Living together

“Living Together” … This was the theme proposed by Algeria to all the countries of the world, through the UN, to celebrate May 16 each year. Thus, already the day before, on May 15, a rich debate took place on the Algerian radio and television on this theme with notably the participation of Mgr. Henri Teissier and other personalities of the country. The next day, a beautiful fresco was inaugurated at St. Augustine House, where precisely a group of people is called to share their daily life as ordinarily as possible “day after day”. But these are the people who already carry the weight of age, who have had, most of them, quite important responsibilities. Today, they are forced to get help from others. But they also have the task of making themselves ‘bearable’ to each other. Algerian and foreign friends are there, close to them to facilitate their task. We all know similar situations in our families, with our parents and relatives.

All of this echoes the meaning of the afternoon conference of May 16, at the Diocesan House, where a large audience of about 200 people, Muslims, Christians and freethinkers exchanged on this topic of “Living together”. A very nice introduction presented by some members of the Muslim brotherhood, named “Tarique des Alouines”, then by Mgr. Teissier and many other speakers who came spontaneously from the room, facilitated the depth and richness of the exchanges. With each example cited, it follows that if we would like to advance on the road to peace, it is essential to respect one another, whether one is a Muslim, a Christian or a free-thinker. Thinking about the future beatification of the 19 martyrs of the years 1990 – 2000, we note that the life of each martyr was precisely a testimony of simple life, true and engaged in the “coming and going” of every day. By putting yourself in tune with the “ordinary” we realize “the extraordinary”! That is to say: love each other!

Having been all my life in touch with the disabled, migrants, refugees, “people unlike everyone else”, I could feel, how hard it is to be accepted in the difference and to feel different.That’s why a day on the theme “Living together” is important. Building “bridges” between different opinions and different religions is important, I would say an obligation for everyone. This day of May 16 reminded us all of this.

« The ftour »

(Ftour or Iftar (Arabic: إفطار‎ ʾifṭār ‘break fast’) is the evening meal with which Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset. Muslims break their fast at the time of the call to prayer for the evening prayer. This is their second meal of the day; the daily fast during Ramadan begins immediately after the pre-dawn meal of Suhur and continues during the daylight hours, ending with sunset with the evening meal of Iftar. (Wikipedia)

It is in the sense of this text above that we were able to live in the “Sources” (a district of Algiers), a week later, May 25, a convivial meal of Ramadan where were present not less than 75 people, mostly Muslims, but with the presence of some Christians and in the house of a Christian.

The beginning of the Ramadan meal invariably begins with the wish “Ghafrou Baadakoum” (forgive one another). The meal was followed by a beautiful evening of poetic songs that touched our hearts. We really parted in a deep atmosphere of peace and well being. But other similar signs could be observed during this holy month. Despite all the painful and sometimes brutal repressions at the borders of sub-Saharan migrants, positive moments have been experienced in several places. Every evening, when I went to the bus station of Algiers, migrants were welcomed with “open arms” at the table of the “ftour” before accompanying them to the bus for a voluntary return to their country of origin. It was really touching. Moreover these moments of conviviality towards those who had nothing to eat were repeated for many in the city and in the country. . We saw them share at the El Harrach railway station. Then in the street of Didouche Mourad in Algiers. There a table of more than a hundred meters was erected so that all those who wanted to sit there could have a meal, including women.

Yes, we can say that this year, the time of Ramadan was also a grace filled time of meeting each other, putting into practice the beautiful theme of May 16: “Living Together”.

Algiers June 15 2018
1st day Aïd Seghir
Jan Heuft, M.Afr.