algerian war for independence

“Ici on noie les Algériens” - “Here we drown Algerians

-Graffiti on the Saint-Michel Bridge, after the massacre

The Paris Massacre of 1961

In 1961, France found itself embroiled in a fierce counter-revolutionary war against its colony of Algeria. The war started in 1954, and as it dragged on, anti-Algerian laws and attitudes seeped into mainland France. In retaliation of the brutal suppression of the Algerian independence fighters, several police buildings were bombed in Paris. French police began to ruthlessly target Parisians with Algerian backgrounds; other minorities, like Moroccans, Tunisians, Spaniards, and Italians, were sometimes targeted out of ignorance. Those stopped by police were met with harsh interrogation and outright violence - a disturbingly common method used by French police was to beat, handcuff, then throw a suspect into the Seine, effectively executing them through drowning. Established law followed this trend, and by 1961, it was illegal to merely protest against the Algerian War.

On October 5th, a general curfew of 8:30 PM was enforced against all “Algerian Muslim workers,” “French Muslims” and “French Muslims of Algeria.” Pro-Algerian movements urged Parisians to protest this curfew on the night of the 17th. French police responded by mobilizing some 8,000 + police officers and riot suppression specialists and blocking access to the capital by severing all routes of ingress and egress. Out of the 150,000 Parisians who had Algerian backgrounds, about 40,000 assembled to protest on the night of the 16th. French police cracked down, arresting some 11,000 of the protestors.

However, some 4,000 protestors avoided arrests and were able to peacefully protest on the Grand Boulevards. Stopped by police at the Opéra de Paris, the protestors turned around and reversed their route.

The massacre began shortly after. Near the Rex Cinema, police open fired on the crowd with live ammunition, then charged. A similar scene unfolded on the Neuilly-sur-Seine, with protestors being shot and beaten without cause. French police began to throw dead or unconscious protestors into the Seine, sometimes within sight of the Notre-Dame.

Other protestors were arrested and brought to different locations, like the Palais des Sports, Stade Pierre de Coubertin, or various police headquarters. For almost a week, the prisoners were beaten and tortured, or outright executed. French police who carried out the acts were noted to have stripped all identification off of their uniforms. Bodies and half-alive prisoners were dumped into the Seine at night.

For weeks, bodies washed up on the banks of the Seine. The entire massacre was deliberate and planned, penned and ordered by the head of the Parisian Police, Maurice Papon. Papon would receive the Legion of Honour from Charles du Gaulle later that year.

France never officially recognized the existence of the massacre until nearly four decades later, in 1998. However, official statements only mentioned 40 dead, when other estimates place the toll at closer to 200.

In 1998, Maurice Papon was first convicted of crimes against humanity due to his aiding in the deportation of French-Jewish citizens during the Vichy Regime. In 1999, he was also found guilty of perpetuating the 1961 massacre. He lost all rank and decorations, including his Legion of Honour, but was released in 2002 on the grounds of ill-health.


history meme (french edition)  →  3 wars/battles (1/3) The Algerian War of Independence.

This conflict brought France to the verge of military coup d'état; it destroyed the Fourth Republic and decisively  transformed the French constitution. It destroyed thousands of carrers and lives; bitterly divided the French military and political classes for a generation; sent hundreds of thousands of European settler families into often ruinous exile. Yet, its exact cost in lives remain unknown. Martin Windrow, The Algerian War. 

anonymous asked:

i took acid in the desert when i was in morocco and it was kind of disappointing. am I doing it wrong?

The desert is:

  • an empty convent where western civilization’s most sublime and delicately swaddled feelings are abandoned, slowly desiccated and indefinitely preserved as monuments to neglect.
  • the black, Algerian psychiatrist who, during that country’s war for independence, happened upon the chief torturer of the colonial police crouched outside the door to his clinic, stricken by a panic attack–a man whose treatment was interrupted when the psychiatrist was called to another part of the hospital to suture the wounds of a depressive, a man who’d slashed his wrists when he recognized his torturer walking the halls.
  • like the poet said, God without man.

July 20th 1925: Frantz Fanon born

On this day in 1925, 90 years ago, philosopher Frantz Fanon was born in the French colony of Martinique. His family were part of a black middle class which strove for assimilation into white French culture. However, the young Fanon was exposed to ideas of racial identity which rejected such assimilation and, conflicted, Fanon left Martinique to fight in World War Two. After the war he remained in France and studied psychiatry and medicine at university, where his philosophy was shaped by his own experiences of racism and exposure to Marxist ideas. In 1952, he published his book Black Faces, White Masks, which argued that black people have to wear ‘white masks’ to survive in a white world.  He moved to Algeria in 1953, and was working in a hospital during that country’s war of independence against France. Upon witnessing firsthand the brutal French repression of anti-colonial resistance, Fanon felt he could not aid French imperialism and resigned from the hospital, instead devoting himself to the Algerian independence movement. While working as the provisional Algerian government’s ambassador to Ghana, Fanon was diagnosed with leukemia. As his condition deteriorated, he wrote his famous The Wretched of the Earth, which denounced colonialism and justified the use of violence in independence struggles. He received treatment in the Soviet Union and the United States, and died in Maryland in December 1961, aged 36. 

