France Speeds up Access to Algeria War Secret Archives

Flag of Algeria

Well now France is speeding up the access to secret Algeria war archives… but there is a caveat… a lot will depend on whether the French government wants it or not. … I wonder if these declassified documents will encompass all Algerians killed during that time and not just high profile figures like independence fighter Ali Boumendjel; hopefully, by opening these, more light will be shed on the countless Algerians who perished at the hand of the French… I also wonder if France will do it for other African countries, because we would all like to know about the genocide in Cameroon [French President Acknowledges French Genocide in Cameroon], in Madagascar, the Napalm bombing in Cameroon, the death of Sylvanus Olympio in Togo, the assassination of Thomas Sankara in Burkina Faso (his widow is still asking for those), the death of Mehdi Ben Barka, Barthelemy Boganda, and countless others. Well, while we wait, please read excerpts below from an article on RFI‘s website. Lastly, is this a ploy to distract Algerians from protesting against their government and leftover croonies from the previous government which have been backed up by France for years?


France is to make it easier for researchers to access classified government files that date back more than 50 years, especially those relating to the Algerian War – still a highly controversial chapter in French history which authorities have struggled to face.

French flag

A statement from the Elysée Palace said, as from Wednesday, a new procedure would “significantly reduce the delay” [I thought it was plain OPEN… why reduce the delay?] for declassifying documents in order to “encourage respect for historical truth”. It specifically mentioned documents relating to the Algerian War of independence (1954-62) [what about prior events? We all know that some periods before then were just as gruesome].

The measure comes after a series of steps taken by Macron to reconcile France with its colonial past and address its history with Algeria, which was under French rule for 132 years until its independence in 1962.

Under French heritage laws, official documents, including on defence and security issues, should be made available to researchers and the public after 50 years.

But historians and archivists have complained about difficulties in getting access to files because the process is not automatic. Every single document must be formally declassified and stamped before it becomes accessible, a slow process that has effectively kept much information under wraps.

Carte de l’Algerie (Map of Algeria)

Under the changes, archivists will be able to declassify archive boxes all at once rather than document by document, which will, in theory, [there it is: it a theory… knowing the French government, this is just nice words] speed up the process.

… Even once the files are technically declassified, they can still be meticulously checked page by page for sensitive military secrets before being handed over … Despite the latest announcement, “if the authorities don’t want to declassify, they won’t”. …

Why the Name: Annaba ?

Annaba_Ancient city of Hippo Regius
Ruins of the Ancient city of Hippo Regius, modern-day Annaba (Source: Wikipedia)

I always loved the name of the city Annaba in Algeria. From the name, one could think that we are talking about a city in subsaharan Africa. I used to think that the origin of its name would be Berber or from somewhere in sub-Saharan Africa.

Annaba is the 4th largest city of Algeria, after AlgiersOran, and Constantine. It is a coastal city which has grown tremendously, like most cities around the globe, in the 20th century. Present-day Annaba grew up on the site of Aphrodisium, the seaport of the Roman city Hippo Regius. The modern city has since expanded south over Hippo’s ruins as well. Its former names Bône and Bona derived from “Ubbo“, a local form of the name Hippo. Its informal name “Land of the Jujubes” derives from that abundance of that fruit in the region.

Bona, Algeria in 1899 (modern-day Annaba)

Annaba, as one of the most ancient cities of Algeria, founded in 1295 BC, has had different names during her life: Ubbo, Hippo Regius, Hippone, Bona, Bled El Aneb, Bône, and nowadays Annaba. It was known as Balad al-Unnab or the “Land of the jujubes” from which the name Annaba is derived, because of the abundance of that fruit in the region.

During the rule of France (empire and republics), the city was called Bône. It was one of the main French settlements, and it still has a sizeable minority of the “Pied-Noir” to this day. During World War II in 1943, Bône was a crucial highway and sea location for the invasion of Tunisia, and thence the driving of the Axis Powers (Germany and Italy) out of Africa in May 1943. Bône remained in Allied hands until the end of the war in 1945, and then it remained a part of French Algeria until the independence of Algeria in 1962.

Annaba_Bone Hotel de ville epoque coloniale
Bone, Hotel de Ville during the colonial period

The city is an important hub of the world steel industry with the steel complex of El Hadjar, eight kilometres south of the city. It is the largest in Africa. Phosphate and metal industries are also prominent in the area. Other industrial sectors, private, focus on agri-food, metal processing, wood products, and construction.

