The Algeria Bouteflika Built

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Throughout much of my time in the country, this creepy poster of Algerians sporting Bouteflika's eyes graced a wall of the Houari Boumediene International Airport in Algiers.

As its title suggests, my new book, The Algerian Dream: Youth and the Quest for Dignity, is the story of a nation, especially its young generation. But one individual's name recurs repeatedly in that story: Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Perhaps no man did more than Bouteflika, the country's president from 1999 to 2019, to shape the Algeria in which that young generation's "quest for dignity" began—or to make their quest necessary in the first place.

Bouteflika, the man so many Algerians (only half jokingly) kidded might outlive them all, died last week, leaving behind a complicated legacy but one that did few favors to his countrymen who survive him, particularly the youth who will be forced to live with the impact of his actions (and his inaction) for years to come.

Bouteflika's legacy and its implications for Algeria's future are the subject of my latest piece for the Atlantic Council, where I am now a nonresident senior fellow for North Africa.

Read the full article at the Atlantic Council MENASource blog: "Mourned by some, cursed by others, former President Bouteflika left Algeria ill-prepared for the future."


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