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Nepotism in Algeria

Updated on June 1, 2016

"Fed up", is an expression that is painfully uttered by the people in my society every single second. A year ago, my cousin told me how his life collapsed around him, and how he was drowning in great despair. His whole life was one of unhappiness and misery. Even if Mohamed's dream, to become a teacher, is too simple, he couldn’t fulfill it. Nepotism destroyed every beautiful corner which reflected his wonderful relaxing dreams that he had ever visualized. Nepotism or as we usually call it here, “les épaules,”(shoulders) is a wrecking and widespread phenomenon in the Algerian society, which is drawing a bitter reality for most Algerians, for it is a pen that creates a marvelous shining future for some while others are standing outside and screaming out painfully, but no-one cares. It's high time to talk about this destroying phenomenon which is causing every part of our society to become a nightmare for millions.

Nepotism has become the golden key by which people can open up success doors, and it is that big gate through which they can find the castle of happiness. Recently, the final results of competitions and exams lead the Algerians to look for those standards that officials are following in choosing the winners. I personally sometimes shockingly wonder whether it is God that bestows his blessings on those exam takers to succeed. Most importantly, the Algerian people have a very interesting view of nepotism, as they have become proudly boastful of being part of it and having the clout needed for placing family members in positions of power.

Even if nepotism is the most dreadful thing which must be deeply cut off from any society , it has been seen as the only way which may help people get what they want and reach a position of influence at the expense of those poor unlucky individuals who are gifted, truly qualified, and willing and able to perform the job. From my personal experience, the only thing I had ever wanted to be for my whole life was a writer; therefore, I kept writing and trying really hard to get my stories published until that day, which was so devastating, on which I faced a strong rejection from a publisher who told me that he will never ever think to help me get my stories published, though he had never taken a look at them. I was incredibly disappointed. For a while, I thought seriously to stop writing because I had no way to win. My father is not rich, and I do not have strong clout by which I can be successful since the power is that of money not talents. That publisher was the only one who could help me at that time, but he did not because he selected other girls he personally knew in order to publish their stories. From that day on, I stopped writing short stories although it was like a safe home for me, and the worthiest thing that I liked most. My story is a trivial one compared to other billions of stories of injustice that are occurring every single day in here. Therefore, nepotism is harming those people who strive to succeed by killing their innovative spirits.

This form of corruption has strong potentials to destroy the country since there are thousands of people who should not be in their roles, and that surely harms the economy of our country. Obviously, some key positions are filled with incompetent individuals who do not do their jobs in the right way since their educational level, for instance, does not fit the necessities of their work resulting in them showing low production, and low quality of work.

An infinite number of academic competitions were cancelled since the high executives changed the winners' names by other incompetent and inexperienced persons who were not the right persons for those jobs at all. An academic competition of employing teachers was cancelled in Galma, Algeria, which was taken in August 2012. After the official display of the winners' list in September 2013, a group of those who did not succeed went on protest saying that it was not the right selection of winners. Another similar story happened in Oran where there were eight men who protested against the “Sonelgaz” institution because they were replaced by other persons who were not better qualified in the requested field, and who got that job because of their family ties with the working officials there. The tragedy now is that we elect public officials to serve their relatives and their close personal friends, but not ordinary people who might possess better qualifications. In short, no one cares about other people, especially those broken and deemed “imperfect.”

As a student in the Teacher Education College, I can assure that students fall prey to nepotism, too. Algerian universities have become famous places for killing students' talents and potential. Even if students can powerfully make change in the world that is around them, they have not been given the chance to. Interestingly, even marks are deliberately given through nepotism. Additionally, most teachers are giving preferential treatment for those they know personally; this phenomenon has become like a routine and normal story for us. My classmates and I usually call those who have personal relationships with teachers the “upper class,” while we call ourselves the “peasants,” or the “lower class,” because it is like we have returned to the age of feudalism of medieval Europe and its social ranks. It is a serious problem when it comes to education and places where we are supposed to learn the right meaning of honesty and to be trustworthy individuals. Students' future is likely to be so clear as they will end up “standing outside by the wall” and be honorably called "Hittist, "which is a popular Algerian word referring to unemployed people.

Despite the fact that Algeria is a country of plentiful resources like oil, most people are unemployed and do not benefit from the country’s wealth. Youth unemployment rate in Algeria increased to 25.20 percent in 2014 from 24.80 percent in 2013, reported by the “Office National des Statistiques” (ONS). In March 2013, nearly 10,000 people in Ouragla rallied calling for jobs and protesting the corruption of government officials . They said that the government is marginalizing them even though the city of Ouragla has a flourishing oil industry .

One other consequence of nepotism can be seen in a housing policy that resulted in many privileged people ending up getting three or four apartments while real homeless, needy people are still living in slums. All members of one family usually clean, cook, eat and sleep in one room. Millions are suffering in one small room with grey and cracked ceilings, facing the cold winter and spending long summer days under the hot sun. Even if a housing policy has been created for those severely deprived families, nepotism changed all the strict laws in our society .

In the United States of America, if someone has a medical emergency, they would just call 911 and receive all the help they need, but here we have to look up for a connection which paves the way for us to get the consultation of a doctor or receive prompt caring .

The government must serve all people equally and fairly and should not create a family atmosphere which is built upon the officials' relatives and friends. Let's try for once to form a society that is based on competence, potential, honesty and talent, not on clout, and hopefully make a change for the better.

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