Annaba is an important centre for tourism, and is one of the major tourist attractions in the western Mediterranean. It is located in the north east of the country, at 536 km east of Algiers and 105 km from the Tunisian border.

Annaba_panorama sea front
Panoramic view of Annaba’s sea front (Source: Wikipedia)

The downtown district of Annaba is on the sea-front, and includes the promenade called the Concours de la Revolution (previously called Le Cours Bertagna) which is a lively area, brimming with arcades and all kinds of covered restaurants, terraced cafes and kiosks. If you visit Annaba, remember to taste the Jujubes and enjoy the sea!!!


Why the Name: Oran?


Oran, “the radiant,” is the name often given to the second most populous city of Algeria. In the past, I used to think that the name Oran had something to do with orient, the east. So from “radiant” to “orient”, which is true? or is there another meaning to the name of this beautiful Algerian city?

The name Oran comes from Wahran, which comes from the Berber word Uharu for Lion. One of the known forms of the word, Wadaharan, could come from “Wad + Aharan“, or “the river of Lions.”

Oran, from City Hall steps, 1894 (Library of Congress)
Oran, from City Hall steps, 1894 (Library of Congress)

Several legends link the name of the city to lions. Legend says that in 900 AD, there were still lions in the area; in the mystic legend, a lion had appeared on the grave of the saint patron Sidi El Hourari. The most common tradition traces the name of the city to the dream of the son of the Vizier of Cordoba, who was running away by sea from the tyranny of his father who opposed his marriage to the woman he loved. On his way, a storm arose, and he had a vision of two lion cubs, and a shipwreck on La Plage des Andalouses in Oran.

Either way, the last two lions were hunted on a mountain near Oran referred to as “mountain of lions,” also known as Djebel Kar, the mountain of rubbles. The French name, Mountain of lions, indicates that there were still lions living in that area at the beginning of the 19th century. Two giant lion statues stand in front of Oran’s city hall, symbolizing the city.

Oran, today
Oran, today

During the Roman empire, the region of Oran was a small settlement called Unica Colonia, which disappeared after the Arab conquest of the Maghreb. Founded in 902 by Moorish Andalusi traders, Oran saw a succession of Arab-Berber dynasties. It was captured by the Spanish under Cardinal Cisneros in 1509, Spanish sovereignty lasted until 1708, when the city was conquered by the Ottomans. Spain recaptured the city in 1732. However, its value as a trading post had decreased greatly, so King Charles IV sold the city to the Turks in 1792 (some sources say that it was conquered, rather than sold to the Bey Mohamed El Kebir). Ottoman rule lasted until 1831, when it fell to the French. During French colonization, Oran saw a rapid development and became Algeria‘s second city.

Flag of Algeria
Flag of Algeria

After independence in 1962, Oran remained the capital of the West of the country, and its principal financial, commercial, and industrial center. It is today one of the most important cities of the Maghreb. It is a port city on the Mediterranean sea, located in the northwest of Algeria, 432 km from the capital Algiers, and is the capital of the Oran Province in the gulf of Oran. Oran is a major port and a commercial centre, with three major universities. It is also the birthplace of the Raï, the Algerian folk music made popular by singers such as Cheb Khaled, Cheb Mami, Raïna Raï, and others.

Please enjoy this video of Oran, the city of Lions, Oran the radiant, the city of Raï.




2014 FIFA World Cup: Historic Advance for African Teams

2014 FIFA World Cup
2014 FIFA World Cup

Flag and map of Nigeria
Flag and map of Nigeria

The 2014 FIFA World Cup has brought a lot of surprises thus far: the sharp exit of the defending champions Spain, the exit of Italy and England, the advances of countries like Costa Rica, Belgium, Colombia, or Switzerland into the last round of 16.  Above all, what has brought joy to me, a fellow African, is the advance of two African countries for the first time in the history of the FIFA World Cup into the last round of 16: namely, Nigeria and Algeria (never mind that their names both finish with ‘geria‘).  I am glad to see that my predictions of seeing Algeria move forward into the round of 16 came true, and agreed with Maradona’s.  I am also thrilled to see Nigeria (whom I had thought were in a good group and had big chances of advancing) progress.

