professional essay on Algerian War and Albert Camus

“Camus was a far more engaged writer than his critics have allowed, and the essays, columns and speeches collected here make a strong case for his continued relevance… Today, although his failure to support full independence for Algeria seems off the mark, Camus stands as a powerful voice against violence and extremism, and the very late appearance of these essays in English could not have come at a better time… With the future of the Arab spring uncertain and with terrorism back on the front page, these Algerian Chronicles are not only history. They’re also guides for how to be just in a difficult world.”

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‘Algerian Chronicles,’ by Albert Camus - The New York Times

In her introduction, Alice Kaplan illuminates the dilemma faced by Camus: he was committed to the defense of those who suffered colonial injustices, yet was unable to support Algerian national sovereignty apart from France. An appendix of lesser-known texts that did not appear in the French edition complements the picture of a moralist who posed questions about violence and counter-violence, national identity, terrorism, and justice that continue to illuminate our contemporary world.

May 10, 2013 · Albert Camus’s writing on Algeria ..

When the Algerian war for independence broke out in 1954, Camus was devastated. For years he had voiced strong criticism of French colonial policy in Algeria, and was forced to leave the country in 1940 after the authorities shut down the newspaper where he had published his most critical articles. He considered himself Algerian. In 1954, one million French citizens lived in Algeria, three-quarters of them born there. Even the poorest of them enjoyed privileges not extended to the nine million Arabs and Berbers who also lived there, often in horrifying poverty, as Camus had shown in his 1939 series of articles on “The Misery of Kabylia.” With other left-leaning intellectuals, Camus argued for economic and political reforms; in the 1940s he supported the Arab leader Ferhat Abbas, who called for political representation for Algeria’s Muslims in a federation with France. When even such modest proposals were scuttled by hard-line French settlers and the French government, power among Arabs shifted to the independence movement, which had concluded that only violence could make the French budge. The bloody war that ensued lasted eight years; terrorism and brutal repression — including the torture of militants by the French Army — reinforced each other in a deadly cycle. Even a regime change in France, with Charles de Gaulle returning as president of the Fifth Republic in 1958, could not stop the bleeding for another four years.

Albert Camus (1913—1960) Albert Camus was a French-Algerian journalist, playwright, novelist, philosophical essayist, and Nobel laureate
Free Essays from Bartleby | The Plague by Albert Camus Albert Camus' The Plague, takes place in the desert town of Oran, Algeria, in northern Africa

Book Review: 'Algerian Chronicles' By Albert Camus ..

After completing Nuptials, Camus began to work on a plannedtriptych on the Absurd: a novel, which became The Stranger, aphilosophical essay, eventually titled The Myth of Sisyphus,and a play, Caligula. These were completed and sent off fromAlgeria to the Paris publisher in September 1941. Although Camus wouldhave preferred to see them appear together, even in a single volume,the publisher for both commercial reasons and because of the papershortage caused by war and occupation, released The Strangerin June 1942 and The Myth of Sisyphus in October. Camus keptworking on the play, which finally appeared in book form two yearslater (Lottman, 264–67).

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This meditation on absurdity and suicide follows closely on thepublication of Camus’s first novel, , whichalso centered on individual experience and revolves around itsprotagonist’s senseless murder of an Arab on a beach in Algiers andconcludes with his execution by guillotine. And it is often forgottenthat this absurdist novelist and philosopher was also a politicalactivist—he had been a member of the Algerian branch of theFrench Communist Party in the mid-1930s and was organizer of anAlgiers theater company that performed avant-garde and politicalplays—as well as a crusading journalist. From October 1938 untilJanuary 1940 he worked on and a sisternewspaper. In June 1939 he wrote a series of reports on famine andpoverty in the mountainous coastal region of Kabylie, among the firstdetailed articles ever written by a European Algerian describing thewretched living conditions of the native population.

When the Algerian War began in 1954, Camus was confronted with a moral dilemma

Free Albert Camus Essays and Papers - 123HelpMe

He does not address the Holocaust, and although his had been a voiceof protest against Hiroshima in 1945, he does not now ask how ithappened. As a journalist he had been one of the few to indict Frenchcolonialism, but he does not mention it, except in a footnote. How wasit possible for Camus to focus solely on the violence of Communism,given the history he had lived, in the very midst of the Frenchcolonial war in Vietnam, and when he knew that a bitter struggle overAlgeria lay ahead? It seems he became blinded by ideology, separatingCommunism from the other evils of the century and directing his animusthere. Camus’s ideas, of course, had developed and matured over theyears since he first began writing about revolt. But something elsehad happened: his agenda had changed. Absurdity and revolt, hisoriginal themes, had been harnessed as an alternative to Communism,which had become the archenemy. The philosophy of revolt becameCold-War ideology.