In May 1958, and four years into the Algerian War of Independence, a revolt again appropriated the revolutionary and republican symbolism of the French Revolution by seizing power through a Committee of Public Safety. This book explores why a repressive colonial system that had for over a century maintained the material and intellectual backwardness of Algerian women now turned to an extensive programme of 'emancipation'. After a brief background sketch of the situation of Algerian women during the post-war decade, it discusses the various factors contributed to the emergence of the first significant women's organisations in the main urban centres. It was only after the outbreak of the rebellion in 1954 and the arrival of many hundreds of wives of army officers that the model of female interventionism became dramatically activated. The French military intervention in Algeria during 1954-1962 derived its force from the Orientalist current in European colonialism and also seemed to foreshadow the revival of global Islamophobia after 1979 and the eventual moves to 'liberate' Muslim societies by US-led neo-imperialism in Afghanistan and Iraq. For the women of Bordj Okhriss, as throughout Algeria, the French army represented a dangerous and powerful force associated with mass destruction, brutality and rape. The central contradiction facing the mobile socio-medical teams teams was how to gain the trust of Algerian women and to bring them social progress and emancipation when they themselves were part of an army that had destroyed their villages and driven them into refugee camps.
inches in 1938 in the USA than any other
news figure. See Laura Hillenbrand, Seabiscuit: three men and a racehorse (London:
Fourth Estate, 2002), p. xi.
Liverpool Echo, 22.3.1938.
1932/3 Royal Commission on Lotteries and Betting, para. 218.
Sporting Chronicle, Racing up-to-date: a complete record of flat racing (Manchester:
Sporting Chronicle, 1938), p. 172.
S. Theodore Felstead, Racing romance (London: Werner Laurie, 1949), pp. 79–80.
Hartlepool Daily Mail, 30.7.1936.
Reviewed in the Cleveland Standard, 5.8.1939.
Stephen C. Shafer, British popularfilms 1929–1939: the
, however, that of all British films released in that period
the most popular were those with MoI-approved propaganda content: Convoy, 49th Parallel, The First of the Few and In Which We
Serve, and that the third most popularfilm of 1943 was the feature-length documentary Desert Victory. But box office success was
no better guide to effects on civilian feelings and behaviour than
the approval of Mass-Observation’s panel. For more meaningful
evidence of this, we would have to turn to the more detailed reports
The origins of the Algerian women’s movement, 1945–54
women at a meeting in the Algiers’ Foyer Civique to mark Aïd-el-kébir,
at which the general secretary Alice Sportisse attacked the failure to
implement the vote for women, ‘who have to struggle in a situation close
to poverty’.36 The UFA, probably through studying the methods of the
PPA nationalists, also proved adept at using propaganda techniques and
cultural forms that would appeal to illiterate Arab or Berber speaking
women, particularly through popularfilms like the Egyptian Gawhara,
theatrical sketches, and Arab female orchestras such as ‘Aissa’, and ‘El