8 May 1945, the events which became an opportunity


Today the world celebrates the end of WWII. Algeria also commemorates 8 May 1945, but for us Algerians, this day was a bloody sad one. Like most of the old world’s populations, the Algerian people wanted to share their happiness after the end of WWII and remind the French colonizer and the other victors that they existed and wanted their freedom back, so they organized some peaceful demonstrations. But France didn’t intend it that way and massacres were perpetrated in many parts of Algeria, especially in Setif, Guelma and Kherrata.

So the commemoration of these events is a good way so nobody forgets the past and how dearly paid was our independence. The commemoration should also remind France and the world of the ugliness and inhumanity of the colonisation system. These last years’ talks between Algeria and France, and the more recent questions which arouse in France around the “Outside of the law” movie, show that we probably need more frequent and stronger reminders if we want to convince everybody.

Having said this, I would like to deal with another aspect of these events.

I believe every big event, whether happy or sad, should be taken as an opportunity to see if/how it could be used to trigger something positive in the society. The massacres of 8 May 1945 created so much sadness in the Algerian people’s hearts as they caused the death of tens of thousands, and also brought a big disappointment to those who believed in the New World Order’s claims of liberty, or in the word of colonialist France. However, if we look at the outcome of these bloody days, we will of course see the tightening of the colonial regime and the hardening of the Algerian people’s life. But we will also find that these events helped many hesitant Algerians and convinced them that only a war would recover Algeria’s independence. So these events actually reinforced the nationalist movement (despite French harassment) and made it easier for the population to accept the idea of a war and sacrifice.
Those “integrationist” and “assimilationist” Algerians finally understood that France was playing games and had no intention of giving more rights to the Algerians. Obviously, this wasn’t simple and it took 9 years before the Liberation War was launched, and even more before many Algerian elites decided to join it.

So the 1954-1962 Liberation War was the positive outcome of the 8 May 1945 massacres opportunity. But were there other opportunities in the recent past of Algeria? My answer to the question is yes, some were big and others smaller; but unfortunately, all of them have been missed and wasted.

The first one I could think of is obviously our independence. We had 10 million Algerians who gave their lives in order to free the country and who were ready to continue should the war have lasted longer. Which tells of the level of energy, will, motivation and dedication the Algerian leaders had in their hands. They could direct all this energy to the peaceful war of building the country and taking it to a higher position, but no such thing happened. Our leaders started fighting for power (even before the end of the war) and didn’t seem to have a clear plan of where they wanted to take Algeria.

That was the first missed opportunity. Others at the national level could have been Boumediene’s 1965 coup or the October 1988 events, but our present situation proves these two opportunities have been missed too.

The 90s decade was too hard for the Algerians and it destroyed not only the security, political and economic fields of Algeria but it also ravaged the Algerian society and psyche. It is hard to think of it as an opportunity even if the fact we resisted it and have been able to slowly get to a normal life is such an achievement that it should be used as a construction foundation. This achievement indeed proved the strength of the population despite the for-long-visible damages. But within this decade, I have the feeling that it was only when the GIA resorted to mass killings that most Algerians decided to choose a side and participate in the fight against the terrorists. I remember hearing fellow Algerians say it was ok to kill the representatives of the regime (be them ministers, policemen, soldiers, journalists or teachers), but many changed their mind after the mass-massacres, and even engaged as patriots or GLDs. So, whether those massacres were perpetrated by the GIA or remotely ordered by the army as claimed by the adepts of the famous “Qui Tue Qui”, they were an opportunity which helped the Algerians get off this bloody decade.

Another missed opportunity was after the death of Guermah Massinissa. The Kabyles could have used their feelings and apparent unity to develop their region and improve it. Instead all they did was creating la3rouch who led them nowhere, and they kept rioting and destroying their cities. Today Kabylia is living in such an anarchy (bigger than elsewhere in Algeria), and criminality has reached unprecedented levels. And let’s not mention the stupid MAK (who just formed their government).

The last wasted chance is a combination and succession of three events: The second Iraqi war, the increase of oil prices and the NT’s qualification for the 2010 World Cup. These events led to an increased monetary reserves volume and a sort of motivation/unity of the Algerian people. The government launched some big infrastructures programs which don’t seem to bring more than 1 to 2 points of annual growth while leading to the greatest levels of corruption. But it also used this money to import more (and useless) goods, and it doesn’t seem to do anything to create/revive a production activity in Algeria. The football game was used for cheap political purposes and I don’t even want to talk of the baccalaureate date change to allow the students to watch the WC games. Then this money combined with our recent discovery of Sudan (after the match in Um Darman) led our rulers to the brilliant idea of buying (not surprising I know) meat from our Sudanese brethren.

