Algeria (Magill's Literary Annual 2009)
With the subtitle Anger of the Dispossessed, Martin Evans and John Phillips evoke well in their book Algeria the tragic fact that, since the French invasion and occupation of Algeria in 1830, most Algerians have been effectively excluded from any meaningful involvement in determining the economic, political, social, and religious policies of their country. This marginalization quite naturally caused deep feelings of bitterness, especially because Algerian Muslims, who remained faithful to Islam, recognized all too clearly their powerlessness to create a society in which the basic tenets of Islam determined governmental policies and the rule of law in Algeria.
Evans and Phillips do an excellent job describing the humiliating nature of the French domination of Algeria, which lasted 132 years, from 1830 until 1962. This was far longer than French colonial rule in any other African country. Further insults to Algerian Muslims were manifested when France annexed Algeria, sent French immigrants to settle in the country, and showed contempt for the well-known Muslim prohibition against alcohol by planting vineyards and making wine in Algeria. France made a mockery of its supposed commitment to liberty, equality, and fraternity, three values affirmed in the motto of the French Republic, by offering French citizenship to those Algerians who renounced Islam. Apostasy is an unforgivable sin for Muslims. Algerian Muslims understood all too well that...
(The entire section is 1639 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2009)
Foreign Affairs 87, no. 1 (January/February, 2008): 192.
History Today 58, no. 12 (December, 2008): 70.
International Affairs 84, no. 2 (March 2008): 394.
Publishers Weekly 254, no. 44 (November 5, 2007): 59.
The Spectator 306 (January 5, 2008): 26-27.
The Times Literary Supplement, October 10, 2008, p. 24.
(The entire section is 27 words.)