Friday, 21 December 2012

Algeria was NOT granted its independence. It took it!



This is an exchange initiated by @ayatghanem in response to Nabila Ramdani's latest piece in the Guardian "Comment is Free" section. Ramdani's article starts with "It is now half a century since Algeria, the jewel in the crown of Gallic imperialism, was finally granted independence".

You can check it on Storify or read it below (starting from the bottom up).

I find it infuriating that journalists discussing Algeria and Algerians use poorer and poorer language, churning and rechurning words and expressions thoughtlessly, often simplifying language for the 'general public to understand more easily', when it is only a clear lack and want of intellectual effort.

"Algeria was granted its independence" is the way the French authorities have been wording the historical fact that Algerians fought tooth and nail to get back their independence violently stolen by this former colonial power.  Algerians were granted nothing. They took back what was theirs by fighting for 8 years, 1954 to 1962. And it was no easy feat.  

If Algerian 'intellectuals' want to discuss Algerian matters it is to be welcomed and celebrated. Too few political experts, journalists, commentators, who discuss Algeria and who are known are of Algerian extraction.  But these individuals should watch their language and realise that the expressions they keep recycling are the very expressions of former colonial powers. This type of writing sustains and validates neo-colonialism, a neo-colonialism that is everywhere in the language of the former colonised. 


  1. nedoud
    @NabilaRamdani @ayatghanem Transfer of power is NOT called "granting" in the English language. someone needs an English dictionary!!
    ayatghanem
  2. @NabilaRamdani thx for the exchange all the same.
    ayatghanem
  3. .@NabilaRamdani i'm not talking abt your piece, but your opening sentence. If u don't realise what this sentence represents, others do +
    NabilaRamdani
  4. .@ayatghanem You might find it offensive, Ayat, but again it is a bureaucratic reality. War & its suffering clearly mentioned in my piece.
    NabilaRamdani
  5. @ayatghanem You're right. That's why I use words appropriately. #Algeria was granted indepce as part of the administrative transfer of power
    ayatghanem
  6. @NabilaRamdani when u just throw 'dz was granted indp', i find it offensive, remnant of colonial language. they 'granted'. it is belittling.
    ayatghanem
  7. @NabilaRamdani haha no I do get ur point, I am aware of historical facts :) I'm sensitive to language, journos shld b too, words r ur trade+
    NabilaRamdani
  8. @ayatghanem Ayat, you don't seem to get my point. The Evian Accords are a historical fact. They formally *grant* Algeria its independence!
    ayatghanem
  9. .@NabilaRamdani the prob is ur wording. Whether u recognise it or not, u r using the wording of the former coloniser: "DZ granted its indp"!
    NabilaRamdani
  10. .@ayatghanem @nedoud Evian Accords were the administrative side to 'granting' indepce.Whether you like or not there was a transfer of power!
    ayatghanem
  11. .@NabilaRamdani would be great that journos of Algerian origin stopped repeating this practice. 2/2

  12. ayatghanem
    .@NabilaRamdani "Algeria was given its independence' is the way France has been wording it for last 50 yrs 1/2
    NabilaRamdani
  13. .@ayatghanem The Evian Accords signed w/ the French achieve that on paper. I do mention a war was fought in my piece too & its human cost!


  14. ayatghanem
    Ya @NabilaRamdani, Algeria wasn't "granted independence", you should know that. It took it back. guardian.co.uk/commentisfre...




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