Friday 14 January 2011
Algeria unrest rooted in long-simmering resentment
14.01.2011 - This month's protests in Algeria were some of the largest ever by the country's youth. In the wake of the events, observers told Magharebia that the underlying anger stems not only from economic factors but a deep-seated sense of neglect and exclusion among young people.
"These young people are not rebelling against the high price of sugar and oil, but against the misery of daily existence which has gone on for too long now, without the slightest glimmer of hope on the horizon," explained Baaziz, a singer, who broke his silence to express solidarity with the rioters.
The ambitions of young Algerians are modest, according to a 2009 Gallup poll. The Silatech-sponsored survey found that 40% dream of starting a family, a third of landing a good job and 35% dream of leading a balanced religious and spiritual life.
Although the unease felt by young Algerians can be seen in their desire to flee their country, a large part of the young people interviewed said they were "bound hand and foot", as the study put it, and unable to live the life of which they dreamed. Young Algerians complain in particular about the barriers which stand in their way. They do not feel "involved" in their country's plans for progress.
Algerians seem divided on the methods used by rioters to express their anger. Now that the ill-feeling has subsided to some extent, it is time to assess the damage. The destruction caused during the riots was, in the words of the interior minister, "immense". Young people attacked public and private property, including banks, schools, luxury shops, car dealerships and factories.
The violence has been widely viewed as an expression of young people's frustration and a result of the muzzling of dissenting voices and the ban on peaceful demonstrations.
Posted by sysiphus at 13:52