Oran, the city of the Algerian dream, and the pilgrimage to the people of art

Algeria – “Al-Quds Al-Arabi”: The Algerians did not unanimously love a city like they had in Oran. This favorite piece in the west of Algeria, which gives its visitor a touch of happiness and joy, with its enchanting nature, ancient past and spontaneous lifestyle among its innately artistic inhabitants. It only required the awakening of some beautiful feelings, through works of art and sports demonstrations, for the interest in Oran to return and the fog that hid its shining sun, not only on Algeria, but on the whole Mediterranean- come, which one of its icons, disappears.

“Oran in the Heart.” This “trend” has remained steadfastly in the foreground in recent months, as if the Algerians wanted to crown “Bahiya” on the throne of Algerian cities and bypass the regional selfishness that characterizes their country. Perhaps because this city represents a part of every Algerian who feels that he belongs to it. Or because it reminds him of beautiful music he was addicted to in his teenage years, or Karantika still tasting in his mouth, or an unforgettable summer he spent on the beaches when he was young, or the fresh air he got from the breathed in heights of Santa Claus. Cruz, where the mosque and the church coexist and they do not need anyone to teach them the peace of religions. An inexplicable attraction can only be felt, even from those who have never set foot in the city, but are fascinated by it.
This strange mix that distinguishes Oran is summed up by the journalist who has been following the city’s diaries for many years, Jaafar Bensalah, in his interview with “Al-Quds Al-Arabi” by saying that it is a city with a cosmopolitan character is and is the meeting place for all regions of Algeria of different origins, which opens it to the other and embraces the visitor to some extent He does not feel that he is a stranger, the openness of the sea has made its inhabitants extremely tolerant . Its rich and unique European architecture is also, according to him, a special feature that made it the most European of Algerian cities during the colonial period.

mediocre games

The Algerians’ last passion for Oran was evident at the opening of the Mediterranean Games. As soon as the city called them, they came from all over to witness the ceremony that retraces with them the history of the city with its scholars and artists has, with its fairways and old neighborhoods attributed to the righteous saints of God. Great interest continued during these games, which were an opportunity to discover Oran, not only for the people of the country, but for the whole Mediterranean who showed an unparalleled admiration for it, and it is not strange from ‘ a city that took the ambition of the invaders in the Mediterranean from the Spanish to the French to the Ottoman rule, and took something for itself from all of these, while retaining its authentic Algerian personality that appeared in its struggle against the French colonialists, since it was the center of qualitative operations that preceded the liberation revolution, such as the Oran mail attack in 1949, whose leaders were among the leaders Ahmed Ben Bella and Hussein Ait Ahmed to obtain money to prepare for the armed struggle which was launched in 1954.
The Mediterranean Games were nothing but a recognition of the right of this city to be, like other great metropolises, the capital of the Mediterranean Sea. This success, which appears more in the interests of the arrivals in the city than the Games themselves has, has the means for works of art that have transformed some of its forgotten landmarks into tourist attractions. The music video “Disco Maghreb” by the international musician of Algerian origin, DJ Snake, has approached 70 million views since it was released on YouTube just two months ago. And “Disco Maghreb” is the most famous artistic institution that in the eighties specialized in the production of rai tapes for the great Algerian singers, then it disappeared over time and only its old headquarters remained as a witness of its existence, which made international names for rai. music such as Khaled Hajj Ibrahim and Hosni Chakroun called Cheb Hosni, which was likewise turned into a shrine the site of his assassination by a terrorist group in the mid-1990s. Just as the rise of expatriates grew in the popular neighborhood of Al-Darb after it embraced the filming of the series “Awlad Al-Halal”, which addressed the contradictions of society and in the pride-filled personality of Al- Wahrani dived in despite the conditions of poverty and sometimes hard life.

