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2014-06-13    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

Books and Arts; 文艺;

Book Review;书评;

Algeria and France;阿尔及利亚与法国;

War by any other name;冠以他名的战争;

Algeria: France's Undeclared War. By Martin Evans.

In 2006 Francois Hollande, now the Socialist Party's candidate in France's forthcoming presidential election, declared “in the name of the Socialist Party” that the Section Francaise de l'Internationale Ouvrière, the forerunner of his party, “lost its soul in the Algerian War. It had its justifications but we still owe an apology to the Algerian people.”

Indeed so. It was a Socialist prime minister, Guy Mollet, who in 1956 ordered a campaign of “pacification” against Algeria's nationalists. Opposed to colonialism, Mollet may well have acted out of good intentions, but “pacification” amounted to repression and countless acts of brutality and torture by the French army.

But Martin Evans, a British academic, is too good an historian to present a one-sided story of Algeria's quest for independence. The insurgent Front de Libération Nationale (FLN) was ruthless in its determination to be the sole representative of Algerian nationalism, willing to kill and maim not just French settlers but also the rival nationalists of Messali Hadj's Mouvement National Algérien. The cruelty was exercised even within the FLN's own ranks, witness the cold-blooded strangling of Abane Ramdane or the assassination of Mohamed Khider, another of its leading figures.

Mr Evans's title reminds the reader that the Algerian conflict was officially only a “police operation”. Recognition that it was a full-scale war, France's worst conflict since the second world war, came only with a vote by the National Assembly in 1999, some 37 years after Algeria's independence. But the thoroughness of this book is that it traces the origins of the war all the way back to the French invasion of 1830. What followed were dismal decades of discrimination, poverty and famine.

In retrospect, it is hard to see how metropolitan France could ever have imagined a secure and peaceful hold on “French Algeria”. Once the war erupted, there was never much hope that France's politicians, from Mollet through to Charles de Gaulle, could win Muslim Algerian “hearts and minds”. Nor could they win the trust and support of the European settlers, the pieds noirs (literally “black feet”, see picture above) whose sense of betrayal led them to side with the futile rebellion against de Gaulle by the dissident French soldiers of the OAS (Organisation de l'Armée Secrète).
回顾过去,很难明白大国法兰西何以幻想能安全和平地掌控“法属阿尔及利亚”。自从战争爆发,法国政治家从莫勒到查尔斯·德·高尔,从来就没有什么希望能赢得阿尔及利亚穆斯林的“衷心和理解”。他们也不可能赢得欧洲移民的信任和支持,法国侨民(字面为“黑脚”,见上图)的背叛意图让他们与异见的OAS(Organisation de l'Armée Secrète)法国士兵一同站在了对抗德·高尔的无望的反叛军一方。

As Mr Evans describes, it was not just Algeria's history that militated against it being an inseparable part of the French nation, but also the context of contemporary geopolitics. The tide of anti-colonialism after the second world war was forcing Europe's imperial powers to grant independence almost everywhere. France had already been defeated in Vietnam; Britain's prime minister Harold Macmillan talked of the “wind of change” sweeping across Africa; and America's President Eisenhower swiftly compelled France (which accused Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser of aiding the FLN), Britain and Israel to pull back from their 1956 seizure of the Suez Canal. The implications were recognised by de Gaulle: if France were to be a power to be reckoned with in a world now defined by the cold war, it had to rid itself of the Algerian millstone—whatever the objections of the settlers who would then have to seek refuge in France.

But what of today? Mr Evans's excellent book is marred only by the occasional editing error (ORAF, the Organisation of the French Algerian Resistance, exists only as an acronym, and Mr Evans, when talking of the founding members of the European Economic Community, omits the Netherlands). It ends with a somewhat depressing postscript chapter.

In France, citizens of Algerian and other north African descent are disproportionately poor and discriminated against; at times their young, caught between two different cultures, react with violence, as in the urban upheavals of 2005. As Mr Evans says: “The riots of 2005 were just one example of how the legacy of the Algerian war is still being played out.” Meanwhile, in Algeria itself, the country struggles with the aftermath of another undeclared war: the brutal repression by the army of the Islamist forces who two decades ago were about to be voted into office.

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