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Algeria: 2012 elections

The 2012 National Elections: why Algeria remains the exception in North Africa
Martin Evans

Further reading

Martin Evans, Professor of Modern European History of the University of Sussex, picks out the following

Evans, Martin, Algeria: France’s Undeclared War, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Roberts, Hugh, The Battlefield Algeria, 1988-2002, London: Verso, 2003

Harbi, Mohammed, Le FLN: Mirage et réalité, Paris: Éditions Jeune Afrique, 1980

McDougall, James, History and the Culture of Nationalism in Algeria, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006

Rahal, Malika, ‘Fused Together and Torn Apart. Stories and Violence in Contemporary Algeria, History and Memory', Vol.24, number 1, March 2012


Contextualising Algeria

Contextualising contemporary Algeria: June 1965 and October 1988
Martin Evans

Algeria and the Arab Spring: a roundtable

Fifty years on from Algerian Independence and one year after the Arab Spring, the Centre for European and International Studies Research at the University of Portsmouth has launched Year of Algeria to reflect upon the historical significance of Algerian independence both for Algeria and the wider world.

On March 15-17, as part of this year, a conference on Algeria and the Arab Revolutions set Algerian history within the widest possible framework, examining Arab, African and Third World revolutionary contexts, and analysing the links that straddle the pre-colonial past, the colonial period, the war and the post-independence period.

Taking the intersection of the recent elections, the first since the ‘Arab Awakening’, with the fiftieth anniversary of independence, this page reflects upon the connections between Algeria’s pasts, presents and futures. We want to open up a public conversation which will situate the country’s history, society and politics within the wider context of the Arab World; one that will be finely attuned to specificities and generalities as we explore Algerian aspirations for themselves and for their country in the twenty-first century.

An introduction The Battle of Algiers

“We have managed to draw the Algerian regime into a confrontation with its own people”

Sidali Kouidri FilaliSidali Kouidri Filali is a 35 year old civil servant and blogger who has chosen to campaign with Barakat to « defend his country ». He estimates that this time, the Algerian regime, trapped in its own “cocoon”, will not survive the contestation:  an interview.

The Battle of Algiers: a formative influence on Moroccan cinema

Algeria partnershipLaying bare the social and economic structures of oppression to reconstruct a national psyche from the ruins – how an idea caught on.


What Algeria 1992 can, and cannot, teach us about Egypt 2013

In the weeks after the 1991 elections, official Algerian rhetoric too was replete with appeals to the popular will and the promises of a swift and total return to democracy. Promises that, two decades on, have yet to be fulfilled. 

Pontecorvo's Colonel Mathieu: the paratrooper who embodied France

Algeria partnershipWhat we see is a three dimensional character who is eloquent and thoughtful in his actions.

Algerians in London protest against shale gas and the lack of a national debate

Fracking has raised major concerns for its substantial use of water (particularly worrying for the Sahara) and for the potential leaking of these chemical substances into groundwater.

Algerian activism: a new generation draws the line

Away from the traditional circles of power, a new force has been working its way up to the surface of the Algerian political landscape: that of organised youth activism.

The practice of harm in The Battle of Algiers

Algeria partnershipIt was the French colonisers, after all, who were bound to international conventions that govern the practice of harm in a way that a small groups of individuals like the Algerians, were not.

First encounters with the Battle of Algiers

Algeria partnershipOn February 6, 2013, the University of Sussex History Department held a special screening of the Battle of Algiers, followed by discussion with Yasmin El Derby from the Middle East and North Africa Film Festival in London. Here are three reactions.   

The Battle of Algiers transposed into a Palestinian key

Algeria partnershipCinematic representations of the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation frequently invoke The Battle of Algiers as a point of reference. This reflects a long history of Palestinian identification with the Algerian independence movement and more specifically with Pontecorvo’s film.

In short: Belkacem Belmekki on The Battle of Algiers

Algeria partnershipA 36-year old Algerian lecturer from the post-independence generation explains what Gillo Pontecorvo’s film means to him. 

Algeria, Mali: another front in the “Global War on Terror”?

Algeria partnershipWhat the Islamist terrorist threat has become is an incoherent pretext to intervene militarily on the part of the west. The only principled position to adopt therefore is the rejection of both, for the self-determination and sovereignty of the peoples.

