Friday, October 31, 2008

Abbas, Ferhat (1899 - 1985) Algerian Nationalist Leader

Abbas, Ferhat (1899 - 1985) Algerian Nationalist Leader
Ferhat Abbas, the Algerian nationalist leader who became an active member of the National Liberation Front (FLN), although he sought to achieve Algerian independence by parliamentary means.

Born in Taher, the son of Muslim civil servant, Abbas attended French schools in Philippeville and Constantine before studying at the University of Algiers.

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.

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 established and led 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. He was elected president of the provisional government of the Algerian republic (based in Tunisia) in 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.
Abbas wrote several books, including Le Jeune Algerien (1931), La Nuit coloniale (1963) and Autopsie d’une guerre (1980).
Abbas, Ferhat (1899 - 1985) Algerian Nationalist Leader
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