National liberation

Algeria: torture last time

Issue section: 
Author: 

When Algerian journalist Henri Alleg published his account of being tortured at the hands of the French colonial regime it became an instant bestseller. Ian Birchall tells us why the book is still as relevant today as it was 50 years ago during the Algerian War of Independence.

More than 50 years ago France was fighting a vicious colonial war in Algeria. The enemy were so-called "terrorists", North African Muslims who wanted national independence. Many episodes from that war have striking parallels with the world today.

Henri Alleg was editor of Alger Républicain, the only daily newspaper in Algeria to oppose the French colonial regime, and a member of the Algerian Communist Party. In 1955 Alger Républicain was banned and the following year it was decided to intern most of its contributors. Alleg went into hiding.

Path of Greatest Resistance

Issue section: 
Author: 

Bush and Blair's denunciation of Iraqi insurgents as 'criminals' and 'terrorists' recalls the experience of the French Resistance and the Algerian war of independence.

There is nothing new about the situation in Iraq. Ever since imperial powers have imposed their rule on other peoples, there has been resistance. And since the occupying powers have superior weapons, those fighting back use unconventional methods, breaking the rules that their oppressors would like to force on them. This meant guerrilla fighting of some sort. Already in the 1840s a British military commander in India moaned that rebels were 'cruel bloodthirsty cowards' who hid and ran rather than give the British 'a little honest fighting'.

The Rebel's Weapon

Issue section: 

In 1961 Frantz Fanon, a leader of the Algerian National Liberation Front, wrote the inspirational book The Wretched of the Earth. French socialist, philosopher and writer Jean-Paul Sartre wrote an extended introduction to Fanon's important work. Here we reprint extracts from Sartre's essay calling on the French left to support the Algerian struggle and see it as their own.

Have the courage to read this book, for in the first place it will make you ashamed, and shame, as Marx said, is a revolutionary sentiment. As a European, I steal the enemy's book, and out of it I fashion a remedy for Europe. Make the most of it.

Their Struggle Belongs to the World

Issue section: 
Author: 

From June 1956 to October 1957 the Algerian liberation struggle was fought in the capital, Algiers. Tom Hickey looks at the history and its representation in The Battle of Algiers.

The Battle of Algiers represents one of the pivotal moments in the Algerian war of independence. Directed by Gillo Ponticorvo, it captures the social and political conditions of the nationalist revolution: the rationale for the use of terror by the nationalist forces, the logic that drove the French army of occupation to use torture, and the relationship between political and military considerations in conditions of war.

Labour's Welsh Roots are Withering

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

The crisis that has engulfed Blair and New Labour will be exposed in the forthcoming Welsh Assembly elections in May.

There are signs of real desperation within Wales's New Labour ranks. First Minister Rhodri Morgan has stated that there is 'clear red water between Cardiff and London'. Ron Davies, the former Welsh secretary, has weighed in with a warning that Labour could lose the election to Plaid Cymru, stating that if the Labour manifesto is not radical enough they will face meltdown in the polling booths.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - National liberation