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This is no time to celebrate

This is no time to celebrate and Twala is not in the mood to party. This third anniversary since the launch of our news outlet comes at a time of a genocidal war led by the Israeli colonial army against the civilian population of Gaza. Documenting the genocide of a people who, for their dignity, chose to resist on their despoiled land, is not an easy task. 

The army of the Zionist colonizer has already assassinated nearly a dozen of our Palestinian colleagues, journalists and photographers, who were reporting on the massacre. It also targeted other Lebanese colleagues who ventured near the southern border of their country to take pictures of the skirmishes launched by Lebanese fighters in solidarity with the Palestinians. 

Social media platforms have imposed a blockade on the images that contradict the narrative of the Western propaganda machine on the genocide taking place in Gaza. 

This is no time to celebrate. The military, diplomatic and above all media support that Israel enjoys from its Western sponsors which seem to have forgotten the meaning of the values they market beyond their borders, have no equivalent but the cowardice of the Arab regimes which, through the normalization of their relations with the Zionist entity, have given it a blank check to drive out Palestinians from their lands. They are attending the massacre as spectators. 

In Algeria, one of the rare members of the so-called “Arab” League to still refuse to normalize its relations with Israel, police prevented a protest that was to be held to denounce the crimes of the Zionist army. The sitting authorities, which lean towards totalitarianism as time passes and as they consolidate their positions, show a repulsion toward any popular gathering or protest, whatever its subject may be. 

This is no time to celebrate. In Algeria, on this land that was irrigated by the blood of millions of liberty martyrs, free voices are gagged. This third anniversary of Twala comes at a time when one of its founding members, Raouf Farrah, and one of its contributors, Mustapha Bendjama, are in prison on spurious charges. 

Our colleague Ihsane El Kadi, the editorial director of Radio M and Maghreb Emergent, is also serving a seven year sentence in prison. His two media outlets were shut down by a judiciary which considers journalistic work to be an act of subversion. The terror climate, which has been reigning for almost four years now because of abusive detentions of journalists and political opponents, is inhibiting wills and depriving the national community of precious tools it could use to inform itself. 

This is no time to celebrate. And challenges are immense. We wanted to give a less sad meaning to the name of our outlet when it was born. Inspired by an Algerian proverb which literally ties reporting to the survivors of a battle or a war, it is meant to inspire a well done work. We were so optimistic that we didn’t think it would one day regain its original meaning.

The challenges are immense. But we intend to contribute to the reconstruction of our Algerian media landscape which was destroyed by both the hostility of its environment and the desertion of professionals. Defiance toward the media, fed and maintained by successive governments overcame a system that was already underperforming. 

The challenges are immense. The tectonic plates are moving in our geographic area. And nobody can predict what the world will be tomorrow. But we wish to survive in order to tell our version of the story. This is not compatible with bargaining one’s liberty. The sacrifice is worth it. This is another intonation of the proverb “الخبر يجيبوه التوالى”, one about challenges. And we intend to rise to it.