Hope

Hope For Algeria.

There is a new voice in Algeria: one that isn’t from the days of the French Occupation, one that doesn’t carry the echoes of the bloody and brutal civil war of days past. This voice, however, is as strong as ever amongst the Algerian people. Angry for attention, for opportunities to be heard, for positions of employment, for a future, and most importantly, this group wants the recognition it deserves. However, the Old Guard of Algeria, trapped amidst dated paradigms and a pattern of thinking that is decades behind the times, refuses to listen.
Algeria's presidential candidate and former prime minister Benflis delivers his speech during a rally in Tipaza
Now serving a 4th term under a constitution that mandates only 2, the voices within the ranks of the military and the state-run media continue to dictate their illusion of what is good for the Algerian people. This approach, however, has only deepened the rift of communication between the government and the Algerian people. In 2004, it was this exact disconnect between the power and the people that soured Ali Benflis toward resigning from the political sphere: everything he worked hard to achieve. For years, Mr. Benflis worked on the local level, on a town-by-town basis, personally visiting the people he pledged his life and career to serve.

Fast-forward to a new decade. The protests are growing in fervor, in mass and overall disdain for the powers that be. The FLN continues to promise peace and progress, but has only succeeded in sowing the seeds of a dictatorship the likes of which North Africa doesn’t need. The FLN has only acted in namesake only, delivering everything but its goal of liberation. To make matters worse, Bouteflika’s health continues to wane to the point that he is rarely even located within the country he governs, spending the majority of his time under watch in French hospital. In the wake of national tragedies, Mr. Bouteflika is often nowhere to be found. In the wake of his declining health, an invisible government cast a greater shadow over the Algerian people: whose concerns and demands fall on deaf ears.

As written by a well-known Algerian author, journalist, and Prix Goncourt finalist wrote in response to Bouteflika’s 4th inauguration as president, “Shame upon you, Bouteflika! You have no shame for our martyrs, for your age, for your own sickness, for what you have done to this country… You have humiliated us… You push us into exile by taking our country from us… What do you want? More money? More gold? More praise? More glory? We will give them to you. Just name your price… Why do you want to carry your country to your grave? To bury our nation alive with you?”

Like the heroics that liberated this great nation from the French, and put a stop to the endless bloodshed of the war, Ali Benflis understands the country’s need for change and the desire to acknowledge a new voice of the people. With a resume that shows a proven track record of human rights, economic growth, a deep understanding of justice, and an undying will to improve the conditions of the Algerian people, it’s time for a new National Hero.

It’s time to put a stop to fraud, it’s time to listen to the people, and it’s time for a government that actually follows its own constitution. With the rise of the new opposition party and Ali Benflis leading the way, Algeria will once again regain its voice.