The Emperor’s New Clothes

An Englishwoman in Algeria

The instinct to conform and agree with the majority too often outweighs the courage to say what one actually believes.

-Greensleeves Hub

I have often thought that Algeria was like fairyland. It has a glorious mediterranean landscape, with majestic mountain ranges, hundreds of miles of golden beaches, exquisite colonial architecture, delicious food and a fascinatingly diverse people — all the ingredients necessary to create a Utopia, a heaven on earth. But, as we all know, fairy tales always have a darker side   an evil queen, a wicked witch or an ogre. Algeria is no exception.

Put quite simply, Algeria’s darker side is the fact that, since independence, it has never had the government it deserved. The country’s full potential has never been realised, thanks to a single-minded dependence on oil and gas exports. Not only that, the immense wealth generated by these exports has never gone towards improving the…

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