Miss al­ge­ria trolled for skin colour

The Sunday Guardian - - THE WEEK -

AL­GIERS: Win­ning a beauty pageant should be a mo­ment of joy, but Miss Al­ge­ria Khadija Ben Hamou, from the coun­try’s vast desert south, was im­me­di­ately tar­geted on­line for her dark skin colour.

Ben Hamou, 26, is the first south­erner to win the ti­tle that leads to a shot at the Miss World crown.

More than 75% of Al­ge­ri­ans live in the north, with most prom­i­nent fig­ures in pub­lic life be­ing lighter skinned north­ern­ers. Only one gov­ern­ment min­is­ter is dark skinned.

Some south­ern­ers feel ex­cluded from de­vel­op­ment in com­par­i­son with north­ern­ers, de­spite the re­gion, bor­der­ing Mali and Niger, be­ing rich in oil and gas and pro­vid­ing 95% of Al­ge­ria’s rev­enue.

As footage of the con­test spread on so­cial me­dia, trolls branded her “ugly” and told her “shame on you”, although some ap­plauded her beauty, say­ing it rep­re­sented “Al­ge­ria’s di­ver­sity”. Ben Hamou, from Adrar, some 1,000 km south of the cap­i­tal Al­giers, dis­missed the crit­i­cism.

“Al­ge­ria is a big coun­try, east, west, north and south. We rep­re­sent the coun­try. I won the con­test and I want to say to those who crit­i­cised me, Al­lah blesses you,” said the restau­rant worker. “I hope I will be a good rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the peo­ple of the south,” she said.

Khadija Ben Hamou

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