After several anemic participations to previous events, the question was whether the smell of the couscous will bring back the big crowd? If that was the idea behind it, the association tapped into the right well; Our board members indeed had the right idea, as we could see many (if not all) participants waiting for the "Iftar" (the word could not be better chosen as early comers seemed to salivate profusely before 8pm, time at which dinner was to be served!!! ), especially where the spicy smell of the couscous was in everybody's nostrils and minds!! (The author of this article appeared to have suffered the most since chased repeatedly out of the kitchen by the cooks despite repeated "offers to help...", but in vain, the cooks were adamant and apparently heard it before... !!!).
In contrast with previously organized Eid El Kebir (or Eid El Adha) events organized outdoors with barbecued lamb meat, this event was significantly different, in that it was organized indoors with the spontaneous participation of the now established Andalucia band. This "theory" seems to be comforted by the fact that most participants arrived at dinner time or after. Or was it just a coincidence others might say, especially when Eid Eseghir and Eid El Kebir have always attracted the big crowd? Whatever the reason, this event brought new faces and other "older" faces we haven't seen for a while. We were even graced by the presence of members of the algerian community in New York (how about that Thouraya and Ramdane!) and her brother Zouheir from Baltimore, as well as other friends, from other countries to whom we would like to extend our warm invitation to celebrate with us. It seemed that no one wanted to miss this celebration, reasserting the importance of the event in our lives. What a way to gather all these people!!!
The effervescence surrounding the evening was only matched by the excellent organization of the event diligently conducted by our board members and volunteers. They did everything for the success of the Eid celebration, making sure that guests would have an excellent evening gathered around our ancestral Grandma type of couscous that overwhelmingly met all the expectations. This was also coupled with the otherwise wonderful traditional support of our membership and guests bringing side dishes, pastries, financial support etc...
As always, people arrived steadily and organized into chatting groups, roaming kids finding a good opportunity to let loose and meeting new playing partners without forgetting their artistic inclinations through paintings and drawings. Above all, the bond between our organizers and the community was all the more significant since everybody enjoyed an otherwise colorful and spicy evening enlightened by the now totally adopted Andalucia band. The enthusiasm of the gathering filled the air in a spiral of fun that engulfed all participants, litterally throwing themselves in the dancing floor. Echah fi elli majach and sorry for those who couldn't make it.
In summary, it was a magnificent evening that calls for more of the kind and represented, without a doubt, a triumph for the Association clearly underlying, one more time, the importance of our beloved Association. Everybody came back home farihan massrooran ("common" end to our otherwise famous arabic incha).
AID EL ADHA HAFLA
Dinner served at 8:00 pm sharp.
Couscous, Lamb & drinks provided.
Guests contribute Side Dishes/Deserts.
FREE ($5 person/ $10 Family donation welcome)
Crystal House II Party Room
2000 S. Eads St., Crystal City, VA
(Metro: Crystal City)
Contact: (703) 769-4286
Taking advantage of the presence of a Mudjahida in the US (New York) here for medical reasons, AAAGW invited Yasmine Belkacem to give a presentation on her role as a Mudjahida during the Algerian Revolution War and specifically as a militant woman.
All present members expected a classic academic presentation but they were not counting on the fiery personality of a lady who received the Algerian National Order of Merit. She engaged in a question-answer debate and controlled it to the end. The audience was "nicely shocked" by her down to earth style and bent over backwards to treat her as a war and relief fund hero.
Indeed, Yasmine lost the use of her legs during the war when she was but fifteen, during her first military mission. She recounted with deep emotion how her right arm was saved by a French military surgeon over the direction of another French surgeon who wanted her arm amputated, and how she looked for and finally managed to find him before meeting him in Marseilles, France, in 1994, in order to thank him.
She also went in great detail, explaining how she is now helping the innocent orphans and widows using funds and relief supplies collected by her from friends and disbursing them personally and directly to the victims of the regrettable events back home, braving dangerous situations and moving with the help of an armchair. At times forceful, other times witty and charming, she would describe all the events that were of importance to her with an astonishing sense of reality that left the audience speechless. When she felt she said everything she needed to say, she proceeded to end the debate just as she started it. Hurricane Yasmine was over. Great thanks to the organizers, who allowed such an event to happen, mostly Souhail and Nadjia who were in charge of the event.
Speaker and debate
Veteran of Algerian Revolution,
Activist for Women's Rights.
Coffee, Tea, Pastries served.
FREE ($2 donation welcome)
BCC Services Center, 4805 EdgeMoor Lane, Bethesda, MD (Metro: Bethesda)
Contact: (202) 232-0063
Under the joint sponsorship of the Algerian American Association of Greater Washington and the Institute of Middle East and North African Studies (correct if I am wrong), women's day was celebrated at the international auditorium, at Georgetown University through the screening of an Algerian movie called "Une femme pour mon fils." The event started by an introductory speech by Nadira Boumechal, President of the AAAGW who presented the movie and the director (MAY be, I came a little bit late, during your presentation, could you tell me briefly what you talked about, just specify the points, I will phrase it), followed immediately by the movie itself. The latter, according to the author of this article, exemplifies the conflict of generations as well as the influence of some traditions on Algerian society.
Specifically, the leading man, construction worker in France (specify his name), receives a letter from his parents requesting him to get married. Bending to their wishes, he reluctantly agrees. From the "leading lady" side (mention her name), she is "informed" that she has been "reserved" for someone from a "good family." Her mother could not hide her pride (as always), at the perspective of seeing her daughter getting married. The problem is that the bride-to-be was not consulted and expressed sorrow to the fact that she did not know him before. Reluctantly, she went alone with the very characteristic "enthusiasm" surrounding the preparation of a traditional Algerian wedding: the supputations such an event would generate, the Hammam (Turkish bath), make up, henna, and the nuptial night when for the first time she raised her eyes and "dared" to look at him. It was quite an emotional moment.
On the other hand the husband had another problem on his own, the need to find a job in Algeria. As soon as the wedding was over, his search intensified, in vain. He had to return to France alone without his new bride who begged him to take her with him; It was impossible, he could not afford it, due to "limited income." But there was this "dream" of him fantasizing taking her with him and sitting in a French "Bistrot" and chatting with her just like the French do. Was is a dream or a wish to break with the traditions? In the meantime, his bride is already under the tyrannic control of her mother-in-law. Pregnant and without her husband at her side, who would not even respond to her letters, preferring sending threats through his family members, she finally leaves her conjugal home, back to her parents'. The movie ends with the birth of her child. Sign of hope? Followed was quite an animated debate moderated by Blanca Madani from the Middle East Institute, and a member of the AAAGW. Considering the gloomy Sunday afternoon, it was not surprising to see a relatively small but diverse crowd.
Movie and debate:
"UNE FEMMEPOUR MON FILS"
FREE ($2 donation welcome)
Co-sponsored by the Georgetown University National Resource Center on the Middle East and North Africa
Intercultural Center Auditorium,37th & O Sts. NW, Washington. DC
Contact: (301) 871-9135