A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, November 2, 2009

Algerian Revolution Day: 55 Years On

I let this one get by me. Yesterday, November 1, was Algerian Revolution Day, and this year marked 55 years since the outbreak on the Toussaint rouge (bloody All Saints' Day) on November 1, 1954.

The Algerian war of 1954 to 1962 was one of the most dramatic episodes of the entire decolonization struggle in the colonial world. France considered Algeria as an integral part of France, though Algeria's Muslims were never really integrated into the colonial society.

Not only did the war mark the birth throes of the Algerian state, but it also transformed France, bringing down the Fourth Republic and bringing in Charles de Gaulle and the Fifth Republic. Seen by many of the pieds noirs as their champion in the beginning, they soon learned that de Gaulle had a bigger vision, and the Secret Army Organization (OAS) soon was targeting de Gaulle, who, however, ultimately guided the process towards the establishment of an independent Algeria.

The newly independent Morocco and Tunisia, as well as Nasser's Egypt, were all involved in providing external support of the revolutionary movement. Algeria's revolution was bloody and tore French society almost as deeply as Algerian; when it comes to "revolutions" in the Middle East, it is a real one, not just a military coup masquerading as a revolution. Fifty-five years on, Algerian independence seems an inevitability of history, but many French and pieds noirs settlers fought hard to prevent it.

1 comment:

Col Chaabani said...

As far as external support, China's and Pakistan's were as important, if not more so, than Nasser's Egypt's. In terms of real material and logistical support Tunisia and Morocco deserve the most credit and mention, Egypt very little. The Egyptian role was heavily exaggerated by French (and Nasserite) propaganda.