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A mistake

April 21, 2009

On Algeria’s amnesty programs in the Christian Science Monitor:

Naseera Dutour helped found SOS Disparus after the disappearance of her 21-year-old son, Amin. She says she learned from a friend who worked as a police officer that Amin was being held in a police station in the Algiers suburb of Barake. The friend urged her to do whatever she could to get her son out as soon as possible.

“He told me: ‘If you are very powerful you can get your son out of their hands, but if you don’t get him out soon next week they will take him someplace where you will never find him,'” she says.

At the station the police chief denied her son was there, so she went home empty-handed. She has never seen or heard from Amin since.

“I made a mistake,” she says, her voice trailing off. “I should have insisted.”

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Justin Anthony Knapp permalink
    April 21, 2009 21:09


    It’s sad to see reconciliation fall apart in places like Algeria, while it can seriously work in a place like Rwanda with far deeper social divisions. It makes me scared to think of what could happen in South Africa or Timor-Leste if they aren’t serious about truth commissions and intercommunal activities… And, of course, there’s the whole “Africa is as corrupt as a $3 bill” thing.


    • JOK permalink
      April 21, 2009 21:59


      • Justin Anthony Knapp permalink
        April 21, 2009 22:28

        P.S. – Alle, I received an e-mail when you responded, but not when JOK did. I don’t know why, but I figure it’s something that might be of value to you. I have had the same thing happen with every thread to which I have responded.

        • JOK permalink
          April 22, 2009 08:01

          Nonsense. Timor Leste is Portuguese. In English it is East Timor. You don’t write España when you’re talking about Spain in an English text do you???

  2. April 21, 2009 22:15

    Justin — I don’t think it has fallen apart, quite. That a minority suffers horribly from it is not necessarily a big problem for the strategy as such, cold-hearted as it may sound. The laws are now in place, most people support them, and the clock is ticking. Not much more is needed for the kind of grey-scale success Bouteflika is aiming for.

    JOK — The country formerly known as East Timor.

  3. April 22, 2009 10:29

    JOK — it’s like Côte d’Ivoire, they’ve asked specifically that the world use the Portuguese version as a name, regardless of the meaning. If people comply or not, that’s up to them, but I see no reason not to.

    • JOK permalink
      April 22, 2009 19:35

      Aha. You mean just like the Spanish and Portuguese call the British queen Isabel II? 🙂

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