The War of Liberation has dominated Algerian history so unequivocally that it has relegated all other eras and influences to the shadows. But today, the Algerians who were 20 or 30 years old in 1962 are dying, and their children and grandchildren will have to invent a future for the country without them. Toumi and his editors at Éditions Barzakh, Sofiane Hadjadj and Selma Hellal, hope readers will see the reflection of a new Algeria in the writing and publishing of books open to all imaginative possibilities.
Editing and publishing were not in the life plan of either Hadjadj or Hellal, who are a couple. Hadjadj, who is 46 years old, is secular, but his background is deeply religious. His father came to Algiers from the oasis farming community of El Goléa, in the Sahara, and the family owned small businesses before moving to the city and making a fortune in the building trade. Hadjadj, who is dark-skinned, describes his father as black. His mother, who wears the veil, grew up in the Casbah of Algiers, the daughter of Moroccan immigrants. In high school, and with the encouragement of his family, Hadjadj spent six years in Tunis studying the Quran to prepare for a future as an imam. Then he decided to study architecture instead.