For those of you who don't know where Algeria is, you can find out on the little map below. It is located in Central Northern Africa, sandwiched between Morocco and Tunisia, and although it is actually the 2nd biggest country in Africa (and N° 11 in the world!), not too many people know a lot about it.
This is, in part, due to political and social difficulties the country had to go through ever since it seperated from its former colonial emperor France in 1962, making it unattractive to the average tourist (for the adventurous, Algeria was always interesting). Although, on the surface, Republique Algérienne seemed to improve quickly after its independence, and (thanks to their wealth in petrol) develop into one of the most advanced nations on the African continent, things were boiling underneath the surface (high youth unemployment, cultural and ethnic diversity among the population, corruption & censorship employed by the government), and this boiling pot finally exploded with the unexpected win of the Islamists Party (FIS) during the first real elections in 1991. The reigning government could not accept that defeat and "cancelled" (!) the elections, which started a cruel decade of civil war between Islamic fundamentalists and the Algerian army, with more than 100.000 victims, often innocent women & children, across the country. The capital Algiers, formerly known as La Blanche ("the white city") turned into La Rouge, a city becoming known for its violence: slit throats, car bombs and other cruel assassinations became a daily routine, as Europe and even the neighbour countries were watching helplessly in shock. The Islamic Fundamentalists often picked the country's cultural & intellectual elite (writers, journalists, musicians etc.) as their prime victims, and the government responded with corporal punishment, deportation camps, and merciless special forces to pursue and punish the terrorists.