A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, November 4, 2013

Djamila Buhrayd, Heroine of the Algerian Revolution: Death Reported, Then Denied

As an FLN Fighter
Only days after the 59th anniversary of the outbreak of the Algerian Revolution in 1954, Djamila Buhrayd (also spelled Bouhired), one of the female heroines of that war, has died in Algiers. [UPDATED: Her family is said to be denying that she has died. So please consider this piece about a famous living heroine of the Algerian war. So much for trusting Egypt's Youm 7.]

The obituary cited gives a birth year of 1937, while the Arabic, French, and English Wikipedia entries give 1935; in any event she was in her late 70s.

In Later Years
She was most famous for being one of three women (with Zohra Drif and Samia Lakhdari) who planted bombs on September 30, 1956, launching the famous "Battle of Algiers." The bombings are prominently depicted in Gilles Pontecorvo's 1966 film The Battle of Algiers, and was also the subject of a film by Egyptian Director Youssef Chahine The bomb she set did not go off.
At Right, Meeting Nasser, with Zohra Drif
Eventually arrested and tried, France sentenced her to death by guillotine, but after protests the sentence was commuted. She eventually married her French lawyer, Jacques Vergès, who converted to Islam. He died in August.

She, and other famous female fighters such as Djaila Boupacha and Zohra Drif, became heroines not only in Algeria but among Arab nationalists everywhere. Below, a video clip of her meeting Gamal Abdel Nasser:

1 comment:

Lameen Souag الأمين سواق said...

Also, her correct name is Būḥayrad, not Buhrayd.