It can be seen that there are more missed opportunities than successful ones. The Arab world had also some missed opportunities like the 1967 or 1973 wars. But are there not things we can do so we wouldn’t miss the upcoming opportunities? Or more, are there not things we could do to create these opportunities?

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7 thoughts on “8 May 1945, the events which became an opportunity

  1. “Instead all they did was creating la3rouch who led them nowhere, and they kept rioting and destroying their cities. Today Kabylia is living in such an anarchy (bigger than elsewhere in Algeria), and criminality has reached unprecedented levels. if la3rouche first of all was not a simple creation but rather a united voices of people who claimed peacefully their rights which the govenment turned into riots by provoking the demonstators with tea gases and hot waters, if they couldnt reach their objectives because of the the brutality of the regime which used whatever means in their hands to destroy it. concerning criminality( kidnapping,pillage, theft), kabylia used to be the safer region in the north, this phenomenon increased ( especially after the a3rouch’s collapse)because there a sort of “laissez-faire” by the authorities to destablize the region or maybe they do so themselves this also poves what I told u before the s brutality of the regime which use any vicissitude to bend down any popular movement in the country. They’re seeking to make people kneeing by any means: anarchy poverty, insecurity, fears .

    • Thanks lyl for your comment.
      I of course do not blame everything on la3rouche and I am well aware of the bad practices of the ruling regime and how cunning it can be when its power is at stake. But my post was on how la3rouche missed this opportunity to build something. I mean just read ElKseur’s platform, you will find in every line of it “we want this from the government” or “we don’t want that”. How do you expect something positive from a movement which only says we want and never says we propose or we do?! It’s even laughable because some of their requests were stupid, and others just looked naive.
      And look at what you wrote, it’s all about the “laisser-aller” of the authorities, the regime’s brutality, and this usual Kabyle theme of “the regime wants to destabilize Kabylia”. Where’s the role of the population? Ok fine, the regime is against the population (not just the Kabyle one) but what is this population doing to improve its situation without relying on the regime? The answer is simply nothing.
      Again it’s not only Kabylia because, unlike what la3rouche or the MAK claim, Kabylia’s situation is no different from elsewhere in Algeria. Some regions are in an even worse state. And the population is just useless, today, both in Kabylia and elsewhere… And that was the point of my post. It is very easy and comfortable for us to say we want, but what do we give/do?

      One last point about la3rouche. You say that it was a peaceful movement and all before the authorities turned it into riots. But I’ve been there during that period and I can tell that I only saw a bunch of criminals and unemployed irresponsible drug addicts who cared more of destroying than defending “the cause”, and who only wanted to bully those who were against them (this btw was seen even among the leaders, and it tells you on how democratic they were). I am not generalising of course, but just for me to say the movement was far from being perfect, and many people inside didn’t need the government’s help to be corrupt.

  2. Ah missed opportunities, those haunting shadows which chase and torment the good-for-nothings. As Ralph Emerson said: “Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one’s own sunshine.

    But are there not things we can do so we wouldn’t miss the upcoming opportunities?

    Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison

    So I guess what we could do is dress opportunity as a leisure party (eg. football, music concert, mahradjen gadradj etc)

    Or more, are there not things we could do to create these opportunities?

    Necessity is the mother of taking chances.” – Mark Twain

    So what we could do is burn all oil and gas reserves and wreck the economy once and for all.

      • My previous comment might have been dripping with sarcasm, but I meant every word of it and I really believe this is the root of our problems. The crash is inevitable now unless there’s some miraculous divine intervention. Perhaps the miraculous divine intervention would be to speed up the crash, it would be merciful in a way.

        It is people who turn random events into opportunities by hard work and committment to a common vision. I see nothing in this regard, just a huge desert.

  3. Thank you for this article. It was so useful for my research paper. However, I would love if you attach the sources you have been using in writing this article.
    again Thank you

    • Welcome Nisreen and thanks for your comment.

      Glad the post was useful to you. There are no sources to attach I am afraid as the post is just my own thoughts based on events we (in Algeria) witnessed and which had been reported by all Algeria news outlets.

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