Art and the way of the world

Over time, the name Oran turned into a “registered trademark” for the success of any musical, dramatic or theatrical work of art. The city, at the height of the years of blood and destruction during the black decade (1990-2000), brought a smile to the faces of Algerians. The comedy of the “Bila Hodoud” band, broadcast during Ramadan , was a refuge to escape from that tragic reality that created terrorism in the country. The price was not simple. Oran mourned a number of its great creators who were killed by criminals, such as the popular rai singer Cheb Hosni and the great playwright Abdelkader Alloula.
Regarding the city’s art history, Muhammad Allal, journalist and critic of “Al Quds Al Arabi” says that “Rai music contributed to the launch of the city of Oran as a prominent artistic destination, especially when Cheb Khaled re-recorded the song “Oran” performed by the late Blaoui Al-Hawari, and as it is known that music and literature are two main factors. In marketing for any city. And before it embraced the Mediterranean Games, Oran, according to the spokesperson, was with this glow, which helped Algeria take the honor of organizing the Games in Oran due to its geographical location, its historical and civilizational dimension and its global cultural reputation , and Algerians still look to Oran, according to him, as the capital of culture. And art par excellence.
After the music, Oran is turning into the capital of the drama industry par excellence, says Allal. It is the Oran dialect that is comprehensible to all Algerians compared to some other local dialects, and the climate of freedom that Oran enjoys is what has encouraged producers to the production of the latest Algerian dramas such as “Babour El Louh” and “Awlad” to go. Lahlal”, who needed a special social environment to portray in this way that She won the admiration of the Algerian public. Recently, he adds, the “Disco Maghreb” studio has become a major tourist attraction thanks to the song “Digi Snake” that it presented in honor of this studio, which contributed to the popularity of the Rai song, which is a great artistic symbol of the city, and has greatly contributed to the promotion of the city of Oran worldwide.
Everything that the city is experiencing today, Allal adds, is not by chance. Oran has a very old cultural history, and many civilizations, especially the Spanish, have passed through it, since it was founded in 903 AD, and thanks to the great port of La Marsa, cultures, music, painting and urbanization intersected during the fourteenth century. Oran became an intellectual center, and Ibn Khaldun said of it: “Oran is superior to all other cities in its trade, and it is the paradise of the unfortunate. He who comes to its walls poor becomes rich.” This city acquired two important dimensions, on a commercial and cultural level, and what it experiences today, according to the critic, is only a reflection of those cultural developments.In the modern era, the literary novel, such as the novel “The Plague” by Albert Camus, contributed to introducing the city of Oran to the literary world when Camus conveyed the suffering of the city. The people of the city at the time in a novel that won the Nobel Prize for Literature, he adds.

Oran is the core of politics

Oran’s status has not made it far from politics, as it is the first state visited by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, more than two years after he came to power. The capital of the Algerian West, is not only a city of art, culture and inspiring folk tales, but is also an economic pole par excellence, with energy factories and gas pumps to Spain, as well as a large steel factory. But it is more reliable, to become a major tourist pole in the Mediterranean region, a sector on which the current government says it is betting in the transformations of the post-oil era.
Rabah Lounisi, historian and professor of political science at the University of Oran, says the city was the center of a political bet by which the current government wanted to achieve “the legitimacy of performance” through the success of the Mediterranean Games and highlights the facilities that have been completed, including sports of course, even if these facilities have begun to be completed, in fact, during the previous period. In this way, Lounici adds, the authority tried to convince the Algerians of its ability to organize, and its efficiency in managing other issues as long as these games were successful. Lounici believes that part of the emergency political and media interest is fabricated in a clever psychological process, because whenever we talk about the success of the Mediterranean Games, the common citizen will remember the power and efficiency of the government, which supports it and prestige assured. through it. Lounisi adds to the factors of interest, the existence of an Algerian tourism project in the future, which turns Algeria into a tourist destination like Morocco or Tunisia. The Mediterranean dimension of the city, and thereby the Mediterranean dimension of Algeria in addition to its other dimensions, represents a message, according to the speaker, to the north of the Mediterranean like France, Spain and others in order to transform the city as a commercial, tourist and economic point of contact between the two shores of the Mediterranean, especially because it has a large commercial port.
As for the other factor, according to the historian, it is the nature of Oran itself, its privacy and its history, which is a message addressed to the entire Algerian people, which according to him is a kind of blow to their social cohesion in recent years. Oran is an open city, and it can be considered a microcosm of all the Algerian people. Of all the states and regions of Algeria, and these live in harmony and peace and open among themselves, which gave it the image of the city that all Algerians love, because it is difficult not to find an Algerian who does not ‘ does not have a member of his small or large family in Oran, by which the authorities want to give a miniature model of The cohesive and tolerant Algerian nation.
Lounici continues: “The city was also occupied by the Spanish for more than three centuries, and it was liberated in 1792. This year it lives the anniversary of its liberation in a special situation (the context of the tense Algerian-Spanish relations) , and it is the city where the leadership of the second military region, which is the most important military aspect in Algeria, in terms of military capabilities, in number and various, oversees the guarding of the Algerian borders, which are not always in harmony with its neighbor, Morocco. President Bendjedid spoke extensively in his memoirs about the importance of this aspect when he was at the helm between 1965 and 1978.”
Given the city’s political weight, says the historian, many ministers and officials chose Oran as their residence after their retirement, especially during the era of President Bouteflika. There are also officials, according to him, who believe that the interest in the city, due to the residence of part of President Taboun’s large family in it (his brother died there in 2017, when he was Prime Minister) they ‘ will give a little. advantage, just as other officials did with the city of Tlemcen during the era of Bouteflika and before them with Mostaganem city during the era of President Chadli Ben Jdid, because it is the city of his in-laws.

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