An Algerian cartoonist continues to be stymied by short-notice, unexplained cancellations and unanswered questions in the city of Oran.
Earlier this year we reported about the last-minute cancellation of an international cartoon festival in Oran that the organiser contended was due to sabotage by others working in the same field.
Now, in an open letter to Algerian Minister for the Interior Noureddine Bedoui published in Le Matin, cartoonist Nour El Yakine Ferhaoui levels further accusations of incompetence at the authorities responsible for cultural provision in the city and asks why he is being ignored by those who previously expressed willingness to work with him.
Specifically, Ferhaoui describes being tasked with the renovation, cultural programme and communications for a municipal exhibition space in Oran last August. He contacted local artists and organised a season of events and exhibitions, notifying the press of dates to come in the final quarter of this year. He says his ideas and initiatives were well-received after “a decade of paralysis”.
But now that goodwill has evaporated and Ferhaoui is being ignored, even by the people who appointed him to the role in the first place. He accuses those responsible for cultural provision in the city of allowing “Oran, this western city of light to become a capital of mediocrity and a nest of unhealthy officials for whom culture is a system of massive destruction.”
Ferhaoui says that since the cancellation of the Oran cartoon festival he is effectively persona non grata in Algeria, and so whether intentional or nor those who sought to forestall the event have effectively ended his career. This would seem to be borne out by the sudden collapse of his subsequent projects with local contemporary artists. The reasons why remain unknown. We sincerely hope that he receives answers soon.