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two ministries ban the use of French amid diplomatic crisis – RT en français
 | Local News

two ministries ban the use of French amid diplomatic crisis – RT en français
| Local News | Local News

Two Algerian ministries have issued internal memos requiring the exclusive use of Arabic and thus prohibiting French. Initiatives that arise in the middle of a diplomatic crisis between Paris and Algiers.

Does Algerian language policy vary according to diplomatic fluctuations between France and Algeria?

While the tension has continued to rise in recent weeks between Paris and Algiers against a backdrop of historical-political spikes, in Algeria, two ministries; that of Vocational Training and that of Youth and Sports, on October 21, ordered the “exclusive” use of the Arabic language in their official documentation, in education and in all communications related to their operation. Without explicitly mentioning it, the two notes de facto prohibit the use of the French language.

For the time being neither the services of the Prime Minister nor those of the Algerian presidency have communicated an instruction going in the direction of the two ministries which seem to have taken individual initiatives and not concerted with the whole government. But the measure seems to inspire other sectors since according to the TSA site, the director of health of Guelma (north-east) asked on October 26 to the hospital structures of his wilaya (prefecture) to adopt Arabic in their communication and sending letters “while encouraging doctors to prescribe prescriptions in Arabic, without taking into account the logistics necessary to make this change.”

These instructions refer to article 3 of the Constitution stipulating that Arabic is “the national and official language” of the country and that “the State works for its promotion”. But since their publication, the public debate on the language question, 50 years old in Algeria, has resurfaced, opposing the defenders of total Arabization to those who defend the use of French and the Berberists who defend for their part the use. of the Tamazight language, recognized as an official language in 2016.

As for the promoters of the Arabic language alone, we welcome the ministerial initiatives. “This document [le communiqué du ministère de la Jeunesse et des Sports] late sovereign of half a century of stopping the fight and self-determination gives hope to the nation so that Algeria no longer remains French ”, wrote Ahmed Bennamane, writer and ardent defender of the Arabic language on his behalf Facebook.

As for Saïd Djabelkhir, an Islamologist sentenced in April for violating the precepts of Islam, he preferred to tackle the Algerian leaders: “The day we will make sure that your children no longer attend French high school, you will be able to talk about Arabization. ! ” In a recent article by World, it is indeed mentioned that each new school year is the occasion of “insistent requests” from the Algerian ruling circles to enroll their children in the French international high school Alexandre-Dumas, in Algiers. “The Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs thus presents to the French Embassy a long list of diplomats and senior officials wishing to be registered”, reports the daily which adds that the pressure is “excessive” and that for this start of the 2021 school year, the high school French had 2,005 students, of which only 906 were French.

Arabization, painful for France?

Among Algerian intellectuals, some also wonder about the harm that the total Arabization of Algeria could do to France. “Some think that by forbidding […] the French language in Algerian society, they would punish France. This is a big mistake. We punish ourselves, ”notes linguist Abderrazak Dourari, quoted by TSA. “It is Algeria which risks losing a lot by suddenly turning its back on a foreign language that a large part of its elites master and for which it constitutes the only window on the world of research, without guarantee of replace within a reasonable time, ”replies journalist Ryad Hamadi. “A brutal Arabization risks causing much more damage to Algeria than it will do to France, because it means the mobilization of colossal means, and the abandonment of Algerian skills which were trained in French”, he adds.

Franco-Algerian relations have been very cold for several weeks after remarks by President Emmanuel Macron who accused the Algerian “politico-military system” of maintaining a “memorial rent” around the war of independence.

Algeria immediately recalled its ambassador to France on October 3 in protest and banned the overflight of its territory to French military planes serving the Sahel where the troops of the anti-jihadist operation Barkhane are deployed. The Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs then denounced a “memorial bankruptcy” of the French president and called on certain foreign leaders to “decolonize their own history”.

It must be said that Emmanuel Macron’s words must have greatly surprised the Algerian authorities who had rented the tenant of the Elysee for a few months instead. As a reminder, in an interview with Point in June, the Algerian president Abdelmadjid Tebboune affirmed that his French counterpart had all his esteem. “He’s the most enlightened of all. The other presidents all had a history with Algeria, ”said the Algerian head of state. “If we do not manage to build solid bridges between the two countries under the Macron presidency, that will never happen and our countries will always maintain a mutual hatred”, did not hesitate to launch Abdelmadjid Tebboune who since, had to change one’s mind.

In the midst of this diplomatic crisis, France also called for Algiers to “respect” its sovereignty, after the Algerian ambassador to France urged the Algerian community to “constitute a lever of command” to intervene in the “ French political life ”, as Algerian.

Meriem Laribi

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