Flag of Algeria
Flag of Algeria

Schedule for 30 June 2014, FIFA World Cup Round of 16
Schedule for 30 June 2014, FIFA World Cup Round of 16

Today, both countries will face France and Germany respectively (France – Nigeria and Germany – Algeria). We wish them the very best as they carry the hopes of the entire continent up, and we hope to be elated by the strength of the Super Eagles of Nigeria, and the dexterity and perseverance of the Fennecs of Algeria.  May the best teams win!

2014 FIFA World Cup: All the African Teams

2014 FIFA World Cup
2014 FIFA World Cup

Tomorrow, the world will vibrate to the rhythm of samba, carnivals, and Copacabana… Yes tomorrow, the 2014 FIFA World Cup will start in Brazil, and 32 of the best soccer nations will compete at this great planetary event.  This will one month of soccer, pure joy, fun, and above all talent;  Talent expressed by players from around the globe.  Legends will be made, new faces discovered, and dreams will take off.

Five African teams will grace the tournament: Algeria, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria.

We do hope that at least one African team will advance into the round of 16, and beyond.  Here are some of the African stars to watch out for.

2014 FIFA World Cup groups
2014 FIFA World Cup groups

The Desert Foxes of Algeria are a good team to contend with, in another relatively easy group with Russia, South Korea, and Belgium.  This should hopefully be an easy one.  Maradona predicts Algeria “will cause a surprise”, while Rivaldo says “the possibilities of reaching the second round are abundant”.

Samuel Eto’o Fils, captain of Cameroon’s Indomitaple Lions, is incontestably one of the best forwards on the planet, and one of the greatest strikers of his generation. This might be his last world cup, and Cameroon’s first in 8 years.  The Pichichi, and winner of several honors including African Ballon d’Or, will have to be ready to affront Brazil, the host country, Mexico, and Croatia in group A.

Didier Drogba, captain of Cote d’Ivoire’s Elephants, like Eto’o is also one of the best on the planet.  After playing for Chelsea and winning countless trophies, he is now in Turkey with Galatasaray FC.  This will probably be his last world cup.  We wish him, and the Ivorian team the very best.  They qualified with gusto to this competition.  They have a relatively easy group with Colombia, Japan, and Greece.  I will put my money on them moving to the next round in the tournament.

Armadillo, the 2014 FIFA World Cup mascot
Armadillo, the 2014 FIFA World Cup mascot

Relying on their strength at the back, with captain and goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, Nigeria will have to face Argentina, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Iran.  The Super Eagles have undergone a radical transformation under Stephen Keshi, which has made them win last year African Cup of Nations‘ tournament. With good discipline, they should be able to advance in the competition as well.

The Black Stars of Ghana were fancied to repeat, or even improve on, their run to the quarter-finals in 2010 in South Africa.  That was until the draw was made and they were pitted with the world’s second and third-ranked sides.  Asamoah Gyan and his teammates will play against Germany, Portugal, and the United States. This is the “group of death”.  Ghana is a very good team; if they manage to make it to the round of 16, then they will quite far at the World Cup.  We wish them the very best in the competition.

Brazil 2014 World Cup
Brazil 2014 World Cup

Throughout the years, I have placed high hopes on African teams and have always been disappointed.  I might once again be disappointed.  However, this is planetary tournament, and the fun of it makes one root for any good team.  For the world cup winner, I believe Brazil, the host country has home court advantage, as well as a pool of great talents.  Let us hope that will be enough to make them winners.  I also think Argentina of Lionel Messi will be a really great contender, as well as Spain, the last world cup winners.  Overall, let the world cup start, with all the fun, and may the best team win!!!

Why the name: Algiers?

Algiers at the beginning of the Ottoman rule, 16th century AD
Algiers at the beginning of the Ottoman rule, 16th century AD

I have often wondered what the name, Algiers, for the capital of Algeria meant.  I always thought it interesting for a capital, and a country to have the same name: Alger (in French) the capital and Algeria, the country.

Modern-day Algiers
Modern-day Algiers

For starters Alger (in French) or Algiers (in English) is a name deriving from the Catalan Alguère, which itself comes from Djezaïr, name given by Bologhine ibn Ziri, founder of the Berber Zirid dynasty who built the city in 944 on the ruins of the ancient Roman city Icosium (or the seagull island), Djezaïr Beni Mezghenna.  The name, as given by Bologhine ibn Ziri, referred to the four islands which laid off the city’s coast until becoming part of the mainland in 1525.  In Arabic, Al-Djaza’ir (الجزائر), “les Îlots” (the Islands), in French “les Iles de Mezghenna” or the islands of Mezghanna  (جزاير بني مزغنا Djezaïr Beni Mezghenna).  According to Middle Ages Muslim geographers, the term island could also refer to the fertile coast of Algeria stuck between the vast Sahara, and the Mediterranean Sea, appearing as an island of life, Al-Jaza’ir.

