Archive for September 10th, 2011


The Arab Spring And The Algerian Question Mark

Human Wrongs WatchTRANSCEND

By Abbas Aroua*

Many people keep asking why Algeria did not catch the train of revolutions and participate in the 2011 “Arab Spring”. Is it going to be an exception? Is it going to miss this “historic window” to liberate itself? The last country in the region to get rid of a ruthless corrupt military dictatorship? Are Algerians less determined to grasp freedom and decent life than Tunisians, Egyptians, Yemenis and others?

Image: Djamel Boussouh | Wikimedia Commons

To answer those meaningful and legitimate questions, we need a brief historical overview.

The Algerian people, who moved in 1962 from a domination by a brutal French colonial power to that of an indigenous repressive power, were the first in the Arab world to engage, in the late 1980s, in a nonviolent struggle against despotism and corruption.

The movement started in a few eastern cities and spread to central Algeria and reach Algiers in October 1988. Peaceful demonstrations were crushed through a heavy military intervention resulting in hundreds of youngsters killed.

The blood of these innocents forced the regime to allow for some opening in politics and the media.

The Algerians experienced for the first time freedom of expression and practiced their civil rights. Dozens of newspapers were launched and over sixty political parties were set up representing the wide Algerian political spectrum. For three years (1989-1991) Algeria lived what would be called a “democratic parenthesis”.

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