The relationship between the Algerian people and its Moroccan neighbor goes back to thousands of years; being one Amazighian Nation, the two people lived and cooperated with each other through ages.
During the French colonial occupation in north Africa from 1830 to 1962, the two countries, alongside Tunisia, worked to help each other in difficult times. Standing in the face of the enemy together by providing shelter and food to the rebels (Mujahidin), buying Arms and delivering them to the front lines of the battles, without forgetting the enormous support in international conferences such as United Nation summits, Bandung Conference in 1955.
Even though the Algerian-Moroccan land borders remain closed since 1994 due to the political conflict between the two governments, for me, Algerians and Moroccans didn’t fall in the political trap set by careless politicians. Instead, they strengthened the ties and kept their hopes of a better future between the neighbors, simply because they are one nation, and the borders set by colonial armies are meaningless.
In this article, I interviewed several citizens from both Algeria and morocco to illustrate how strong the relationship is between the two countries and how they truly belong to one big family.
I contacted Mr. Tarik, a 35 years old Moroccan man married to an Algerian woman. He said, ” as a Moroccan married to an Algerian woman, I suffer a lot because of the closed borders between the two countries, I live in Fes city in morocco. My wife’s family lives in Oran city in Algeria, the only way to visit them is to ride a train for 300 km and then board a plane to Algiers and from there grab a taxi to see my wife’s family. The plane ticket is so expensive. Therefore I can only pay them a visit once a year”.
Tarik’s story isn’t so different from Abdullah’s. Abdullah is a 30 years old Algerian who moved to Morocco with his family when he was 5 years old. Abdullah told me, ” I have uncles and aunts, whom I haven’t seen in more than 30 years, I live in Marrakech, it would be easier for me to visit my family in Algeria if the land borders weren’t closed.”
To understand more the problematic situation the separate families are in, I contacted Ali, and he explained to me how difficult is the different life his family lives.
In recent years, with the awareness of the youth from both countries, a lot of protests took place in several border crossings demanding the reopening of the borders to allow thousands of separate families to reunite with each other. The young generation from both countries gave an example of fraternity in football stadiums all over the world, sitting side by side, raising flags of both countries, chanting “Brothers, Brothers” sending a message to governments saying “we don’t care about your malignant policies; we are brothers from the same family no matter what.”
When interviewing my Moroccan and Algerian friends and brothers, I felt the deep sorrow tone in their voices. Their stories and the stories of thousands like them are so sad, it is heartbreaking to see thousands of families forced to live separated from each other. In contrast, they live next door, it is difficult to miss a wedding celebration with your family or a funeral and burial of a dear one. In the hope of a bright future for both countries, those families keep living.