Basilique 'Notre Dame d'Afrique' in Algiers
Basilique ‘Notre Dame d’Afrique’ in Algiers

Algiers is often nicknamed El-Behdja (البهجة, the joyous), El Mahroussa (the well-kept) or alternatively Alger la Blanche (“Algiers the White”) for the glistening white of its buildings as seen rising up from the sea.  Algiers is located on the west side of a bay of the Mediterranean Sea, also known as the Algiers bay.  The modern part of the city is built on the level ground by the seashore; while the old part, the ancient city of the deys, the Ottoman rulers, climbs the steep hill behind the modern town and is crowned by the casbah or citadel, 122 metres (400 ft) above the sea.  The casbah, which is an ancient neighborhood of Algiers (and a UNESCO World Heritage site), was built on the side of one of the hills that points west of

Carte de l'Algerie (Map of Algeria)
Carte de l’Algerie (Map of Algeria)

the Algiers bay; the casbah and the two quays form a triangle.  Under Ottoman rule, from 1510 to early 1800s, new neighborhoods arose on the hills overseeing the bay.  Algiers and Algeria later fell into French rule in the 1830s, and Algeria became independent on 5 July 1962.

Today, ‘Algiers the White’ is an important vibrant city of almost 4 million inhabitants in North Africa.  It is in essence a joyous city with a glistening white essence on the Mediterranean sea.  Enjoy this video on Algiers.

“Le Mali en miettes. A qui le tour?” de Chems Eddine Chitour

Flag of Mali
Flag of Mali

J’ai trouvé cet article sur Cameroon Voice du Pr. Chems Eddine Chitour assez interessant. Depuis que les occidentaux se sont lançés a une reconquête du monde: Côte d’Ivoire, Libye, Syrie, et maintenant Mali… on se pose bien des questions. Les questions fondamentales demeurent: à qui le tour? Pourquoi cette politique de la gâchette facile? pourquoi acquérir ce gain si facile, pourquoi tant de paresse? Les Occidentaux devraient reconnaitre que leur systeme capitaliste a bel et bien été la faute de leur chute… et beaucoup de pays tels la France et les Etats-Unis devraient le reconnaître, et faire une réforme de leur système, règler leur dette, et non mettre le reste du monde à feu et à sang, et ensuite prétendre que la Chine est l’ennemi du monde. Franchement… c’est assez difficile de comprendre une intervention aérienne française au Mali, un pays du tiers-monde où les gens n’arrivent même pas à joindre les 2 bouts. C’est assez difficile d’accepter que des petits rebelles pourraient constituer une menace pour la France qui aurait même besoin du support militaire américain. Les attentats récents en Algérie contre des ressortissants américains semblent présenter l’Algérie comme le prochain pays sur la ligne de mire des sanguinaires français qui ont toujours rêvé de mettre l’Algérie à genoux en y commettant les plus grands genocides de l’histoire de l’humanité. Que le bon Dieu nous garde des paresseux, et des envieux! Ces derniers feraient mieux de se mettre au travail comme les Chinois!


Map of Mali

Ça y est! Comme nous l’avons prédit dans un article précédent, l’Afghanisation du Mali est en marche! Pourquoi l’engouement des redresseurs de tort de l’Empire et de ses vassaux pour un pays qui, en théorie, est un désert au sens qu’il ne contient rien de comestible à moins que nous n’ayons pas toute l’information sur les réelles potentialités de ce pays voisin. […]

Curieusement, ces dernières semaines notamment avec les accords de Ansar Eddine et du Mnla à Alger, qui devaient ensuite être reçus par les responsables de la Cédéao pour une solution négociée, avaient fait miroiter une possible paix sans intervention militaire. Tout s’est précipité. Une résolution fut arrachée aux Nations unies le 20 décembre 2012, elle autorise une intervention en cas d’échec de la diplomatie. Cette diplomatie qui n’a pas eu à faire ses preuves puisque trois semaines après, la France intervenait pour stopper les mouvements se revendiquant d’un Islam fondamentaliste, sans accord du Conseil de sécurité. [surprenant comme ce scenario ressemble a celui de la Libye avec les Nations Unies qui sortent des resolutions suivies des frappes aériennes franco-americaines]. […]

L’intervention au Mali a été engagée après le forcing français pour l’adoption, le 20 décembre 2012, de la résolution 2085 par le Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU. Pour autant, aucune résolution de l’ONU n’autorise (ni n’interdit du reste) l’intervention française. […] Continue reading ““Le Mali en miettes. A qui le tour?” de Chems Eddine Chitour”

Tunis: Why the Name?


