Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The plight of Algerians, the plight of Arabs around the world

"Dignity and not hunger are driving Algerians to illegal emmigration", this is an article in al Quds newspaper, in which the writer casts doubts on the traditional view given by European countries of starving, desparate Africans trying to cross the Mediterranean sea. Kamel Bil'Abed lost his son, a 25 year old educated man, somewhere in that sea. In his attempt to locate relatives of other people who had suffered a similar fate, he found that many of them had been lawyers, policemen and graduates who had despaired of finding any decent opportunities in Algeria. The educational system has improved massively since 1962, but an economy which relied on oil and gas revenues has failed to generate enough jobs for the countries people. In Algeria people who throw themselves to the mercy of the sea in search of a better life on the other side are known as the "Burned" حراقة, as they are thought to be burning themselves in taking so high a risk and for a life of poverty working jobs in conditions nearing that of slavery. Personally I've been there and done that and I think that allows me to say that it is a mental condition which is propagated by everyone from friends and family to corrupt and incompetent governments that push you away from your home in search of a mythical "better life". That and everything you could ever want is sometimes right in front of your very nose. I believe it is only a form of insanity which could drive anyone to be of "the burned".

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