BY: Hana Saada
PEJOURNAL – French media maneuvers continue attempting to sap the stability of Algeria with the broadcast of biased documentaries aiming at spreading falsehood and tarnishing the image of the country that kicked out the French colonizer from its territories in 1962.
The French television channel M6 broadcasted, two months, a program, entitled: “Enquête Exclusive” (Exclusive Inquiry). This 75-minute report, bearing the name: “Algeria, The Land of All revolts” which was filmed clandestinely in a “hidden camera” mode, portrays falsified and biased testimonies on Hirak “, the popular peaceful protests that erupted in the country in February 2019, demanding a change of regime and the end of corruption.
The documentary exposes the testimonies of three young Algerians on the so-called “the patriarchal mode of the Algerian society and the uncertain future awaiting them in this North African country” in a move blatantly aimed at distorting the image of Algeria and cracking the unwavering trust established between the Algerian people and their state institutions. It is not fortuitous that these watchdog media, equipped to carry out their agendas, are mobilized to hit the stability of Algeria at a crucial time.
Just before the referendum on reforming our country’s Constitution, the first fundamental law in Algeria and considered as the cornerstone in building the New Algeria, dreamed of by all Algerians which took place on November 1st, a highly symbolic date referring to the outbreak of the Algerian glorious liberation war against the French colonization, the produced documentary came out; attempting to seed disaccord between people and the state institutions.
This documentary is a cliché of a cliché, failing to adequately represent the diverse social nature of the country. It portrays a youth who dream of putting an end to “a breathless political system” and lifting the leaden cover that weighs on a still very traditional, ultra conservative and patriarchal society.
The Algerian ministry of Communication, for its part, denounced this move, announcing its decision to no longer authorize the French television channel “M6” to operate in Algeria after the broadcast of this documentary bearing a biased look at Hirak, produced by a team with a fake filming authorization.
The Ministry of Communication recalled, in this context, that the editorial staff of the French channel M6 had submitted, on March 6, 2020, a request for press accreditation for members of the team of the program “Enquête Exclusive”, for the shooting of a documentary on “the promotion of the economic and tourist development of the city of Oran, as well as the multiculturalism which makes the richness of our country”.
This request, continued the Algerian ministry,” received an unfavorable response from the services of the Ministries of Communication and Foreign Affairs”, noting that “in the end, the team produced a completely different documentary broadcast on Sunday, September 20, 2020 at 11:10 p.m. (French time) under the title: + Algeria, the Land of Revolts +, with a biased look on the Hirak “.
“Lasting 75 minutes, this documentary film directed by the so-called Dahmane Ziane, deals with + Hirak + and Algerian youth, based on testimonies from three young Algerians on the future in their country,” the statement recalled.
Basing on the synopsis of that documentary, it is also a question of relating the + despair + of certain Algerians, who are considering only one option: to flee the country. A country where – filming is very difficult-,” as suspected the producer-presenter Bernard De la Villardière.
According to the Ministry of Communication, “the latter admitted to having resorted to the use of discreet cameras before pointing to the choice of collaborating with many anonymous journalists who worked for what he claims to be an “ investigation”.
“In the end, supposed to reveal + the bankruptcy of the Algerian regime +, the product includes three insipid testimonies drawing on the most reductive clichés.
Among the portraits, that of Noor, one of the Algerian fashion and beauty influencers who made a fortune in Algeria, becoming a young businesswoman, married and mother. She demonstrates how her husband accompanies her everywhere.
Then, Nardjes, a dancer actress who, for her part, decides to live in the West to flee a country considered “patriarchal, very traditional and ultra-conservative, where women are abused and deprived from their rights and freedom. She aspires to live as she said “without worrying about the eyes of others” .
Finally, Ayoub who “dreams of seeing an Islamic state born in Algeria”.
These baseless testimonies are far away from the truth, depicting anecdotes without depth and unrelated to the socio-economic reality (in constant improvement) and political (democratic openess) as illustrated by Algerian Ministry of Communication.
One question that may rise in this vein among many others, and torment many minds: why does this report tend to class the Algerian people in two expressly contradictable types; namely; “westernized progressives” on one side; and on the other the militants of a Political Islam “imported from elsewhere!”.
Isn’t that too simplistic and reductive cliché? Definitely, Yes.
The majority of Algerians do not belong to either of the two shortcuts. They are moderate, enjoying their rights and freedoms far away from any vulgarity and intolerance.