Today, we will be talking about the beautiful city of Tunis, the capital of TunisiaWhere does the name Tunis come from?  Is Tunisia, the name of the country whose capital is Tunis, just a derivative of the name Tunis?

Well for starters the city of Tunis is built on a set of hills that go down towards the lake of Tunis.  Tunis was born at the crossroads between the basins of lake Tunis and the Séjoumi.  Situated on a large Mediterranean Sea gulf (the Gulf of Tunis), behind the Lake of Tunis and the port of La Goulette (Halq al Wadi), the city extends along the coastal plain and the hills that surround it.  At the centre of more modern development (from the colonial era and later) lies the old medina.  Beyond this district lie the suburbs of Carthage, La Marsa, and Sidi Bou Said.

Map of Tunisia
Map of Tunisia (from World Atlas)

Tunis is the French transcription of a name, which is pronounced tûnus, tûnas or tûnis (with û sounding like an ‘ou’ in French) in Arabic.  The three pronunciations were indicated by the arab geographer Yaqout al-Rumi in his book Mu’jam al-Buldan (Dictionary of countries).  The last pronunciation tûnis is the most used of the city’s name tûnisi ou tûnusiThis vocable is defined to mean “to lie down” or “lying down”, and by extension “spending the night,” or “spending the night at”, or “getting somewhere and spending the night.” Among many of the derivatives of this term, one can find tinés (pluriel de ténésé) which indicate “the idea of lying down,” and by extension “the fact of spending the night.”

Ancient Tunisia
Ancient Tunisia

Thus the name Tunis probably had the meaning of “night camp” or “bivouac” or “stop.”  In the ancient toponymy of Roman Africa, several towns carry similar names such as: Tuniza (modern-day El Kala), Thunusuda (modern-day Sidi Meskine), Thinissut (modern-day Bir Bouregba), Thunisa (modern-day Ras Jebel) or Cartennae (modern-day Ténès in Algeria).  All these berber localities were located on roman roads, and probably served as road houses, or stops.  From the name Tunis, arose the country name Tunisia.  The name gained prominence among French historians and geographers, by analogy with the word Algeria derived from Algiers. Today Tunis is well-known for its beauty, its people, and its sunny days; it is one of Africa’s best touristic spots. Enjoy the video below, which gives a quick historical view of Tunis and Tunisia.

Lalla Fadhma N’Soumer, the Embodiment of Algerian Resistance against French Colonization

Lalla Fadhma N'Soumer (19th century)
Lalla Fadhma N’Soumer (19th century)

Today’s post will be dedicated to a great resistant and leader of Africa, the great Lalla Fadhma N’Soumer (also known as Lalla Fatma N’Soumer), an important figure of resistance against French invasion in Algeria.  Lalla Fadhma N’Soumer has been seen as the embodiment of the Algerian struggle.  The war of colonization in Algeria was one of the most brutal and repressive in Africa; it is said that Algeria lost 1/3 of its population between 1830 and 1872.  The war was quite atrocious, and very often we are told of the courage and charisma of leaders such as the emir Abdel Kader, but often in history books, the names of heroines like Lalla Fadhma N’Soumer are forgotten or simply erased.

Fadhma N'Soumer
Fadhma N’Soumer

Lalla Fadhma N’Soumer was born in Werja, a village near Ain El Hammam in 1830, the year French occupation started in Algeria.  She was from KabylieLalla, the female equivalent of sidi, is an honorific reserved for women of high rank, or who are venerated as saints.  Her real name was Fadhma Nat Si Hmed.  The title, N’Soumer, was given to her because of her piety and strength and because she lived in the village of Soumer.  Fadhma was the daughter of cheikh Ali Ben Aissi, who headed a Qur’anic school, which was linked with the Zawyia Rahmaniya of Sidi Mohamed Ibn Abderrahmane Abu Qabrein.  Young Fadhma was extremely gifted, and memorized the Qur’an simply by listening to her father’s disciples when they chanted the various surats.  After her father’s death, Fadhma directed the Qur’anic school with her brother Si Mohand Tayeb.  She took special care of the children and the poor.  She was known for her great piety, notable wisdom, piercing intelligence, and had an excellent reputation throughout the Kabylie region.

