Archive | October, 2014

New book announcement – We are no longer in France: Communists in colonial Algeria by Allison Drew

This new book by Professor Allison Drew (University of York) recovers the lost history of colonial Algeria’s communist movement. Meticulously researched – and the only English-language book on the Parti Communiste Algérien – it explores communism’s complex relationship with Algerian nationalism. During international crises, such as the Popular Front and Second World War years, the PCA remained close to its French counterpart, but as the national liberation struggle intensified, the PCA’s concern with political and social justice attracted growing numbers of Muslims. When the Front de Libération Nationale launched armed struggle in November 1954, the PCA maintained its organisational autonomy – despite FLN pressure. They participated fully in the national liberation war, facing the French state’s wrath. Independence saw two conflicting socialist visions, with the PCA’s incorporated political pluralism and class struggle on the one hand, and the FLN demand for a one-party socialist state on the other. The PCA’s pluralist vision was shattered when it was banned by the one-party state in November 1962. This book is of particular interest to students and scholars of Algerian history, French colonial history and communist history. For more information and details on how to purchase this book, please visit the Manchester University Press website.

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Rwanda and France: A most difficult relationship

2014 marks twenty years since the Rwandan Genocide. In this post, Rob Coates assesses France’s role in the Genocide and its impact on Franco-Rwandan relations to the present day. Rob recently submitted his MA Francophone Africa dissertation on commemoration, textbooks and music as means of post-genocide reconciliation in Rwanda. He spent January to April of 2014 working at the Commission Nationale de Lutte Contre le Génocide (CNLG) in Kigali. During the 20th commemoration activities of the Genocide against the Tutsi in April 2014, international solidarity in the face of this heinous tragedy had one notable absentee: France’s delegates stayed at home and the ambassador to Rwanda was banned from the Kigali Genocide Memorial. This was the latest instalment in an international row between the two countries. The bone of contention? France’s role in the run up to, during, and after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Although hesitating to name France by name, President Kagame’s speech couldn’t have been clearer in its denunciation of French policy to let sleeping dogs lie: “The passage of time should not obscure the facts, lessen responsibility, or turn victims into villains. People cannot be bribed into changing their history. And no country is powerful enough, even […]

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