The List

The sound of the telephone startled me as I stood in the kitchen trying to prepare the evening meal. My mind was not on food, because my husband had just been telling me about some rumours he had heard about a list apparently drawn up by the FIS, the Front Islamique du Salut, or Islamic Salvation Front. On it were supposedly listed the names of people whom they intended to arrest, imprison or execute when they came to power. Continue reading


The Berber Spring

Vous ne pouvez pas nous tuer. Nous sommes déjà morts.

(You can’t kill us. We’re already dead.)

 – One of the slogans used during the Berber Spring demonstrations.

 In 1978, President Boumediène died in somewhat mysterious circumstances. As was usual in Algeria, nothing was known about the personal lives of those in power, with Mrs. Boumediène only surfacing after her husband’s demise. So when Boumediène’s death, officially from a rare blood disease, was announced, it came as a great shock to everyone.

He had been in a coma for months, although nobody knew it at the time. Even now, rumours still persist that he died from lithium poisoning, the lithium having been administered supposedly during an official visit to Baghdad. Make of that what you will. Continue reading


One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.

-Virginia Woolf

On my return to Algeria, after five lonely months spent in Britain, we celebrated our reunion by dining out that same evening at one of Oran’s many restaurants. I was in a state of euphoric relief, almost dizzy with it. Although only a few hours had passed since I had set foot back in Algeria, I felt as though a great weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Continue reading