Battle of Somah in 1836 (by Horace Vernet)
Battle of Somah in 1836 (by Horace Vernet)

Fadhma was only 16 when the French occupied Kabylie.  In 1847, she joined the resistance leaders of the region: Si Mohamed El-Hachemi and Mohamed El Amdjed Ibn Abdelmalek (nicknamed Bou-Baghla).  Bou-Baghla was probably an ex-lieutenant in the army of Emir Abdelkader, defeated for the last time by the French in 1847.  Refusing to surrender, Bou Baghla retreated to Kabylie.  From there, he began a war against the French armies and their allies, often employing guerilla tactics.  He was a relentless fighter, very eloquent, and very religious.  Fadhma and Bou-Baghla were kindred spirits fighting for the freedom of their people.  After Bou-Baghla’s death in 1854, Fadhma was given command of combat by the great council of combatants and important figures of the Kabylie’s tribes.

She led a strong resistance against Marshal Jacques Louis Randon’s 13,000-strong French army.  She gave them a lesson of courage, and determination.  Armed with an unshakable faith, Fadhma threw herself in bloody battles to push back the enemy.  During the battle of Tachekkirt, led by Bou-Baghla at the time, Randon was captured, but managed to escape later.  During the famous battle of Oued Sebaou, Fadhma was only 24 years old, and headed an army of men and women; she took control, and led her people to victory, a victory heralded throughouth Kabylie. The mosques, zawiyas, and Qur’anic schools sang praises in honor of the heroine of the Djurdjura.

Lalla Fadhma N'Soumer during battle
Lalla Fadhma N’Soumer during battle (in reality, it is said that she never used weapons)

Not willing to accept defeat, Randon asked for reinforcements, with his forces reaching 35,000 men.  He asked the people of Azazga to help him reach Fadhma N’Soumer’s quarters, to end “her legend, and misdeeds.”  The response to his emissary was “Go to the one who sent you, and tell him our ears cannot hear the language of him who asks us to betray.”  Such was the loyalty and respect of the people for Fadhma.  In response, Randon promised the people of Azazga constant exposure to his cannons.  One can only imagine the brutality of the French against the Azazga people, which were later defeated.  Fadhma did not give up, and mobilized her people to “fight for Islam, the land, and liberty. They are our constant, and they are sacred. They can neither be the object of concessions nor haggling.”  Her strong personality and inspirational speeches had a strong influence in all of Kabylie, as shown by the sacrifice and determination of the people during all the battles, especially those of Icherridene and Tachkrit,where the enemy troops were greatly defeated.  The latter took place on July 18 – 19, 1854, and resulted in a heavy death toll (over 800 dead) for the French troops.

Monument celebrating Lalla Fadhma N'Soumer, in Algiers
Monument celebrating Lalla Fadhma N’Soumer, in Algiers

Defeated, Randon finally asked for a ceasefire, which Fadhma N’Soumer agreed to.  She was planning to use the ceasefire period to improve her organization and reinforce her troops.  Fields were plowed and sowed, and arms factories were installed in all corners of the region.  However, just like with Samori Toure, or Behanzin, the French did not respect the ceasefire.  In 1857, after only three years, they broke their word (as always) and launched offensives in all large cities which had been hard to overtake until then.  History will record that the French were always people of no word during the colonization (and even today); they used every sneaky technique they could find to eliminate others… and even with all their ‘superior’ gunpower, and manpower, they could not have won against our great African leaders without using treachery, and treason.

Poem dedicated to Lalla Fadhma N'Soumer (from Poésies populaires de la Kabylie du Jurjura, Paris 1867)
Poem dedicated to Lalla Fadhma N’Soumer (from Poésies populaires de la Kabylie du Jurjura, Paris 1867)

Fadhma N’Soumer, whose influence motivated the freedom fighters, appealed to the people for a last and supreme effort. Surrounded by women of the region, Lalla Fadhma directed the fight and encouraged remaining volunteers.  However, they lost the battle, and Fadhma was arrested on 27 July 1857, in the village of Takhlijt Ath Atsou, near Tirourda.  The French soldiers destroyed her rich library, which contained a rich source of scientific and religious works from the region.  They also spent her fortune, which had been used toward caring for the disciples of her father’s zawiya.  Lalla Fadhma N’Soumer died in 1863, from the hardship of incarceration in Béni Slimane, from the news of her brother’s passing, and the frustration from her inability to act against French aggression on her people.  She was only 33 years old.  The enemy (the French) nicknamed her, the Joan of Ark of the Djurdjura, a comparison that the religious Fadhma never accepted.

