Uncivil War: Intellectuals and Identity Politics During the Decolonization of Algeria, Second Edition

James D. Le Sueur

Language: English

Pages: 430

ISBN: 0803280289

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Uncivil War is a provocative study of the intellectuals who confronted the loss of France’s most prized overseas possession: colonial Algeria. Tracing the intellectual history of one of the most violent and pivotal wars of European decolonization, James D. Le Sueur illustrates how key figures such as Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Germaine Tillion, Jacques Soustelle, Raymond Aron, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Albert Memmi, Frantz Fanon, Mouloud Feraoun, Jean Amrouche, and Pierre Bourdieu agonized over the “Algerian question.” As Le Sueur argues, these individuals and others forged new notions of the nation and nationalism, giving rise to a politics of identity that continues to influence debate around the world. This edition features an important new chapter on the intellectual responses to the recent torture debates in France, the civil war in Algeria, and terrorism since September 11.

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We cannot humanize evil. Refuse to see a crime in the trust born in the middle of an infernal cycle. ’’ 39 They were separated. Meslem, regarded by the press as the important contact point for the FLN, was sentenced to five years in prison with the possibility of parole. The Frenchwoman working for the Centres was acquitted and soon after returned to France. The rest of the verdicts were reported without ceremony, though PoirotDelpech did acknowledge that the ‘‘Muslims were much harder hit than the Europeans.

12 In early , as a professor of sociology at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, Tillion had been sent by the French government to Algeria as part of a ‘‘scientific mission’’ to investigate reports of French abuses relating to the war. 13 Immediately struck by the level of poverty and the seriousness of the demographic problem, she asked herself what were the best means of struggling against Algeria’s overwhelming poverty. This poverty, she reported, was ‘‘worse than it was fifteen years ago. ’’ 14 and combating it required an overarching attempt to modernize Algeria’s rural economy through general education and modern agricultural techniques.

Tseng 2001. 3. 14 13:49 DST:0 Truce for the Civilians, or Liberalism’s Eleventh Hour During January , Camus claimed that not a day had gone by when he had not heard of Algeria’s pain in the letters addressed to him, in the press, or by phone. 32 As a result, he broadened his campaign against violence in Algeria by joining other liberals in forming the Comité pour une Trêve Civile en Algérie. This committee was composed of both prominent Muslims and French Algerians. 33 Because the extremism of the war continued to destroy hopes for a reconciliation, Camus argued that a high-profile, liberal group was needed to bring the cause to the public’s attention.

The truth and those who spoke it could not be guilty of treason. In his second article, ‘‘Where the FLN Is Wrong,’’ published on April , , Simon showed equal disdain for the FLN’s use of his work and claimed that the ‘‘Algerian national movement [was] trying to exploit the vague opinion against France. ’’ 56 Since it was clear that Simon never rejected the French goal of building friendships with North Africans, it should not be surprising that he attacked the FLN for trying to use the scandal over torture to back its claims of political legitimacy and destroy reconciliation.

Taleb confessed to Camus that after reading his writings concerning the French Resistance, the Algerian people expected Camus to understand the exigencies of their war. Algerians had hoped that Camus would not only work for a rapprochement between ‘‘Europeans and Muslims but also to create a vast movement in France for the settlement of the whole colonial problem. ’’ Unfortunately, after ten years, it had become clear that Camus would never become the eloquent spokesman for the Algerian resistance that he had once been for the French during the German occupation.

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