Algeria: Aging Power, Longevity and Credibility
Too many old Guard, no Young replacements on the horizon — and the people remain in misery – but will they act? will collective action on the part of the people make for change?
By Abdennour Toumi
One measures a nation by its natural resources, military power, political system and social and cultural virtues. This is stated by both the youth of the society and its leaders.
The ongoing Algerian political parties, who maneuver on the eve of the parliamentarian and municipal elections have demonstrated a political trajectory mainly based on suspicion and zero trust from the voters, despite the political ambition and agendas of the country’s leaders and politicians at every level.
Naturally politicians know when to leave political narcissism to the media and the followers, putting the nation’s stakes and future first. These days, in following the French Socialist Party’s primary competition, Mr. Arnaud Montebourg recently visited Algeria, a land of his mother’s ancestors, speaking to the local media on the matter, and meeting the local and national authorities about a new vision between the two countries on the banks of the Mediterranean basin.
Leaders are supposed to answer their people’s demand to govern and deliver hope through a political program and long term strategy. Mr. Montebourg and his opponents in the Socialist Party are fighting to get their party nomination to represent their party in the finals this April, 2017, ultimately to serve and lead his country for five years in office.
In the meantime, looking at those of virtually next French president age, while thinking about Algeria’s leaders’ age category, the FLN Party just appointed a leader who is an octogenarian, so that of the country’s President and General Vice-Defense Minister — adding to the octogenarian list the career longevity of the House Speaker and Senate President in the system; meanwhile, quincagenarians public servants, hotel managers and teachers are requesting an early retirement, even though the retirement age in Algeria is 65!
In terms of image, politicians in France and the West in general don’t have any right to think and choose for their people; on the contrary, politicians show them accountability and civility. The Socialist Party’s primary candidates, even the darling girl of France’s extreme-right wing are quincagenarians. They were born post-Algeria’s independence war, an economic reconstruction time and a politically cohesive era in their country.
Watching Mr. Valls, Mr. Hamon, Mr. Montebourg and Ms. Le Pen speaking to their followers and standing as future credible leaders of their country led to ask: How many Arab leaders are quincagenarians? There have been three.
Two of them inherited the throne, like Prince William will one day! The third was brought to power by his sectarian tribe after his father’s death. He has killed more than 300,000, forced six million to internal displacement and four million to exile in neighboring countries and Europe, according to the latest UNHCR Syrian refugees report.
Thus one regards the remaining days of the departing U.S. President, a quacaragenarian, in his today’s final speech as President, making his two-term farewell, leaving his legacy to political historians and looking forward to new projects to be useful and serve his country and people.
Then one comes back to Algeria’s political reality, thinking of the youth category and their political leaders, even the soccer’s national team coach, a 67-year-old, is in preparation for the Africa Cup next week in Gabon; hence the generation’s conflict seems to be a factor of destabilization for the national team as that of the country’s management.
France is Mecca for the Arab regimes and their families, especially the so-called former colonies of the elite and the “high yuppy class,” or simply the former protectorates and occupied countries. The Arab regimes and their followers imitate the French royal “art and manner” lifestyle, from the silverware to the daily lexicon in their dining rooms. Why don’t they imitate France’s politicians’ behavior? As uncle (A’ami) Hadj Ahmed, a former immigrant who lived forty years in Lille, put it, “When it comes to political modernity, they prefer the local customs of tribalism.”
Knowing the fact that France is facing a difficult financial time and national security challenges, the latter has become a major menace to the country and its citizens. Ironically, this threat is caused by elements of terrorism linked with the Arab leaders’ citizens.
Do the Arab leaders and to some point their counterparts in France know that one cannot fight radicalism with martial laws? If those octogenarian and septuagenarian Arab leaders respected their people, offering socioeconomic and political opportunities to meet meritocracy and democracy, their nations would have been measured like Mr. Montebourg, Mr. Hamon and Ms. Le Pen’s nation: by the rule of law.
Eventually, they would have a generation of audacious politicians and entrepreneurs — not monsters and a hopeless and lost generation, which is falling into the arms of terrorists ad smugglers for al-harga (illegal immigrants) who prefer embarking in deadly boats just to escape the continuous hogra (injustice).
Whatever the outcome of the French elections this spring, the result could engender a hung parliament (a minority victory for the winning party if Marine wins the Presidency). Thus a scenario is seriously shaping up to fit à la Trump in the U.S. last fall;
nevertheless, it would lead to a possible coalition of young and a new generation of politicians that would rather have a hung parliament than a parliament that allows its country’s politicians to be hanged and its people to struggle in misery.
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