) Ahmed ben billa and Abbassi Madani are supporting him and supporting the Musalaha concept. finally
    he will candidate , if he wants, and in this case I am sure he will win. Why? because the main parties have allready started his campaign supprting the constituational change ( maybe there are other amendments,but this paragraph is the highlight). I read that Dr. Said Saadi ( opposition) may candidate if certain conditions are fulfilled. I do respect him because he calls for transparency ect , but I think he sometimes exaggerates, candidacy yes, wining is unrealistic.
    2. when I say ( positv developments ) I am thinking of the following: the restoration of security and order ( before the people in the big cities were not able to leave their homes ,send their children to school ,or manage their day to day life fearing of being massacred). the country was almost isolated, the western media was tending to believe the Islamist’s version of the story,some fo them had their offices and were gathering money in the famous western capitals, etc. the Algerians had to travel to Tunis or Morocco to apply for a visa because the western empassies were forced to leave the countries or to reduce their capacities.the infrastructure was destroyed or negleted, the foreign debts , the corruption, etc. I think the improvement in the last ten years is considerable. some Wilayas, like Tiziouzou, used to boycott the elections, I think the way Bouteflika treated the Amaziq issue is successful.

    3. as for the young Algerians you mentioned I fully agree, I have no reliable informations about their number, because there are also other nationalities. there is an important thing, I never heard of this problem in the 90th, actually it began in Morocco first. and that makes me wonder because the situation before Bouteflika was worse. I think there are sides that are not Happy and try to make troubles , but this should not justify the failure of the political class.

  4. I would like to add that I never heard of any serious accusations against Bouteflika himself .After He was a brillant foreign minister under Boumedienne he withdrew from political activity for many years. this is an important point because many of the arab dictators can not manage their life as ordinary people , they committed heavy crimes against their own people and abused their office and they are convinced that they will face charges if they resign or being overthrown by their opposition, they may face the same end Saddam Husein faced. Thats why they are inventive when it comes to maintaining their power. I read an article by the famous Algerian feminine writer Ahlam Mostaghanemi, who are very familiar with the Algerian reality, and criticises the post independence period in a wonderful ironic and erotical way, praises Bouteflika as an intellectuell and good educated person.

  5. @sal

    You are obviously one of those “inconditionnels” who will always bow to the King even if he is naked. Your opinions are so, so far from reality and in contradiction with the basics of a balanced political analysis.

    You could be a very good poet in a Caliphe palace but for God sake stop hallucinating when it comes to politics.

    Your dear Bouteflika is a negation of everything good in politics and a bad example to how to govern. He excelled in kissing hands and cheeks in a show not of his supposed high education but a lack of self confidence and a constant need of showing off and attention seeking. Bouteflika is a bad remedy to a true problem. He is prisoner of the the Oumayad spirit and a spiritual son El Hajaj philosophy but with less talent and definitely less depth.

    Do not you remember his recent confessions, in a kafkaian moment, when he admitted that he promised Algerians heaven but took them to hell instead ? Do not you ? Then he went few weeks later begging for a third term. Is this the President you are proud of ?

    We need our Obama for sure and certainly not a decadent person raised in the politics of fake “grandeur”. He stayed trapped right there in this fakeness hailed by sal as a success.

    Strange days.

  6. Quote:”You are obviously ,…,is naked”, this contradicts my nature. When I say ” he is areliable
    man”, I dont mean that I had lent him an amount of maney and he returned it to me. I’m just expressing my impression.I mean that he represents good the Algerian will, this might be interesting for those who plan to travel to Algeria ( officials, investors) and not sure about the development of the political situation, therefore they can rely on what the man says. In other countries I would be skeptical. The man refused many offers to hold an office in the previous governments. He waited patiently antil his rivels failed or changed their minds and his time has come. so, we can speake now to some degree of Bouteflika mania in Algeria.
    Quote:”Your opinions,…,political analysis”, you r right.

    Quote:”You could be,…, hallucinating when it comes to politics”, as long as Kal is happy,I’m going to continue to hallucinate.
    Quote:”Your dear Bouteflika,…,how to govern”,that is your own opinion.
    Quote:”He excelled,…,attention seeking”, kissing cheeks is a common thing in Algeria. Kissing hands, I dont know what you mean pricisely. Its not normal in Algeria. if you mean when he meets people, thats like when the fans meet their beloved star.

    Quote:”Do not you remember,…,are proud of ?”, I dont remember now having heard of this, although I believe you. That can only mean that the man know what he says and that he will gain trust. and when he say that he is of corse aware of his land’s culture .At least an arabic polititian who admitts having done mistakes.

    Quote”We need our Obama for sure”,this has nothing to do with this context if you are referring to my comments above .

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