This is not the first time France mobilize its media to attack Algeria as French media devote themselves to the production and dissemination of film reports and other journalistic products, in the vile goal of trying to demotivate the Algerian people, especially youth. There was similar outcry, last May, over the broadcast of a documentary on the Hirak by French public broadcaster France 5. This documentary on the Algerian popular protest movement, known as the Hirak, sparked a diplomatic spat between Algeria and France and received a torrent of criticism from the Algerian people as does this one.
Earlier, France public channel “France 5” aired a documentary, directed by Franco-Algerian journalist Mustapha Kessous, under the title: “Algerie, mon amour” “Algeria, My Love” , in an vicious and malicious attempt to discredit the Hirak and Algerian youth. In addition to another one broadcast on the former colonial power’s Parliamentary Channel, bearing the title : “The Promises of the Dawn”.
France 5 report featured five young Algerians who are challenging as they said “the country’s existing socio-cultural taboos involving sex and alcohol.” They described the life in Algeria as “suffocating” and “unhappy” after explaining how a couple kissing in the streets is viewed by some as an “offence to decency” and how, according to them, modern social attitudes are at odds with traditional values.
The report went further; attempting to distort the image of the historical National Liberation Front that led the Algerian liberation war, blacken the two former presidents, Ahmed Ben Bella and Houari Boumediene, by talking about their period of rule.
The reportage jumped directly into the black decade, detailing in talking about a conflict between the army and armed groups, and broadcasting images of the massacres and the dead. Accordingly, they dubbed Algeria “North Korea in Africa” with “colonial practices.”
The chosen young people in this reportage have nothing to do with the authenticity of the Algerian people, some of whom described them as devil worshipers, deviants and homosexuals. The report showed them performing “strange dances” in enclosed spaces.
They talked about “freedoms”; In their opinion, you drink alcohol without anyone bothering you and live with your lover or partner in concubinage without getting married and without anyone asking you. They pictured women being “harassed” and attacked the family law .. And what has been said, “It is impossible to live freely as you want .. This causes you problems in Algeria. ”
Those statements are stereotypical and pitiful depiction of Algerian youth as superficial slice of society eyeing at westernizing the society and complaining about futilities like drinking alcohol in public or kissing each other in streets or committing adultery freely without punishments. Algeria is a modern Muslim country that respects the teachings of Islam, while guarantying the freedoms that do not attack decency and rights of all walks of the society, including women who are more and more empowered, receiving the best education and occupying the best posts in the country, including Ministers, Generals, Judges, Pilots, and Deputies with parliamentary immunity.
Algerian women played a pivotal role in the war of independence and the subsequent course of the government, enjoying equalities in many domains, and leading their lives in various social classes and regions, including the right to choose their husbands or to get divorced freely without persuading them, studying abroad and travelling.
Noting that Algeria is among the countries that have repealed all discriminatory legislative and regulatory measures discriminating against women through the consecration of the founding principle of equality of citizens in rights and duties, as it is attached to the promotion of gender parity in all aspects of life.
Family law, emanating from the Islamic Sharia, “Islamic Law” guarantees women rights and freedom, as Islam has honoured women by granting all their rights, ranging from choosing a spouse and keep their original family name once married, divorce freely without any pressure, the right to property, the freedom to work and seek knowledge, unlike the ill-placed misconceptions, disseminated by Islam enemies, that Muslim women are subjugated, degraded, oppressed.
Those who try to deceive women in Muslim countries by spreading falsehood and vice and incite them that they are oppressed by their religion or societal standards ignore the fact, as observed by Annie Besant, over fourteen hundred years ago, Islam gave women rights that women in the West have only recently began to enjoy. In the 1930’s, Besant said, “It is only in the last twenty years that Christian England has recognised the right of woman to property, while Islam has allowed this right from all times. It is a slander to say that Islam preaches that women have no souls.” (The Life and Teachings of Mohammed, 1932).
As France’s mudslinging campaign continues, few months ago, Algerian authorities summoned the-then French ambassador to Algeria Xavier Driencourt, after a researcher appeared on the France 24 TV channel and accused the military of diverting medical aid, sent from China to help the country deal with the coronavirus pandemic, for the use of its own benefit.
When arguing, with great confidence, that a modest aid of 450,000 euros from a Chinese company has been misappropriated by the ANP “ Algeria’s People National Army” for the benefit of the military hospital in Ain Naadja in the capital Algiers! As if the Algerian state, which has already mobilized an initial envelope of 100 million dollars, as well as its army, were reduced to transforming financial trifles into medical windfall!.
