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Algeria: An Open Letter to Egyptians

From a football match for a place in the South Africa World Cup in 2010 to a full fledged face off and diplomatic stand off, Egyptians and Algerians continue to score points against each other on the ground – off and online.

Following the loss of Egypt in the qualifying match, Algerian blogger Abdulsalam Baroudi from Bilad Talsiman writes an ‘open letter’ to the people of Egypt. He writes:

أبدع المصريون هذه الأيام في”اختراع” الأوصاف القبيحة التي يطلقونها على الجزائر شعبا وحكومة ونظاما كما يقال في لغة المعارضة في العالم العربي .أبدع المصريون في الشتم والسب والقدح والتلفظ بعبارات سوقية وكلام لا سمح المقام هنا بذكره . فنانون ومطربون ومفكرون وكتاب وصحفيون ووو ساسة كبار من الحزب الوطني الحاكم أمعنوا كثيرا في إظهار الولاء لبلدهم ليس بواسطة اللعب النظيف والاعتراف بالهزيمة الكروية ثم البحث عن مصادر الخلل الكامن في الشوفينية الزائدة التي حولتهم إلى حاملين بمجد لن ينالوه ماداموا يفكرون بأسلوب كان يامكان . في المقابل لم أسمع مسئولا جزائريا واحدا سب وشتم المصريين حتى بعد التعدي على حافلة المنتخب الوطني يوم 12 نوفمبر في مطار القاهرة.
The Egyptians are becoming innovative in creating the worst descriptions for Algeria, its people, government or regime, as the opposition in the Arab world refer to it. They have become creative in swearing and cursing and slurring, using derogatory language which cannot be repeated here. Actors, singers, intellectuals, writers, journalists and high officials in the ruling National Democratic Party have gone through lengths to show their allegiance towards their country, not through playing it clean and admitting their loss in football and then looking for the sources of ill in this increased chauvinism which changed them into dreamers of a might which they will never attain as long they have a mentality of the past. In return, I have not heard one Algerian official who has cursed Egyptians even after the attack on our national team's bus on November 12 in Cairo Airport.

On the aftermath of the match, the blogger adds:

ومنذ نهاية مباراة 18 نوفمبر التي جرت في “المريخ” وانتهت بتأهل الخضر إلى مونديال 2010 والإخوة في القاهرة يشعلون دكاكين الفتنة نارا ويصبون الزيت وينفخون في الرماد إلى أن خرجت الجماهير “المصدومة” لمحاصرة سفارة الجزائر والمطالبة بدم السفير الأستاذ عبد القادر حجار هذا الرجل الفاضل، العربي الأصيل، الذي كان يتلقى ومنذ أن ظهر على الساحة السياسية في الجزائر الضربات القاتلة بسبب دفاعه المستميت عن المشرق العربي ومصر وعلاقة الجزائر بالدول العربية وهو الذي تصفه بعض الأوساط الإعلامية بالبعثي المتطرف.
Since the end of the match on November 18, the match that was held in Mars, which ended with Algeria qualifying for the 2010 World Cup and our brothers in Egypt are continuing to fan the flames of sedition. They poured oil and blew on the ashes until the ‘shocked’ fans surrounded the Algerian Embassy and called for the blood of the Ambassador Mr Abdulqader Hajjar, that nobel man, and pure Arab, who has been receiving deadly blows since his emergence on the political scene because of his undying support for the Arab East, and Egypt, and the relationship between Algeria and Arab countries. He has also been described as the extremist Baathist in media circles.

Mr Baroudi continues his letter noting:

لجماهير المؤدبة في القاهرة وأولاد الناس المتسامحين المتعلمين حرقوا العلم الجزائري أمام السفارة الجزائرية في القاهرة . الجماهير المؤدبة الراقية والمتعلمة المتحضرة حاولت التسلل لإقامة السفير حجار و لحرقها …كل هذا و”بندير” المداح “شوبير” والغندور ومصطفى عبده وغيرهم من مزامير الفتنة في مصر شغالة على مدار الساعة من أجل المزيد من التجريح والتهجم والتطاول على بلد عربي وشعب مسلم وصلت حد وصف السيد الفاضل محمد روراوة باليهودي .
The well behaved spectators and the sons of the educated and tolerant people burned the Algerian flag in front of the Algerian Embassy in Cairo. Those civilised and educated fans tried to break into the residence of Ambassador Hajjar and burn it down. All this was happening while the voices of sedition on Egypt were continuing round the clock, hoping for more hurtful attacks against an Arab country and its Muslim people to the extent that Mr Moahmmed Rawarah was described as a Jew.

