Roman Stone, Tipaza: Postcard Sent by Djihed Afifi and Received in Manchester by Joseph McGonagle

Glimpses of an Industrial Past: Postcard Sent by Ed Welch and Received in Manchester by Joseph McGonagle

Quebec, UK: Postcard Sent by Ed Welch and Received in Manchester by Joseph McGonagle

Building by Fernand Pouillon, Seraidi

A respite from the noise, dirt, and restless frustration of Algerian reality below to the clear light, air, and silence of the mountain village of Seraidi. For my friend, Atef, the contrast is startling between the divine perfection of nature above, untouched by man or politics, and the man-made hells of colony and post-colony, below. Up here, a moment’s glimpse of heaven before one remembers that Seraidi was an epicentre of violent unrest in the 1990s

Wall, Annaba

Cigarette Stall, Cours de la Révolution, Annaba

Cigarette Vendor and Fan of Adolf Hitler, Cours de la Révolution, Annaba, 3 July 2010

Young Post-Colony

Young post-colony

Loaded tight on football,

Noise, cheap cigarettes

Nation

I was surprised by a surge of patriotic outrage at the Second World War British cemetery, on the outskirts of Annaba. It was moving silently to contemplate the ranks of unexpectedly well kept gravestones. Marking the loss of so many young men killed in this corner of North Africa, they stood on neatly mown grass amid what otherwise was the usual midden of Algeria’s public spaces. It was out of my respectful silence that I barely contained an eruption of violent anger when I was peremptorily ejected by a brutish guard for not being in possession of the official authorisation that one inevitably needs in Algeria to perform any activity, however trivial.

A Window to the Outside, Annaba

Photographed at an internet cafe, where talk revolved around the illicit departure on the same evening of two local fishing boats bound for Sardinia. Wooden, worm-eaten, and built to hold three or four comfortably, they each carried a dozen aspiring emigrants on the approximately 20-hour journey to Sardinia, across the treacherously calm waters of the Mediterranean. The fare for passage: about £300.