“When we revolt it’s not for a particular culture. We revolt simply because, for many reasons, we can no longer breathe”

While we’re on the topic of white devilry here’s something I’ve wanted to talk about for a while.

So all of the Europeans justified their imperialism under the guise of ‘we’re civilizing these people’, right?  And the French moreso than most, they developed a very centralized colonial administration nominally aimed at bringing the peoples of Africa and Asia out of their presumed pre-modern state.  And teaching French was (again nominally) the largest part of this, since education and economic development was supposedly a large part of the French colonial project.

However, in 1956 (two years before the collapse of the Fourth Republic over the war in Algeria and six years before Algerian independence) it was found that, in Algeria (the most 'developed’ and intensively colonized place in Africa)

“[The Tillion Report found] about three quarters of the Muslim population was illiterate in Arabic, and ninety percent in French.  Although France appeared to be spending more on Algeria, in real terms - because of the depreciation of the Franc - the sum earmarked for 1953 had not exceeded that for 1913.” (Alistair Horne, A Savage War Of Peace, page 110)

That is that the crown jewel of France’s civilizing mission featured a population where nine tenths were illiterate in the language which was supposed to be civilizing them.

Colonization is not, and has never been, about 'civilizing’.  The educational and developmental aspect has always been there to legitimize the actual function of colonies, which is economic domination.  If we use this as our lens of analyzing European imperialism, the fact that India’s GDP didn’t grow through the 19th century (despite being 'developed’ by the most developed country in the world) and that Algeria had mass illiteracy into the 1950s (despite being 'educated’ by a country which viewed education as its form of the white man’s burden) seems not like some weird factoid or contrarian piece of trivia, rather it works into the nature of imperialism.

Mod R


The French MAT-49 submachine gun,

By the late 1940’s, the French Army’s supply of submachine guns included an oddball collection of aging French made MAS-38’s, American Thompsons, British Stens, and captured German MP-40’s.  By 1948, with conflicts heating up within France’s disintegrating colonial empire, it was decided that the military needed a new indigenously produced submachine gun.  Developed by French arms factory Manufacture Nationale d'Armes de Tulle (MAT), the new MAT-49 was a weapon that was simple yet effective on the battlefield.  Utilizing a blowback operated open bolt, it had a firing rate of around 600 rounds per minute.  It was chambered in 9mm Para, thus maintaining common caliber with other NATO countries and doing away with the unusual 7.65mm Longue.  For desert use it used a 20 round magazine specially designed to tolerate harsh desert conditions.  In standard format it used a 32 round magazine.  The magazine well itself had a grip machined into it to use as a forward grip.  Most interestingly, the magazine well could fold up making it more compact for storage, transport, or during paratrooper jumps.  Most of the submachine gun is produced from machine stamped steel, thus making it a cheap and easy weapon to produce but durable and simple.  The grip incorporates a grip safety, meaning the weapon can only be fired when the grip is held.  The stock is produced with collapsible wire, when can be retracted when not in use. 

Produced of the MAT-49 began in 1949, and was immediately issued for use in France's numerous colonial wars as colonies made their bids for independence.  It was used heavily during the Algerian War and the Indochina War.  It was used especially heavily during the Indochina War (Vietnam) where it was ideal for use in the heavy jungles of Southeast Asia.  After France’s defeat in the Indochina War, the Viet Minh captured a number of MAT-49’s.  Many were converted to fire 7.62x25 Tokarev, a caliber which was commonly supplied by the Soviet Union and China.  A number of domestic copies were also produced by North Vietnam and the Vietcong.  Thus, the MAT-49 also became a common weapon used during the Vietnam War as well.  France discontinued production of the MAT-49 in 1979 with the adoption of the FAMAS assault rifle. 


53 ans d’indépendance.

Honneurs à nos chouhada qui ont payé de leur vie pour que l’Algérie vive.

“Nous sommes chez nous. Nous ne pouvons aller ailleurs. C’est cette terre qui a nourri nos ancêtres, c’est cette terre qui nourrira nos enfants. Libres ou esclaves, elle nous appartient, nous lui appartenons et elle ne voudra pas nous laisser périr. L’Algérie ne peut vivre sans nous. Nous ne pouvons vivre sans elle."  Ferhat Abbas

World History: Algeria

Algeria was the site of the highest state development of Middle Paleolithic Flake tool techniques. The peoples of North Africa coalesced eventually into a distinct native population called Berbers. For several centuries, Algeria was ruled by the Romans, who founded many colonies in the region. After the Romans, the region of Algeria was ruled by Ottomans for five centuries from 1516 to the 20th century. Later, in 1830, the French invaded and captured Algiers; the conquest of Algeria by the French took some time and resulted in considerable bloodshed. In 1954, tensions between the two population groups (Muslims and French) resulted in violent events now referred to as the Algerian War; The war was concluded in 1962 when Algeria gained complete independence. [x]