He then asks:

ما هذا .. أم الدنيا.. ؟؟؟ أم الدنيا التي تسمح بتزوير الشهادات وفبركة قصص الاعتداء وتحرض شعبها على بلد عربي وتثير الأحقاد والضغائن بين 120 مليون عربي ؟؟؟ ..

What is this? The Mother of the World? And does the the Mother of the World allow the forging of testimonials and the fabrication of stories of attacks – and inciting its people on an Arab country as well as stirring hatred and envy among 120 million Arabs???

On Algerian-Egyptian relations, he writes:

قبل شهر فقط قطع الرئيس عبد العزيز بوتفليقة كل علاقاته بصديقه وابن بلدته وزير الخارجية السابق محمد بجاوي بسبب مصر …بسبب مرشح مصر في اليونيسكو وزير الثقافة الحالي وليته يتكلم ويقول للشعب المصري كيف تبرأت الجزائر من وزير خارجيتها السابق محمد بجاوي الذي حاول الترشح ضد حسني واضطر تحت الضغط إلى الانسحاب بتدخل أعلى مؤسسات الدولة الجزائرية و تحصرت الجزائر لخسارة حسني لأنها كانت خسارة عربية وليست مصرية…
About a month ago president Abdelaziz Bouteflika cut off all his relations with his friend, compatriot and former Foreign Minister Mohammed Bajawi because of Egypt, because of the Egyptian candidate for the Unesco post, the current Culture Minister. Why should he talk and tell the Egyptian people how Algeria abandoned its former Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammed Bajawi because he tried to run against Hosni. He withdrew his candidacy after top Algerian international organisations exerted pressure on him. Algeria was anguished by the defeat of Hosni because it was an Arab loss and not just an Egyptian loss.

Baroudi tries to dispel accusations against his country saying:

أما حكاية الرهائن المصريين في الجزائر فأريد أن أسأل: هل يعقل أن ترهن الجزائر آلاف المصريين وتلتزم الحكومة المصرية الصمت كل هذا الصمت على أبنائها؟ اسألوا هل يعقل أن تعتقل دولة 15 ألف مواطن من رعايا بلد آخر؟ لقد اطلعت على بعض الحالات لمصريين يعملون في الجزائر ووجدت أن الشرطة قامت بوضع المصريين من العمال في اقامات محمية بشكل عالي من طرف رجال أمن مع توفير كل ما يحتاجونه من ضروريات وكماليات. فلماذا هذا التهويل بحق المصريين أنفسهم وبث الرعب لدى أهلهم في مصر وعائلاتهم في كل محافظة مصرية؟؟
As for the Egyptians being held ransom in Algeria, I would like to ask: Is it possible to believe that Algeria can hold up thousands of Egyptians and the Egyptian government would continue to remain this silence over the fate of its citizens? Ask if it is possible for one country to detain 15,000 citizens of another country? I asked about the conditions of some Egyptians living in Algeria and found that the Egyptians were placed in “reservations” with high security and were being provided with all their needs and essentials. So why are they exaggerating the situation and horrifying their families across Egypt?

The blogger also discusses the role of video spread across websites showing young Algerian men wielding knives. He explains:

حكاية أخرى أشبه بالمسلسلات السابعة المصرية وتخص فيديو اليوتيب لمشجعين جزائريين قدموا الخرطوم وبيدهم السكاكين ، وجدت هذا الفيديو وقد انتشر في المئات من المواقع الكترونية وهو بكل بساطة تصوير لتجمع شباني خلال فترة العدوان الإسرائيلي على غزة من الفترة الرابطة ما بين نهاية شهر ديسمبر 2008 ومطلع شهر جانفي 2009 كما أن الفيديو ظهر على موقع اليوتيب قبل مباراة الخرطوم وظهر أن صاحبه الذي استخدمه للفتنة والإثارة من خلال ما كان موضحا من تحذير كتب عليه ، صاحب الفيديو قام يوم الجمعة 20 نوفمبر 2009 بحذفه من الموقع ويكفي القيام بعملية بحث بسيطة لمعرفة ذلك وهذا بعدما أكتشف العالم أن الفيديو هو فضيحة تدين مروجي الفتنة والأكاذيب ضد الجزائر وشبابها وشعبها.

