The ...Miserables... of Algeria
People can hardly believe that in Algeria, in 2009, may exist whole families who can not even afford a braid to relieve their hunger. They do not even find foods in the trash. Yet there is one who has been forced to eat cats and remains of food left by the dogs.
- This is the case of the family of ‘Ammi Salah No Chance’ in Kais in the department of Khenchla, whose nickname fits to the misery in which he lives and continues to live forever.
- We visited the family who lives in their slum after some young people have told us about their situation and the misery in which a whole family lives in the town of Kaïs about 20 km west of the capital of Khenchla. As we arrived there, we were shocked by the image of a family slaughtered by the weight of misery and poverty to the point where she shared her food with dogs and cats in rubbish cans and garbage dumps. Ammi Salah was broken down by his sixty years of misery trying somehow to make survive his family of four members, all sick and living in a misery worse than that of the ‘Miserables’ by Victor Hugo.
Arrived at the Amri’s slum home, we discovered strange and terrible things that no one can believe. Remains of cats fill the scene, generating unbearable odours of corpses. We asked why they were there inside the slum; they answered that these cats had calmed the hunger of this family when there was nothing even to eat in the trashes and garbage dumps.
Children have left school to beg
At the center of the room, there was a KANOUN; sort of hole in the ground to light a fire to keep warm in winter when it is very cold and also used cook whenever there is something to cook. The children sleep on the floor surrounded by rubbish and waste of any kind. A dog eats and sleeps with them. The daughter, mentally ill, aged 15, has become ill because of poverty and the difficulties of life. The son, Toufik, 16, was forced by his father to leave school and go begging. At that time, the family, though poor, had a land and lived a decent life until the father decided to sell the land and take a second wife with whom he left to live in El Alia in Biskra, leaving behind him a family in poverty…
- To be continued
Ennahar / Mansouri M. Cherif