This is page is all about small things, like the Goldfinch, El_Makneen, the Mondol, the Algerian mandolin , coffee with a drop of Ma’zhar, orange blossom water, and Chaâbi music, the Algerian Blues, and jasmin, just like that, habits and customs of the Casbah, The Old Algiers; simply Chaâbi..! Popular Art, that’s it!
A Blog In The Making
The funny part is, anybody who is stranger to the hometown, and in passage to Kadous, evidently can not refrain from asking about or looking for El Mackneen, the goldfinch. That is, Kadous the small town situeted in the outskirts of Algiers, Algeria is renowned for its goldfinches from the birdwatching aficionados. Unfortunately, the only goldfinches that remain alive are not in the wild, where they could flapping freely their wings in nature from trees ramaging in glee, are inside the natural and zoological park, next to the small village Ouedroumane, which it still existing , a reduced part from the huge initial plan of the park, and as in caged birds inside of it that some local people still breeding since their life.
The story is, the Mackneen, it became like the story of the Leprechun haunt, that everybody talks about, that he appears here and there and now and then, but that no one seemed have seen it around.
From Terry Tempest Williams’ Refuge
I could not separate the Bird Refuge from my family. Devastation respects no boundaries. The landscape of my childhood and the landscape of my family, the two things I had always regarded as bedrock, were now subject to change. Quicksand.
During a visit to my parents place, It was for a couple of weeks ago, then once there, I had a small talk with a local neiborgh of old days_ I was invited to a wedding party. It was during the evening of that same arrival day. So, folowing the thread of the conversation, and sipping teas mint , we went through the past of the region, evocating nostalgia, weddings parties, and circumcisions, with popular orchestras, and musical bands, dancing to stars until dawn, the diners with couscous, and Mouton stew, black coffees served in tiny China cups, with bites of oriental pastries.
And after aboarding so many topics and subjects of dissertations, it led us to this: The old man said to me_” you see, your father, and grandfather were noble persons of a great family, giftedgood men with blessings from father to son, they professed circumcisions, and weddings ceremonies , they heal the sick, and feed the poor, and protect the orphan, and widow. They knew the almanacs, and all the secrecy for good harvests, and how to graft trees, to crop plump fruits, and exotic and tropical fruit, that nobody knows where they came from, since your grandfather never traveled far from the village.”
Nature was so generous to them, as they were generous to people, it gave back to them by the double what they sow. After they passed away, as many people of their kind, in the region, the tradition disappeared little by little, as there was no successors to carry on the tools of the trades, and their knowing of all small things. Then, there came the socialism era, with the many revolutions, agricultural, industrial, and cultural, that gave birth to a chain of fiascos that you see.
The region, once prosperous, and green leafy, with running watercourses, and shady roads, vineyards, and orchards, the landscape became transformed to factories fields, and plants, buildings and parking areas, and housing projects for factories workers. The bedrock of farming_the canals drainage, insteads, the sewers canalization and asphalt roads took place of watercourses, destroying by way of collateral damage, the natural habitat of too many species, polenizators and the like, that are necessary to equilibrium of the environment, fertilizing the soil and pollinating the flora and fauna, that’s came day the country run short of farmers, and cultivable lands,” he posed for an instant from talking, and basked to some imaginary scene, then turned aside his face to look to me in the eyes and to conclude:
_”to understand the disaster that the country endured, to understand what happened here is an ecological damage, and general bankruptcy that the nation is crossing , you have to come here often, find a goldfinch, and meet with people who still drink black coffee with a drop of blossoms orange water.”
I didn’t find a Goldfinch, but Mackneen, the Algerian bird helped me in a sense. Once I came back from overseas, I was, like thrilled by some vague idea with undefined contours, in forms, but it gave me wings. Chance is, I borrowed a book of John McPhee, from the Library, at a passage, at the end of the book, it reads the quote below:
” To understand Russia, to understand Cuba, The Dominican, Boston, Identity Politics, Sri Lanka, and Life Savers, you have to be on top of this hill.”_Kidder Tracy, in Good Prose”
I told myself, “man, I am not holding my tongue for nobody else”
I knew I had to get that thing right if I was able to, not just blogging, but writing
I quivered at the sole thought of writing a blog and name it first, Mackneen, The Algerian Goldfinch, Voila!
Thank you for reading