This blogname was derived from the novel The Secret Life Of Saeed The Pessoptimist by the Palestinian Israeli Emile Habiby: absurdism as weapon against the (ir)realities of daily life in Palestine/Israel. (The subtitle is from a book by Dutch author Renate Rubinstein. It could as well be my motto).
My real name is Martin (Maarten Jan) Hijmans. I've been covering the ME since 1977 and have been a correspondent in Cairo. I started my 'Abu Pessoptimist' blog in January 2009 out of anger during the onslaught in Gaza. The other one, The Pessoptmist, is meant to be a sister version in English. (En voor de Nederlandstaligen: ik wilde in november 2009 een tweede blog in het Engels beginnen en ontdekte te laat dat als je één account hebt, een profiel dan meteen ook voor allebei de blogs geldt. Vandaar dat het nu ineens in het Engels is... So sorry.)
Algerian authorities have stopped a peaceful demonstration on Saturday of the Rassemblement pour la culture et la démocatie (RCD), a largely Berber party led by Saad Sadi. Enormous amounts of policemen blocked the way for the protesters, made it impossible for Saad Sadi to leave party heaquarters and stopped people who tried to join the demonstrations from outside Algiers. The protesters, demanding more freedom and democracy, carried Algerian flags but also Tunisian ones. Eleven people were wounded, five were arrested. Last week saw demonstrations in several Algerian cities against high prices, low wages and unemployment. Demonstrations are forbidden in Algeria, that lives under a state of emergency since 1992.