The difficult existence for blacks (and Christians) in Algeria
The Arab-Muslim racism.
They are more than 20,000 African immigrants in Algeria. They face popular hostility, live in poverty, suffer different forms of injustice. Children are particularly cruel to them.
« Kahlouch (black in Algerian dialect), moussekh (dirty), nigro (nigro), get lost! ».
He was just passing by. Behind him, a dozen boys were laughing and making fun of him. The young man stops and cheats them with the eyes. The boys stand in front of him without daring to approach and continue to sing their insults: « Nigro, Nigro » The echo of their voices as shouting insults, amuse them. They scream higher.
One of them, a little boy smiles while he throws the first stone. The young man flees and hide in an alley in the neighborhood of Bab-el-Oued. An other stone land at the place he had left.
It was three weeks ago in Alger, the capital of a country where it is difficult to accept strangers, even less to love them, especially when they are not European. The scene is a banality that no longer shocks. Nearly a routine for the Chinese and sub-Saharan people, who are becoming more and more in Algeria. « They are dirty, they are bandits who bring us diseases and problems, » claims an algerian without shame who left the country as a child more than four decades ago.
The sub-Saharan work without being paid or receiving modest sums, is attacked, offended and exploited without being able to complain. They face popular hostility, live in poverty, suffer from different forms of injustice, but always in silence. Illegal status forces them to that. To hold out, « we must show a lot of philosophy, » says Stanislas. He may be right when we know that algerians are also racist against other non-Arab communities . The Algerians do not like the Kabyles whom they suspect of being bad Muslims who will become Christians as soon as the balance of power changes. The Kabylians on their side see the Algerians as a residue of the different colonialism , French, Arab and Turkish.
The algerians feel superior to all. Everyone agrees to reject those who are not algerians and even more the black, Asian or non-Muslim faith. It’s even harder to be a Christian! « It is racism in Algeria, as in other places, but it is true that children are particularly violent with us in the streets, » said Mohamed Hadj. He is one of many Nigerian sub-Saharan who spend their days here for bartering biznes and take the pulse of the city. He seeks potential buyers to sell their carpet stock. « Unlike grown ups, even though they do not think less, children are loose, but you know, that does not prevent us from living! » He says after a long discussion about the quality of his carpets. Ignore racism is the best weapon against racism? « Racism is everywhere, but there are many other things. I personally have decided to take only the best of algerians. » The brown and pink rosary between the fingers, a sign of belonging to Islam, seems to be the Nigerian well integrated into community. His secret? Being a Muslim. This is far from being the case for most sub-Saharan immigrants who settled in the country. But they have one thing in common, that’s modesty. They, as most people, have a hard time talking about racism. To condemn it, to explain it or fight it. They are hostages of a very unpleasant situation.
Due to their illegal situation, they undergo several forms of injustice in all silence. « But in Algeria, there is worse than anti-black racism, » says Stanislas. « I’m a Christian and here thas is harder than being black. »
Religious racism in Algeria, another story, much more violent ..