Archive | April, 2015

BBC Afrique: writing Africa’s news

Dr. Joanna Warson is currently in Senegal working at the BBC Service Afrique Dakar bureau. In this post, she shares some of her experiences there so far. I walked out of Dakar airport at about 11pm on Sunday night. I was exhausted and feeling a little anxious. Would my pre-arranged taxi be there to meet me more than 24 hours after my scheduled arrival time of 9pm on Saturday? A 24 hour delay in Madrid and a two hour queue to get my Senegalese visa[1] had upset my carefully laid plans. And, although I had been in touch with my contacts in Dakar to advise them of my late arrival, I knew that I wouldn’t relax until I was sat in the back of the taxi sent for me by the BBC. My eyes scanned the sea of unfamiliar faces. There were lots of men shouting “taxi” at me, but how was I ever going to find my taxi driver? I was starting to meet a bit panicked when I saw a sign in the crowd saying “Joanna Warson BBC” and heaved a huge sigh of relief. Within a few moments, my suitcase was in the boot of the taxi […]

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The harkis in Algeria: continued taboo and controversy

In this post, Prof Margaret Majumdar, explores the controversy surrounding Pierre Daum’s new book on the harkis. The recent publication of Pierre Daum’s book, Le Dernier Tabou. Les « harkis » restés en Algérie après l’indépendance (Actes Sud, Arles, 2015) has caused something of a stir in Algeria. Harki is a generic label for various categories of people who worked with the French army during the Algerian War. Looking at some of their individual experiences, it attempts to challenge accepted versions of history which claim that the majority of harkis, who did not leave for France at the end of the Algerian War, were abandoned to their fate by the departing French and subjected to summary justice and execution. It is based on a series of interviews with around sixty former harkis, living in various parts of Algeria today. Through this lens, it aims to show that many, after detention and questioning, for shorter or longer periods, were able to return to their home villages and resume their life, though not without suffering some ongoing discrimination as a result of their wartime activities. The reception of the book so far demonstrates that this question relating the harkis is still a controversial one. […]

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