Transition … In my memory, this word is still wrapped in a tale of trauma, fear and pain.

I was born in Algiers in the seventies. Algeria then, was a peaceful place to live in. My Algeria was a sovereign country still proud of its revolution against colonial france… We used to respect the memory of our martyrs, our leader and our army…

But everything changed in 1988 when spontaneous demonstrations rocked the mundane life of Algiers. Protests calling for regime change soon turned into violent riots. The president called the army to restore peace. And the army of General Nezzar came in. Heavy tanks invaded the white city of Algiers. On every plaza, rifles were aiming at protesters … ready to shoot. Hundreds of young Algerians were killed; others were arrested and tortured. Peace was finally restored.

It was time for transition to radically change Algeria. Democracy and liberal economy were hastily enforced; too quickly for socialist Algeria to adapt … too quickly for people to understand the plot behind. One wrong vote … was enough for my people to become the enemy of transition… and for the Generals to put an end to the newly born democracy.

After the Islamic Front of Salvation’s victory in parliamentary elections, the army of General Nezzar “convinced” the president to resign. And he resigned abandoning Algeria to the institutional void trap ….that was soon filled by the military junta. And the Generals the “éradicateurs” : Nezzar, Belkheir, Touati, Lamari and Toufik took hold of power… depriving people from vote and citizenship.

The Generals decided to “eradicate” all Algerian citizens guilty of “bad vote”… Eradicate all those who didn’t conform to their vision of transition … Many were imprisoned, sent to concentration camps in the desert, some were butchered by terrorist groups, others vanished amidst heavy smoke of terror. The surviving Algerians, like me, had to suffer several waves of terror shocks, year after year until fear took the best of us. No longer able to resist, we reluctantly surrendered, and conformed to their vision of transition… And I witnessed, helplessly, the Generals dictators unleash “total spectrum” change attack on my Algeria “the martyrs’ legacy” to transform it into “FranceAlgérie” a client country submitted to French neo-colonial rule.

Generals who interrupted the newly born democracy … did not interrupt newly born liberal economy. Following IMF and World Bank dictates, it was time for the new oligarchy to make lucrative business while public companies were forced to declare bankruptcy. Many workers were laid off…With no wages to feed their family, many committed suicide… and no one cared… In time of transition and terror, business and wealth had a smell of death…

The generals “éradicateurs” were not alone in their transition mission. Many politicians and intellectuals close to their ideology helped them “eradicating” my Algeria. With their help, the junta fabricated an illegitimate parliament: the National council for transition, to represent us, those who had no right to vote. From hundred members of that fake parliament, I still remember two names :  Zoubida Assoul and Jilali sofiane …

Today…30 years after that bloody transition. Spontaneous protests calling for regime change took to the streets in Algiers… But this time there were no riots but peaceful demonstrations, there were no tanks, no rifles in the streets of Algiers…. The army sided with people’s demands… and a “soft” change was unleashed on the land of Algeria. Justice started prosecuting corrupt politicians and oligarchs. General Nezzar who was sentenced to prison is now, at the end of his life, an indicted fugitive… and General Toufik, whose secret services terrified my generation, is now in jail.

There is no doubt; a new Algeria is rising …

Ironically … today’s hirak protest is led by the old fake deputies of the 1990s National council of transition :  Zoubida Assoul and Jilali Sofiane. They are labelled by France 24 TV news channel as activists for democracy now… And they are claiming to defend people’s freedom against the regime. And they are calling for a… new transition…

Not in my name.

I choose the side of Algeria. My lost Algeria, the one it used to be before the 1990s year of transition. My Algeria, the martyrs’ legacy, proud of its revolution, and bravely resisting France’s neo-colonial agenda.