Algeria – honour above all

Algeria – honour above all

Algeria is situated on the north African Mediterranean coast. It is the tenth largest country in the world with an area of 2,381,741 square kilometres (919,595 square miles), 90% of which is desert. The country is bordered by Tunisia, Libya, and Morocco and has a population of nearly 38 million. The capital city is Algiers.

Algeria gained independence from France in 1962 after a fierce fight but the French inflluence is still evident. While the official language is Arabic, French is the language of business and education.

Algeria was originally inhabited by Berbers until the Arabs conquered North Africa in the 7th century. Based mainly in the mountainous regions, the Berbers make up around 30% of the population. They resisted the spread of Arab influence, managing to preserve much of their language and culture, and in 2001 gained government recognition of their language.,

Algeria’s economy is based largely on oil and natural gas and it supplies large amounts of natural gas to Europe. It has estimated oil reserves of nearly 12 billion barrels, attracting strong interest from foreign oil firms.

The development of the tourism sector in Algeria was slow, but since 2004 a broad tourism development strategy has been implemented resulting in many hotels of a high modern standard being built.

Increasingly, women are contributing more to household income than men. Women make up 70% of the country’s lawyers and 60% of its judges and also dominate the field of medicine. 60% of university students are women, according to university researchers.

Honour is a foundation block of Algerian society. Honour can be lost in many ways, e.g. Algerians believe that turning down a friend’s request for a favour causes the other person to lose honour. Therefore, they will agree to do something rather than risk either party losing face. If someone is honourable, the family is honourable; if an individual is shamed then the whole family is shamed.

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Sources: Wikipedia, BBC, Kwintessential

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