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Posts Tagged ‘Oran Algeria’

Oran, Missouri

Posted by graywacke on July 13, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much an every-third-day blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2034; A Landing A Day blog post number 452.

 Dan –  Phew.  I avoided an 0/4 with this USer landing in . . . MO; 44/46; 5/10; 1; 150.9.  Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

So, I landed in that very crowded corner of the country, where MO, AR, IL, KY & TN all converge.  Here’s my closer-in landing map, showing that I landed close to three little towns:  Morley, Benton and Oran:

 landing 2

My Google Earth (GE) shot shows an expected agricultural setting.   (And are those chicken coops just south of my landing?  Probably).

 ge 1

A wider-view GE shot shows the Mississippi R, the Ohio R, and the largest town in the general vicinity, Cairo IL:

 ge 2

I landed in the “watershed” of the St. John’s Ditch, which flows into St. John’s Bayou (not big enough to be a river); on to the MM (798th hit). 

Of course, I perused the internet, looking for my proverbial hook.  Not much there, but the winner was the titular town, Oran.

 First, congrats to Oran High School, where the baseball team won their first Class I State Baseball title ever!!  They had a huge 5th inning (scoring all 8 of their runs) in beating defending champs Sante Fe, 8 – 5 (coming back from an 0-4 deficit).

 This, from the Scott County website about the origin of the name “Oran,” caught my eye:

Previously known as Sylvania and then St. Cloud, Oran was named by a sea captain who had spent time in Oran, Algeria, during the Crimean War. It was founded in 1869.

 I hate to admit it, but I can find nothing of particular interest about Oran, Missouri.  But how about Oran, Algeria?  

Untitled

This about Oran, from Wiki:

Oran was founded in 903 by Moorish Andalusi traders but was captured by the Spanish under Cardinal Cisneros in 1509.

So the Moors had it for a mere 606 years before the Spaniards moved in . . .

Spanish sovereignty lasted until 1708 . . .

. . . after only 199 years . . .

when the city was conquered by the Ottomans. Spain recaptured the city in 1732.

A lousy 24 years for the Ottoman Turks!  And then back to the Spaniards . .

However, its value as a trading post had decreased greatly, so King Charles IV of Spain sold the city to the Turks in 1792.

After 60 years for the Spaniards, back to the Turks.

Ottoman rule lasted until 1831, when it fell to the French.

So, the Turks held it for 39 years, and then the French grabbed it.

So, it turns out the French kept it (with a few bumps in the road during WWII).  But then came the Algerian war for independence, 1954–1962 (which resulted in Algerian independence).   Here’s some detail about what went on in Oran at the end of war:

Shortly after the end of the war, most of the Europeans and Sephardic Jews living in Oran fled to France.  A massacre of Europeans, four days after the vote for Algerian independence, triggered the exodus to France.  In less than three months Oran lost about half its population.

Man.  Now that’s a lot of history!  And there’s also the 1992 civil war (mentioned a little later).

Today, the Oran metro area has about 1.5 million people; it’s a major port city with three universities.  They are actively promoting tourism there.

Here’s a cool Panoramio photo of an old fort on the Mediterranean, west of Oran (with Oran in the background).

majidov1 pano old fort east ofthe city, in thebackground

Check out this cool video (intended to draw western tourists) entitled “Oran in Colour.”  It has great visuals, good music, and gives you a feel for the city and the people (and keeps you watching).   Now I want to go there.  Click HERE to see the video.  It is mandatory viewing for all readers of this post!

Given all of the unrest in the Islamic Middle East, I was wondering how Algeria is doing (it hasn’t been in the news much, eh?)

Here’s a little political background from Wiki:

Algeria is aauthoritarian regime, according to the Democracy Index 2010.  The Freedom of the Press 2009 report gives it rating “Not Free”.

Elected politicians are considered to have relatively little sway over Algeria. Instead, a group of unelected civilian and military “décideurs”, known as “le pouvoir” (“the power”), actually rule the country, even deciding who should be president.  The most powerful man may be Mohamed Mediène, head of the military intelligence.[

From a June 6th Reuters article, by Myra MacDonald:

BOUMERDES, Algeria (Reuters) – With its president in a French hospital for over a month and the surrounding region in turmoil, Algeria looks from the outside to be on course for a period of unrest.

The reality on the ground is different.  The state has $200 billion in reserves from oil and gas revenues to spend placating the population with jobs and subsidies and a powerful and secretive security service.

Combined with the memory of civil war, this has led to political inertia that is expected to continue with or without President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has not been seen since travelling to France for treatment for a stroke on April 27.

“It is not going to be a political change that triggers violence here. People are more concerned with economic justice in this society,” said one western diplomat in Algiers.

The “Arab spring” revolts toppled dictators in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt in 2011.

But Algerians say they had their Arab spring in the late 1980s when the country was opened up to multi-party elections. With Islamists poised to win, Algeria’s generals intervened in a 1992 coup, triggering a civil war – known as “the black years” – in which an estimated 200,000 died.

Since then the state has expanded into every area of public and economic life, ensuring stability among people who fear a return to conflict and the personal consequences of challenging the system too aggressively.

“We suffered in the black years,” said Toufiq, a young Salafist chatting at a plastic table next to a fast-food stall selling pizzas in the coastal university town of Boumerdes.

“Muslims shouldn’t fight with other Muslims,” said his friend Tariq.

The article goes on.  Click HERE if you’re interested reading the whole thing.  But it appears that the current government (far from a free Western society), is managing to maintain stability.  Tricky issue, eh?  And hey, the people in the tourist video (which you all saw, right?) sure seem happy!

Do we root for stability with a lack of democracy and freedoms, or do we root for full democracy with the uncertainty inherent in that?

Ahem.   A bit of a detour from the usual ALAD fare.  I’ll get back to Missouri, and close with this GE Panoramio shot by RiverBoaters of a sunset at the I-5 bridge over the Mighty Mississippi:

pano riverboaters I-5 bridge over the MM at sunrise

That’ll do it.

KS

Greg

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