Earlier in the year too, Algeria President Abdelmadjid Tebboune categorically rejected all kinds of interference and tutelage from abroad, referring to statements made by French President Emmanuel Macron on the Hirak protest movement, calling for “a transition of reasonable duration” – remarks illustrating interference in Algeria’s internal affairs.
This libel campaign is not nascent, as it has been led by France media since its expulsion from Algeria. A range of documentaries have been produced attacking the constants of the Algerian national identity, including a report, diffused by the French channel France 24, showing some “Algerian’ puppets attacking Islam, claiming a growing pace of blasphemy and conversions into the evangelist community. The report went further accusing the Algerian authorities of oppressing the Christians and closing their churches.
All those allegations are baseless. Algerians converting to Christianity are anomalies, and Christians established in Algeria enjoy all their rights as the freedom to practice religious rites in Algeria is guaranteed by the Constitution and the law which is supported and protected by the state. Many churches are spread nationwide; however, the random opening of churches is prohibited by the Algerian law which defines the conditions for the opening of both mosques and churches, hence, the opening of mosques without an authorization is, also, banned.
Algerian authorities had closed secret housing units and shops which had been converted to places of worship and not authorized churches.
In addition, Algeria allowed, on December 8th, 2018, the organization, with the former Minister of Religious Affairs and Wakfs Mohamed Aissa in attendance, of the beatification ceremony of 19 Catholic monks at Santa Cruz Chapel in Mudjadjo Mount (Oran), kidnapped from a monastery at Tibhirine in 1996 and later beheaded by the barbarism of indiscriminate terrorism during the black decade experienced during the 1990s which didn’t spare 114 imams too.
They were beatified by Cardinal Angelo Becciu, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Saints’ Causes, after Pope Francis signed a decree in January recognizing them as martyrs.
By hosting this religious event, Algeria, which guarantees the freedom to practice other religions for Non-Muslims, demonstrates its civilizational and universal dimensions that it is open to the other, immune and has no fears for its Islam and the presence of Religious Affairs Minister in this ceremony as representative of former President of the Republic Abdelaziz Bouteflika is politically significant in view of the Algerian Constitution which enshrines in its Article 47 the freedom to exercise other religions for non Muslims and guarantees it.
Coinciding with this ceremony, Religious Affairs Ministry inaugurated, also, the church of Santa Cruz, of which the Algerian State took part in the rehabilitation works.
For his part, the Head of the Basilica of Our Lady of Africa José María Cantal categorically denied the existence of any form of persecution against Christians in Algeria, as some claim. Father Jose Maria said, in this interview with the Algerian “El-Chorouk” newspaper, confirmed that the church was never a party to the controversy brought about by France.
He referred to an atmosphere of coexistence, tolerance and fraternity between Muslims and Christians in Algeria. This testimony is a message to the world that Algeria is a country of pluralism and openness, exporting an image of coexistence and living together in peace and harmony.
And to conclude, as stated by Algerian newspaper “Elmoudjahid”, French media employs lobbyists of all stripes monopolizing the television to the detriment of historians, political scientists, recognized and credible specialists, and truly professional journalists, with the aim of serving France’s colonial and expansionist ambitions.
According to the writer Albert Farhat, this is a campaign of denigration which has nothing to do with the noble exercise of journalism, lacking credibility and objectivity and basing on analyzes by pseudo-experts from Algeria. Unfortunately, exploiting individuals sold in return for visa facilitation for France, subservient to the cause of neocolonization along with the complicit silence of the French authorities, these French media of the discord, including France24, TV5, BFM-TV, M6 and C-News, are striving to impose their apocalyptic vision of Algeria.
France is sinking more and more into decadence and is unable to preserve its vital space in the wake of the geopolitical changes that the world is experiencing, hence, the transformation of various public and private media into propaganda subversive tools… producers of insurrections and instabilities in the countries where it is losing its influence and its hold.
However, the collective awareness of the Algerian people, aware of these vicious maneuvers and recurring French media overruns as demonstrated in social media with millions of hashtags expressing outrage, indignation, and disavowing the actions of the Algerian who took part in this farces, dubbing them as “France’s Puppets”, will confronts all these malicious and intense campaigns. Remembering that one of their thinkers the Frenchman Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord said: “Anything excessive is insignificant”!.
Algerians are aware that France is leading a media war against Algeria by the distortion of the facts especially during the coverage of sensitive events, representing an unparalleled hostility towards the country of a million and a half martyrs.