The Fahs, are stretches of flat lands where the gradient levels to preries on the south face of the majestious mount Bouzareah, dominating the city of Algiers, at its foothills the Bay of Algiers , on its north face. Algiers, like Rio de Janero is one the most beautiful bays in the world, for the travelers as reported in their guides, that is for the anecdote.
The Fahs, once, were a prosperous region where rich French colonists gentlemen-farmers had their estates, chateaux,villages and farms, with Christians evocatives names; and also inhabited by the native dwellers the Arabs Fahs, from which it draws its name; disputing leftovers of the inaccessible portions of terrain lots downhills. After the arrival of the colonists, the Arabs owners were deposed of their proprieties in lieu of concessions given to the new settlers. From Blida to Algiers, and Sidi-Feruch to Palesrto, all long the Metidja Valley, the Grand Algiers displayed the same image. It is true that the newly coming owners introduced modern agriculture concepts, and mechanisms, like drain canals to evacuate the floods of the Oued Mazafran, and the others affluent rivers that poor in to the basin of the Metidja, and some dams and levies. Still, it had already existed a heritage of infrastructures to irrigate the lands, constituted of a system of aqueducts since the Roman Impires, and wells, from the Othomans to draw water to the cities, despise the French civilizational discourse. The main resources of Algeria was agriculture, constituted of a gigantesque vineyard, orchard, and a field of wheat
On the day after the Independence Day of Algeria, the Algerian people took the challenge to stand alone to manage the farms, factories, and all the chains productions, in absence of the owners who left the country without governance. The harvest was prodly put in display in the First international Fair Expo organized in Algeria post independent. Algeria was exposed to the French boycott of its produces, by the fact that the later were in the same time_while they still in Algeria, the main producers and exporters to the metropolitan city. As a result, there was an over flow of perishable merchandises, and the capacities of its storages and silos, were insignificant in rapport to the product. Algeria was the attic, silos, and the gardening backyard of Paris. The harvests of grapes remained on their stems, the caves of the farm, and chateaux flooded with wine. The “auto-gestion”, the socialist self-management adopted then by the leaders averred out of context, to resolve the crucial problems of the moments; all the socialist economies were based on trade of merchandises, they sought the same needs of foods, medication, and education. Refined products in exchange of ores, and raw material, still in ownership by the foreign companies. As an immediate solution, it was to drag up from the roots all the vines, the second disaster was the nationalization of the agriculture that followed.
The native small farmers, fully independents today, faced so many problems, to sale their produces, to stock up the merchandise, even the raisers of live stoke suffered from the ludicrous situation to the point that to many of them abandoned the ancestral activity to a steady job in the cities. The lands were lied fallow.
Years later on, the asphalt, tarn, and concrete took over the fertile fields, new factories and a net of roads and houses were built to detriments of good soil. So as of today, you can roam around the region, you can see sumptuous villas, erected projects of stabilized rent for low incomes, benefits from modern urban life, but no more trace of the Fahs, and small nested villages of the Golden past. Nostalgia put aside, this is the pile side of the mint. or the dark side of the moon…