Sunday, April 2, 2017

Abbas, Ferhat – Algerian politician and political writer

Abbas, Ferhat (24 August 1899 – 24 December 1985), Algerian politician and public intellectual, was in the village of Chahna, located six miles south of the Algerian town of Taher.

Born to the son of Muslim civil servant, Abbas attended French schools in Philippeville and Constantine before studying at the University of Algiers. His parents belonged to a peasant family, and his father Said Ahmed ben Abbas, was a local chief and cattle trader.

He briefly served in French army before working as a chemist in Setif. Abbas first become actively involved in politics in 1938, when he helped to organize the Algerian People’s Union, an organization advocating equal rights for the Algerians and French under French colonial rule together with the maintenance of the Algerian language and culture.
Abbas strongly supported the ideal of equal rights for Arab and Berber Muslims and European Christian in Algeria under French rule. In 1943, he published the ‘Manifesto of the Algerian People’, calling for an autonomous Algerian state; in the following year he founded the ‘Friends of the Manifesto and Liberty’ and in 1946 he founded the ‘Democratic Union of the Algerian Manifesto’.

For the next nine years he attempted to cooperate with the French in setting up an Algerian state being elected to both the French constituent assembly and the Algerian assembly.

In 1956, despairing of any progress, he joined the National Liberation Front (FLN) in the hope of securing Algerian independence by revolution. The rebel movement chose to make Abbas the leader of its provisional government in exile in Tunis on 19 September 1958, and in 1962, when Algeria finally gained independence after a bitter struggle with France, he became president of the constituent assembly.

He was expelled from FLN in 1963 for opposing its proposal constitution, drawn up without the participation of the constituent assembly, and was held in detention by the newly elected president, Ben Bella. When Houari Boumedienne overthrew Ben Bella’s government on 1965,

Abbas chose to stay out of politics. Abbas’s ideas on democracy did not accord with those of the single party that came to power at the time of independence. Abbas wrote several books, including Le Jeune Algérien (1931), La Nuit coloniale (1962), L'indépendance confisquée (1984) and Autopsie d’une guerre (1980).
Abbas, Ferhat – Algerian politician and political writer
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