A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday Nostalgia Historical Footnote: Mandela and Algeria's FLN in 1962

One last note about Nelson Mandela and the Middle East: As an ANC activist in 1961-1962, Nelson Mandela did training time in guerrilla warfare at training camps of Algeria's FLN. first in Morocco and later in Algeria after independence in 1962.

Here's an article (in French) about his Algerian experiences: "Mandela: C'est l'Algérie qi a fait de moi un homme." 

Some photos from his Algerian training:

After the ceasefire in 1962 a military parade to celebrate was held at the FLN camp near Oujda in eastern Morocco, attended by the historic leaders of the FLN and Mandela and other African revolutionaries:

Mandela is the man in sunglasses in the second row. In the first row are Rabah Bitat, soon-to-be President Ahnad Ben Bella, Guinea-Bissau/Cape Verde nationalist leader Amilcar Cabral, Defense Minister and future Algerian President Houari Boumedienne.

In this clip, Mandela tells a story of learning to shoot in Morocco:

1 comment:

David Mack said...

For the first part of my time in the U.S. Foreign Service, beginning in 1965, folks like Mandela were considered very suspect and virtually all ineligible for U.S. visas. Our love affair with the Algerian revolution had quickly cooled, and it took major gas projects and the Islamic Revolution in Iran to lead to better relations.