Another story which looks like a scene from an Egyptian soap opera concerns a YouTube video which shows Algerian spectators in Khartoum with knives in their hands. I found that this video had spread in hundreds of website is simply football of a youth gathering during the Israeli aggression on Gaza shot in the period between the end of December 2008 and January 2009. This video resurfaced on YouTube before the match in Khartoum and its owner used it to spread sedition through the warnings/threats which it contained. On November 20, 2009, its owner deleted it from the site. It is enough to know that after a simple search and the world has realised that this video is a scandal which implicates those who want to spread sedition and lies against Algeria and its citizens and youth.

In conclusion, Baroudi writes:

في الأخير أريد أن أضيف كلمة واحدة فقط … أعرف الكثير ممن سافروا للسودان ..طلبة من جامعات تلمسان وهران سيدي بلعباس وغيرهم صيادلة وأطباء و مسؤولي مصالح إدارية وتجار ورجال أعمال وأساتذة ومعلمين “خاصة وأن قطاع التربية في إضراب” لكنني لم أعرف صاحب سوابق واحد سافر للخرطوم وبالمناسبة أدعوا أتمنى من كل الزملاء التعريف بالذين سافروا للسودان وإجراء المقابلات الصحفية معهم وتقديمهم للعالم لأن الجزائريين في النهاية لم يحملوا لا سكاكين ولا سيوف ولم يجدوا لا نعاج ولا كباش… فمتى يتوقف هذا العبث يا أهل مصر ومتى يتكلم أخياركم يا أهل مصر ..
At the end, I would like to add one word only… I know a lot of those who travelled to Sudan.. students from the universities of Talsiman, Wahran, Sidi Belabbas and others. They also included pharmacists, doctors, officials, merchants, businessmen, professors and teachers – especially since the education sector is holding a strike. However, I don't know anyone with a bad record who has travelled to Khartoum and I would like to call upon everyone to identify those who went to Sudan and conduct interview with them and introduce them to the rest of the world. This is because the Algerians did not carry knives or swords and did not find any goats or sheep. When will the people of Egypt stop this fallacy and when will the good Egyptians speak up.

2 comments

  • kirolos

    if you are sad about burning the arabic algerian flag infront of the algerian embassy in egypt, therefore the egyptions have to rise against those algerian boys and girls who stepped with the hired cars tires on the biggest whole sister flag. Please try to apologize politely instead of searching for fake evidence, if you still hanging the arabic unity.

  • Omar Azzam

    Let’s agree that for every action there is a reaction. You stated, and i insist on this naming, the egyptians’ reactions. Why didn’t you discuss the algerians’ actions.
    First: I was very insulted with the video of the algerians burning the egyptian flags. This happened before the 14 November match and it happened again in the Cairo stadium at 14 November. I was there that day in the stadium.
    Egyptians did burn the algerian flag(which it totally wrong) after the 18 Novmber match and after they heard about the things that happened in Sudan.

    Second: The events that happened infront of the algerian embassy only started at 19 November, after the sudan match. NO INJURIES AND NO DAMAGE TO ALGERIAN PROPERTY(that I heard of to be honest, maybe something minor happened but nothing big happened). Let’s see wot happened in algeria for the companies Orascom telecom, Arab Contractors, and egypt air. These events happened 15 November.

    Finally, U only commented on the video of the young yielding knives, wot about the other videos. wot about the calling of known actors, singers, and parliment speakers asking for help and to be saved. Y would these people fabricate this story. I totally believe that egyptian fans were terrorized. I did see videos that were very clear that they were in sudan and the attackers were algerians. 21 people were proven injured after the sudan match.

    I am not saying that both sides aren’t mistaken. But what im saying that egyptians action are only reactions.

    You have stated only one side of the story. Ur power to write articles should be a responsibility to be fair and balanced regardless of nationality.

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