ALŽIR – ALGERIA – ALGERIE – الجزائر‎

Kecaua dzamija- Ketchaoua Mosque

Kecaua dzamija- Ketchaoua Mosque

Letnji dan na plazi-Summer day on the beach

Letnji dan na plazi-Summer day on the beach

Nema pravde u Alziru-pise na grafitu-Graffiti says there is no justice in Algeria

Nema pravde u Alziru-pise na grafitu-Graffiti says there is no justice in Algeria

Pogled na luku sa tvrdjave Kazba- Port view from the Casbah fortress

Pogled na luku sa tvrdjave Kazba- Port view from the Casbah fortress

Prizor u sokacima Kazbe-A scene in Casbah alleys

Prizor u sokacima Kazbe-A scene in Casbah alleys

Prodavnica novina u glavnom gradu-Newsstand in the capital

Prodavnica novina u glavnom gradu-Newsstand in the capital

Kamena pustinja na jugu zemlje-Stone desert in the country`s South

Kamena pustinja na jugu zemlje-Stone desert in the country`s South

Mediteranska arhitektura Alzira-Algiers' Mediterranean architecture

Mediteranska arhitektura Alzira-Algiers’ Mediterranean architecture

Kuca od kamena u planinskom masivu Hogar u Sahari-Stone house in the Hogar mountain range in Sahara

Kuca od kamena u planinskom masivu Hogar u Sahari-Stone house in the Hogar mountain range in Sahara

Zgrada unutar Kazbe-A building inside Kazbah

Zgrada unutar Kazbe-A building inside Kazbah

Na jugu Alzira-In the South of Algeria

Na jugu Alzira-In the South of Algeria

Mediteranska arhitektura Alzira-Algiers' Mediterranean architecture

Mediteranska arhitektura Alzira-Algiers’ Mediterranean architecture

Pijaca u pustinjskom gradu-A market in Tamanrasset

Pijaca u pustinjskom gradu-A market in Tamanrasset

Zgrada glavne poste-Great Post Office building

Zgrada glavne poste-Great Post Office building

Kraj radog dana-End of the working day

Kraj radog dana-End of the working day

Posmatram nestvaran mesečev pejzaž sa jednog od vrhova planinskog masiva Hogar, u centralnoj Sahari, na jugu Alžira. Francuski misionar Šarl Fuko ovde je, od kamena, napravio svoje utočište i sklonio se od sveta. Dugo godina živeo je među Tuarezima, pomagao im, proučavao njihovu kulturu, napisao jedini rečnik njihovog jezika i, 1916. godine, poginuo od njihove ruke. Divio sam se njegovom entuzijazmu u ovom kršu, na krovu Sahare, gde je petnaest godina živeo kao pustinjak, spavao pod zvezdama i budio se među oblacima. Posle devedeset godina, papa ga je proglasio mučenikom.
Tuarezi, za razliku od Berbera na severu, nastanjuju jug Alžira. Oni su poseban narod, jedini čiji muškarci potpuno uvijaju lice. Kažu da to čine da bi sakrili emocije, a i da bi se zaštitili od pustinjskog peska, kada u dugim karavanima idu na jug. Nemo prolazeći kroz stare gradove i oaze u dolini Mzab, osluškuju glasove mujezina sa minareta. Tako je vekovima sa narodom kome je Kuran jedini zakon, a Alah jedini sudija.
Francuzi su gospodarili Alžirom još od 1830. godine i proglasili ga svojom teritorijom. Bitke za slobodu i konačnu nezavisnost bile su žestoke i duge jer su se generacije Francuza rađale u ovoj zemlji, smatrajući je svojom drugom domovinom.
Istoimeni glavni grad, koji veoma podseća na Nicu i Marselj, bio je poprište mnogih borbi, a posebno čuvena i nikad osvojena jeste njegova tvrđava Kazba. To je najstariji deo grada, sa uskim uličicama i mrežom podzemnih hodnika i katakombi, kuda su revolucionari uspevali da umaknu žandarmeriji.
Posmatram luku i krovove sa najviše tačke ovog istorijskog mesta u čiji se lavirint može ući samo sa vodičem koji dobro poznaje stanovnike. Jedino tako postajete prijatelj, jer je nepoverenje ljudi još uvek veliko zbog čestih pojava terorizma. Kazba je tako u mnogome doprinela oslobađanju Alžira šezdesetih godina XX veka. De Gol je priznao nezavisnost te države, a prvi predsednik postao je lepi Ahmed Ben Bela – i danas živ i aktivan –  simpatija moje davno preminule bake.
Proveo sam divne trenutke u ovoj zemlji uprkos tome što su me upozoravali na sve bombe koje su u prošlosti podmetane na njenim trgovima. Nisam se na njih osvrtao jer sam tražio nešto drugo, nešto zbog čega sam ovu zemlju posebno zavoleo: raznolikost njenih stanovnika, plemena, karavane u Sahari, stare gradove čije su zgrade napravljene od žutih zemljanih cigala, ali i još starije ostatke Rimskog carstva, duž cele obale Alžira. Ta ogromna zemlja pruža putniku istraživaču mnogo više nego što se može zamisliti. Alah je svedok.

Jul 2004.

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I observe a surreal, moon-like landscape from one of the peaks of the Hoggar mountain range, in the central Sahara at Algeria’s South. Here, Charles de Foucauld, a French missionary, built his recluse out of stone and withdrew from the world. He lived amongst the Tuaregs, he supported them, studied their culture and wrote the only dictionary of their language, and, after many years of being one of them, perished at their hands in 1916. I admired his enthusiasm – he lived as a hermit for 15 years in the barren mountains on the roof of the Sahara, he reposed under the starry sky and awoke amongst the clouds. Ninety years later, he was beatified by the Pope.
The Tuaregs inhabit the South, unlike the Berbers who live in the North of the country. They are quite unique people – their men are the only ones who cover their faces entirely. They say it is so as to hide their feelings, but also to protect themselves from the dessert sand on their long caravan journeys to the South. Silently passing through the ancient cities and oases in the M’zab Valley, they yearn to hear the muezzin’s call from the minarets. For centuries, this people’s only law has been the Koran and Alah their only judge.
Algeria was ruled by the French since 1830 when they proclaimed it the French territory. The fight for freedom and ultimate independence was fierce and long-lasting, as many generations of Frenchmen had been born there and considered Algeria their second homeland. The capital city of Algiers very much resembles Nice and Marseilles. It has been a site of many battles, and most famously, the battle of Casbah, the fortress that has never been conquered by the French. This is the oldest part of the city, with narrow streets, underground passages and catacombs that the insurgents used in order to escape from the French gendarmerie.
I gaze at the port and the rooftops, from a vantage point high above this historical city, which like a labyrinth, can be navigated only with the help of a local streetwise guide. That is the only way to befriend the locals who are still very distrustful because of the omnipresent threat of terrorist attack.
The role of Casbah was crucial in regaining Algeria’s independence, which was won in the early 1960s. De Gaulle recognised the state’s independence and the handsome Ahmed Ben Bella, (my long deceased grandma’s heart-throb), who is still alive and kicking, became Algeria’s first president.
I spent many wonderful moments in this country, despite all the warnings about the bombs that have been planted on its main squares in the past. I paid no heed to them, as I was looking for something else here, something special that made me fall in love with this country. I studied and compared its peoples, tribes, Saharan caravans, ancient cities built of ochre clay, and even more ancient remnants of the Roman Empire, stretching all along the coast. This vast country offers to an inquisitive traveler a multitude of possibilities hard to imagine at first.
Allah is my witness.

July 2004

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