Archive for the ‘Annaba’ Tag

Receipt for Photograph of John Perivolaris Taken at Studio Chérifi, Annaba, 30 June 2010. Cost 80 Dinars

Photograph of John Perivolaris Taken at Studio Chérifi, Annaba, 30 June 2010. Cost: 80 Dinars

Wall, Annaba

Cigarette Stall, Cours de la Révolution, Annaba

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

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.

Bin Laden Ali Baba

This morning I found out why my contacts in Annaba have avoided taking me into the dozen or so streets that go to make up the Vieille Ville overlooking the port. Slipping my minders, I had decided to explore this area in the coolness of the early hours. Seeing me take out my iPhone, two young men incongruously holding birdcages with goldfinches immediately approached me. Illustrating their franco-Arabic pidgin with graphic gestures they explained my predicament. I had wandered into an Islamist controlled neighbourhood where, in their words, the law of ‘Bin Laden – Ali Baba’, would shortly ensure that, first, the hand in which I held my iPhone would be cut off. Following this, my throat would be slit before, finally, I would be relieved of my camera bag and left in the street as the life drained from my body. They pointed out the wall graffiti that marked out the boundaries of the fiefdom into which I had trespassed before they led me to safety, one on either side of me, to the accompaniment of caged birdsong.

Votez Zidane

Votez, Annaba