Fireworks above Sidi Fredj,in Algiers, 4 July 2012. (Photo Louafi Larbi. Reuters)
A different 4 July fireworks: this one happened on the evening of 4 July in Algiers to start the celebration of today’s (5 July) 50th anniversary of Independence. Algeria will celebrate for a whole year, the government has so ordered. No comments: it would take a full book-length essay to so much as approach the complexity, the joys, the horrors of those fifty years. After the state-ordered fireworks (from China), the (Lebanese) entertainment and mantle for president Bouteflika (how old, he? who was already active during the 8-year war of independence… & still runs the show), after all that, whereto? For when the Algerian spring? (Though the Algerians, having seen in the late eighties how a slight “democratic” opening can bring in the one organized force worse than the 1-party systen, namely the religious fanatics, which in their case led to a decade of insane blood-letting, are weary of such possibilities. ) Which reminds me of one of the great Algerian’s writers — poet & novelist Kateb Yacine’s — “last testament,” a warning that still needs to be heeded even as a active search for more pluralistic democratic means of governing need to be fought for.
Ps. Just found the video below which shows the “mantle” mentioned above & more details of the on-going celebrations: