Not in our name, Mr Bouteflika!

Let it never be said that no Algerian reacted when the Algerian regime decided to organise its impunity by means of a political and legal device. The signatories of this declaration invite the Algerian citizens to refuse another crime against justice and the truth, and to denounce the policy of amnesia carried out by president Bouteflika.
This policy represents a cruel crime against the memory of all the victims of the dirty war. We believe strictly in justice and the truth in order to found the true peace which the Algerian people demand, in order to abolish the military regime definitively. We believe that every victim of the national tragedy is entitled to the truth to soothe their pain. We believe in justice because it is the only means of turning a painful page. We believe that these requirements of truth and justice are the only bases for an authentic consolidation of peace in Algeria.

We believe that the Algerians must react to this electoral masquerade. We must first of all oppose the "Charter of peace and for reconciliation" which has been prepared by the Generals and is the origin of the crisis. This is why we invite all Algerians to resist this final solution proposed by the man elected by the decision-makers. It is unjust, immoral and illegitimate. We have chosen to say: "Not in our name, Mr Bouteflika."

Bouteflika claims to make his own the expression “That, never again!” This expression symbolized the end of the Argentinian dictatorship and the commencement of a work of memory. However, in Algeria, this slogan is hammered like a threat to impose silence. Against this will of silence, we say loud and clear: Never again scenes of horror. Never again tears of pain. Never again children decapitated. Never again families displaced. Never again Algerian women beaten and humiliated in public by the police. Never again lies and delinquent “patriotism” which occlude justice. Never again this poverty devastating our fellow-citizens, while the accounts and the pockets of the decision-makers grow fuller every day. Never again peaceful demonstrations turning into riots. Never again journalists and human rights activists put behind the bars. Never again diseases of bygone age mowing down the children of Algeria. Never again impunity of those who are responsible for these crimes against the people.

While death and violence are omnipresent, the leaders of Algeria deny this reality, for which they are primarily responsible. They have preferred to embark on a campaign of indoctrination in favour of this "Charter for peace and reconciliation", which is treated by certain political parties and the craven media as if it were prophecy fallen from heaven. They have already made us understand that to say no to this charter is dangerously close to blasphemy. So it is better to say yes in order to enter paradise. No debate. The only way to enter paradise is to repeat what Bouteflika said on August 20 in Skikda: “Your support will enable me to guarantee, once and for all, the immunity of the army.”

In our name, Bouteflika, strongly supported by the tag-along majority of the political parties, has not only promulgated the law of civil concord for the terrorists, but has also assumed the right to guarantee total impunity to all those who committed and are still committing crimes against humanity. Arbitrariness can look forward to beautiful days. The criminals are sharpening their blades in expectation of good times. What guarantees can we offer to future generations, if another monster awakes tomorrow “to save the Republic” and sends out assassins, commandos, terrorists, everywhere, to torture, execute or massacre?

In our name, in Algeria, the Power has created two classes of citizens: the high, the minority of the “new pieds-noirs”; and the low, the majority, the “natives”, brought back down to the same status of subhumans that they had in colonized Algeria. In our name, the Power has made our country spoils of war. Nobody has the right to dispute or criticize the policy of Bouteflika, or rather that of the Generals – those still in command and those enjoying a gilded retirement – which Bouteflika merely faithfully implements. The state of emergency, established more than thirteen years ago, constitutes a permanent coup d’état. It grants to the forces of repression all rights, including those to practise the cruellest and most inhumane abuses.

In our name, the Power has banished any democratic expression and domesticated almost all the political parties and the trade-union organizations, leaving the people nothing but a pretence of democracy, a pure facade. Extremely dubious, unregulated privatizations as well as the selling-off of public resources have been the practice of the puppet government for some time. We must take very seriously the danger which awaits Algeria when the leaders of this country speak to us of a “new social order”. We are confronted with a new declaration of war against the Algerian people. Beware, there is dangerous conspiracy against the people. The leaders ignore the people’s pain and patience. And the events of the last months will lead to an even darker future if Algeria’s problems are not solved on a solid basis.

We believe that the Algerian regime is responsible for the climate of desperate individualism, cynicism, chasing after money, which is gradually extending its influence over the whole society and risks causing grievous damage for generations to come. This regime must be held responsible and not treated as a victim. We aspire to real change – the establishment of a state of law which respects human rights and protects the nation as a community from the dangers which threaten it.

In his campaign for the "Charter for peace", Bouteflika declared: “In the name of the people, we will halt speculations and campaigns which aim to discredit the army.” Here is our answer: we refuse you the right to speak in the name of all Algerians. We will never abandon our right as conscientious objectors. We will refuse the impunity either of the Generals implicated in crimes of blood, or of Islamist terrorists, or of those who were “just following orders”. In order to bring into effect the true rupture which all Algerians await, we demand the dissolution of the political police force known as the DRS, which undermines the dignity of citizens, the honour of honest officers and that of the army as an institution.

As for the “speculations”, we ask you to set up a genuinely independent commission of inquiry in order to put an end to them. We will not deliver to you our honour and our conscience in exchange for a dirty peace. We refuse your peace. We refuse the refusal of truth and justice for the victims of the dirty war. We extend our hands to all those who, in Algeria or in exile, are suffering from this war: we are against the organisation of impunity.
By signing this this declaration, we call upon all free women and men to join our refusal.

We support the victims, all the victims, of the dirty war who are currently protesting against these infernal measures.
We support the victims of the massacres, those not permitted to speak, who cannot cry their pain.

We aspire to true justice in order to abolish arbitrariness, we aspire to the truth in order to soothe pains, and we salute the thousands of families of the disappeared whose patience and courage resist the tyranny of the soldiery. Let us not let arbitrariness destroy justice, let us not leave all these orphans and widows to fight alone against the dictatorship disguised as pseudo-democracy.


September 20, 2005.

To sign: [email protected]

First signatories:
Habib Souaidia, ex-sub-officer of the ANP
Salima Mellah, Algeria-Watch
Sofiane Chouiter, lawyer
Lahouari Addi, Professor of sociology in the IEP
Omar Benderra, consultant
Salah-Eddine Sidhoum, defender of human rights

Other signatories
Mohamed Samraoui, ex-colonel of the ANP
Abdelkader Tigha, ex-sub-officer of the ANP
Amina Kadi, human rights activist
Anouar Koutchoukali, secretary-general of Justitia Universalis
Ahmed Hanifi,
Adel Soleiman Guémar, journalist
Nesroulah Yous, artist
Aissa Zitoun, Student,
Larbi Alili, Justitia Universalis
Ahcène Kerkadi,
Karim Boughida, architect,
Rachid Mesli, lawyer
Mohamed Smain, LADDH office of the wilaya of Relizane
Mohamed Belhaoua, human rights activist, Relizane
Nourredine Abdi, CNRS researcher
Ahmed Simozrag, lawyer
Abdelhamid Brahimi, former Prime Minister,
Hocine Malti, ex-vice-president of sonatrach
Hamida Ben Sadia, Women’s Collective for Equality
Mouloud Idir, research and initiative group for African liberation (GRILA)
Mostafa Brahami, doctor in management,
Iskander Debbache, Journalist
Yahia Assam, defender of human rights

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Reconciliation - Amnesty

Pas en notre nom, Monsieur Bouteflika!