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Transnational political participation of Algerian migrants: a civil society abroad?
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-07, 17:02 authored by Michael CollyerMichael Collyer
Since independence, the Algerian state has had mechanisms in place to control its emigrant population but the recent conflict resulted in, and was in part caused by, the crumbling of many of these institutions of control. Throughout the conflict, migrants based in France have been able to exert considerable influence on the Algerian government, while the Algerian government has sought to discredit or control their activities. This article examines an episode of political protest against the Algerian regime by Algerian migrants in France that resulted in a series of high profile court cases in France between 2001 and 2004. The protests originated in allegations of human rights abuses by the Algerian army that were detailed in a series of books, principally Qui a tué a Bentalha? [Yous, N. with the collaboration of Mellah, S. (2000). Qui a tué à Bentalha? Algérie: chronique d'un massacre annoncé. Paris: La Découverte.] and La sale guerre [Souaïdia, H. (2001). La sale guerre. Paris: La Découverte.]. The article draws on a series of interviews with politically active and non-politically active migrants in France and the UK, including the authors of both books and leading figures on both sides of the debate, in order to establish the nature of the relationship between political activism by migrants in France and civil society in Algeria. The literature on civil society is used to highlight the relationship between French-based associations and the Algerian government. The article concludes that French-based activists must be judged on the extent to which they engage with the Algerian government and contribute to the growth of developing civil society within Algeria.
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- Geography Publications
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