In Amenas – a history of silence, not a history of violence

Algeria partnershipIn the latest edition of Textures du temps, a historian’s eye is brought to bear on the discourse prevailing in recent British media coverage of the intervention of Algerian forces in the hostage crisis of In Amenas - the neo-orientalist concepts typically invoked when the subject of Algeria’s history is raised filling a vacuum caused by the lack of explanation coming from the Algerian regime.

Transcending boundaries: Yasmin El Derby on The Battle of Algiers

Algeria partnershipThe festival director of the London Middle East and North Africa Film Festival talks about the place of Pontecorvo’s film within the history of the region’s cinema and about its future.


In short: Ken Loach on The Battle of Algiers

Algeria partnership

On 17 December 2012, Ken Loach summed up the personal significance of The Battle of Algiers for him, in our project situating Algeria’s history, society and politics within the wider context of the Arab world.

Genesis of a film: the Battle of Algiers

Algeria partnershipA 2006 documentary by Yves Boisset uses uncredited extracts from the film, mixed in with actual news reels, without stating that the film was made nine years after the events which it relates to. Fiction has become a historical document. 

Good guys and bad guys: The Battle of Algiers and The Dark Knight Rises

Algeria partnershipThe ‘chaos and fear’ inspired by The Battle of Algiers is certainly there, enhanced by another parallel between the two films – the location from which the uprising bursts forth. 

The Battle of Algiers: historical truth and filmic representation

Algeria partnershipThe bitter divisions within the FLN are ignored. Instead, Gillo Pontecorvo, in his 1966 film, The Battle of Algiers, presents the war uniquely in terms of the FLN against the French paratroopers. We begin a new series exploring the many facets of this remarkable film.

Gender, myth, nationalism: Gillo Pontecorvo's The Battle of Algiers

Algeria partnershipIn its framing techniques, Pontecorvo’s film arguably defines the ‘people’ in fundamentally masculine terms; as a Revolution comprised of male ‘heroes’ and martyrs.

A history of Algeria in six objects

Algeria partnershipContinuing the openDemocracy series marking fifty years of Algerian independence, one of the series editors, Martin Evans, explores Algerian history through six objects.   Lecture (6,500 words)

The 2012 National Elections: why Algeria remains the exception in North Africa

Algeria partnershipLarge numbers did not vote because they saw the election as a charade. This sentiment was clear in countless blogs and posts on the internet.  Again and again Algerians underlined their disgust with the political class, with ‘le pouvoir’

Algeria and the Arab Awakening: Pasts, Presents and Futures

We want to open up a public conversation which will situate the country’s history, society and politics within the wider context of the Arab World; one that will be finely attuned to specificities and generalities as we explore what Algerians aspire to for them and their country in the twenty-first century.

Algeria and the Arab Spring: a roundtable

Endemic socio-economic difficulties  have made Algeria a candidate par excellence for the domino effect of the so-called ‘Arab Spring.’ But, despite largescale discontent with the status quo for many years now, the iconic slogan “the people want to topple the regime” has been remarkably absent from the protests. This round-table sifts the internal and external reasons for this. See our Algeria and the Arab Revolutions: Pasts, Presents and Futures page for more

Winds of change: the Arab Spring and the “Algerian Exception”

This Maghrebi state has so far been spared the domino effect of recent revolts in the region. The iconic slogan, “the people want to topple the regime” has been remarkably absent from the protests, and the stability of Algeria is seen in the west as pivotal to the continuation of the process of change in the whole Maghreb.

Contrasted overtures to the Arab Spring in Algerian and Tunisia

Algeria, a rich petrol country, has the means to buy social peace. In Algiers, the government took the necessary measures, while the police has a unified command structure. But above all, the Tunisian regime lost ‘street opinion’.

Algeria and the Arab Spring

Algeria’s fratricidal war has divided democrats, seriously damaged civil society and left a political vacuum in the face of the ruling parties. There is almost no opposition with a proper base that can take the demands of the people forward.

The Tunisian revolution: a second decolonization?

The urban, educated, upper middle class were fed up with the Ben Ali clique which they viewed as corrupt. Thus, in contrast to Syria, this section of society chose to support the 2011 revolution which started in the midst of the poor Tunisian interior, and their support was pivotal.

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