Just to show there are no hard feelings after anti-Chinese riots broke out in Algeria, the Chinese government is giving Algeria an opera house. Evidently Algeria had an opera house on its Amazon wish list. Either that, or whoever is in charge of distributing contracts to foreign companies for gas and oil exploration is a big opera fan.
Either way, it's a thoughtful present--who doesn't want an opera house?--but Algerians aren't exactly celebrating in the streets. The first problem is the location of the opera house.
The land to be built on is part of the fertile Mitidja plain. Turning an agricultural site into an opera house has puzzled the locals. "They are wasting agricultural grounds," said one resident. "We have to start with the first step and get a job for unemployed local youth. A factory would have been a better present."
Smiling, his wife was more direct. "Can you imagine, us, the Algerians, going to the opera at night? Some of us can't even buy a kilogram of potatoes or tomatoes," she said.