Independence Day, Algiers

Independence Day and my last day in Algiers. Half-hearted celebrations, a few more flags and police than usual. Algerians seem largely to ignore the national holiday, with many shops open for business and young couples strolling on the sea front. Nationalism is perhaps here, as elsewhere, only a ghost of contradictions, summoned as troubled cultural expression and conflicted by ethnic grievances. It is also a presiding spirit of resistance to the economic dispossession and police control of Algerians by an oil-rich elite at home, as well to the marginalisation of Algerian minorities in France. It was this spirit that imbued the carnivalesque repossession of public space by Algerians in the centres of Marseille and Paris during the 2010 World Cup.

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