Mustapha Benboulaïd


Mustapha Benboulaïd
Mustapha Benboulaïd, the Father of the Algerian Revolution
"Groupe des six", heads of FLN. Photo before the revolution outbreak of 1 November 1954. Standing, from left to right: Rabah Bitat, Mustapha Benboulaïd, Didouche Mourad et Mohamed Boudiaf. Seated: Krim Belkacem left, and Larbi Ben M'hidi right.

Mostefa Ben-Boulaïd (5 February 1917 – 22 March 1956) is an Algerian Berber (Chaoui) revolutionary leader.

Contents

Biography

Benboulaïd was born in Arris, Batna Province in eastern Algeria. In 1939, he fulfilled mandatory military service and was mobilized to fight against the Nazis during the Second World War. During the Italian campaign in 1944, he was distinguished for his courage, which earned him the Military Medal and the Croix de guerre.

Demobilized with the rank of adjutant, he returned to his home town, and joined the Algerian People's Party (PPP). He played an important role in the Special Organization (OS), in which he had an intense political and military involvement. He began to acquire weapons by purchasing with his own money and contributed to the accommodation of militants pursued by the French authorities. He personally supervised the distribution of arms to these militants. In 1948, he participated in the elections of the Assembly of Algeria and obtained a landslide victory. However, the results were falsified by the French authorities.

He was also one of the founders of the Revolutionary Committee of Unity and Action (CRUA). He presided over the historical meeting of 22–25 June 1954, which aimed to establish unity over the question of the outbreak of the armed struggle. He was responsible for Area I (Aurès), that engaged heavily armed French and paid a heavy price during the Algerian war. He was a member of the Committee of the Six "insurgent leaders".

In 1955, he traveled to Libya to acquire arms for his soldiers. He participated in both battles of Ifri el blah and Ahmar Khaddou near Batna.

In a photo taken after his arrest in Tunisia (11 February 1955) between two unwitting French soldiers, Benboulaïd managed to convey a message summoning unity with his two thumbs enjoined (See picture below.) He was sentenced to death by the court of Constantine, then imprisoned at the Coudiat Aty Central Prison of Constantine. He escaped in November 1955 with other prisoners, (including Tahar Zbiri, one of the famed initiators of the failed coup attempt in 1967 against then President Houari Boumediene) with the complicity of a prison ward, Djaffer Chérif, from his hometown. During the escape, one of his comrades was injured, recaptured, and subsequently executed by decapitation.

Benboulaïd died on 22 March 1956 with Abdelhamid Amrani — one of his close associates — in the blast following the detonation of a radio bomb parachuted by the French army.

Gallery

Posterity

National hero: in the Aures and the rest of Algeria, his bust adorns the main square of Batna and Arris.

  • An alley named after him and a high school in Batna. One of the biggest avenues of Annaba, Bertagna boulevard that connects the avenue of the Revolution (formerly Cours Bertagna) neighborhoods Saint-Cloud, Plaisance and Kouba, and beaches and Chapuis Toche, also bears his name.
  • The airport of Batna bears his name.

Film

Ahmed Rachedi produced between 2006 and 2007 a documentary film on Benboulaïd. It was made during the 2007 Algerian festival 'Algiers Capital of the Arab Culture' - "Alger, capitale de la culture arabe 2007", and was produced in collaboration with the Ministry of Veterans "Ministère des Moudjahidine", and the Ministry of Culture "le ministère de la culture et l'entreprise", "Missane Balkis films".[1]

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Notes and references

Books and resources

External links


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