To read more about French invasion of Algeria, check out Mediapart.  Watch the video below to learn more about Lalla Fadhma N’Soumer (It has 5 parts, and is very instructive).  Whenever you think of resistance in Africa, please do remember Lalla Fadhma N’Soumer who by her courage, piety, strength, and charisma was able to defeat the mighty French army, and capture a French marshal/general.  Remember that there was a woman who held a rich library of scientific and religious works which was destroyed by the French army (it must have been full of treasures for them to destroy).  Remember that this woman served the people, and love them dearly to sacrifice her life for their freedom.  Remember, yes, that a woman led men and women to battles, and actually won!

French-Algerian wars / Les guerres France – Algérie

As I see so many wars in Africa today: the war in Libya against an entire people for oil and money (let’s be frank on this), and the genocide perpetrated against Ivorian people… I read last week, that they were already numbering 28,00030,000 deaths in the city of Abidjan only. I don’t even dare thinking about how many died in the whole country, for Ouattara to be president! Now I understand why President Gbagbo always said that “Ouattara was the candidate of foreign powers”… and that is true: his entire security is done by French forces, French policemen are regulating traffic in Abidjan, sources say that there will be 1,000 French and Americans brought in to control Ivorian government officers and affairs… Am I dreaming or what? It’s like back in colonization time! As I cry for my friends in Libya on whom bombs are being dropped everyday in the name of ‘the protection of civilians’… I had to take you down memory lane, to talk about a neighboring country of Libya: Algeria, and the wars waged by France on Algeria which is exactly what we are seeing today in Cote d’Ivoire, and Libya. Such a brutal force shown by France and its allies on African soil is staggering… but it is not new! It was done earlier in Algeria, Madagascar, Cameroon and many other countries in Africa… except it was perpetrated over 50 years ago, and we thought that … well… we thought that that time was long gone. It is said that at least 150,000 people died in Algeria in 1954, and over 400,000 were killed in Cameroon in the 1960s… I warn those with frail hearts. Today, the page of imperialism has been re-opened, and it ain’t pretty!

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Aujourd’hui  je vois tant de guerres en Afrique: la guerre en Libye contre tout un peuple pour le pétrole et l’argent (soyons franc à ce sujet), et le génocide perpétré contre le peuple de Côte d’Ivoire pour son pétrole, cacao, café, diamants… Juste la semaine derniere on denombrait déjà 28.00030.000 morts dans la ville d’Abidjan seulement! Je n’ose meme pas pensé au nombre de morts qu’il y a eu dans tout le pays afin que Ouattara soit président! A présent je comprends pourquoi le President Gbagbo disait toujours que “Ouattara est le candidat de l’étranger.” Et c’est vrai: sa sécurité est assurée par les forces françaises, des gendarmes français réglementent la circulation à Abidjan; selon certaines sources d’ici peu, il y aura 1000 français et Américains pour s’assurer du contrôle des fonctionnaires ivoiriens et des affaires … Je rêve ou quoi? On se croirait au  temps de la colonisation! Je pleure pour mes amis libyens sur qui on largue des bombes au nom de la “protection des civils“.  Aujourd’hui, je vais faire un rappel de mémoire, et je vais parler d’un pays limitrophe à la Libye: l’Algérie et les guerres menées par la France en Algérie qui sont exactement ce qui se passe aujourd’hui en Côte d’Ivoire et en Libye. Une force d’une telle brutalité montrée par la France et ses alliés en Afrique est horrible… mais pas nouvelle! Cela a eu lieu plus tôt en Algérie, Madagascar, Cameroun et d’autres nations africaines…. mais c’était il y a plus de 50 ans, et nous avions cru que cette époque-la était révolue! Il est dit qu’au moins 150.000 personnes sont mortes en Algérie en 1954, et plus de 400.000 ont été tuées au Cameroun dans les années 1960… Je mets en garde les âmes sensibles. Aujourd’hui, la page de l’impérialisme a été ré-ouverte, et ce n’est pas joli!