Messali Hadj 1937

Response to M. Deloche of l'Humanité

Source: Messali Hadj par les textes; textes choisis et presentés par Jacques Simon. Editions Bouchéne, 2000;
Translated: for by Mitch Abidor.

The Muslim North African population awaited with some impatience and curiosity the attitude the Communist Party was going to take concerning the dissolution of L'Etoile Nord Africaine. The dissolution is dated January 25, and the Communist Party, through the voice of l'Humanité and under the signature of M. Deloche, did not take a position or, if you will, didn’t pretend to take a position until 18 days later. It can’t be said it was spontaneous, nor was it even thought out; let’s say it was ably made up. It is evident that the Communist Party would have said nothing and would have preferred silence under these circumstances, if the protests and profound indignation of the North African workers and even Arab and French Communists hadn’t pushed the latter to do something to bring about a little peace. This is why we can say that the article of M. Deloche was pulled out by the hairs from all points of view, political and tactical.

What is most striking in this article are the two points that served as pillars; that capped this monument to hypocrisy and political acrobatics. The author works hard and has concentrated his intelligence, his skill and his knowledge of colonialism to sugar coat the pill for us: 1- In the beginning of his “paper” he wants to have us believe that it’s a protest, and this is aimed at North Africans; 2- in the middle and towards the end he wants to justify with a shamelessness that would embarrass a Gascon the dissolution of l'Etoile. This second part is aimed at approving those who struck at l'Etoile. This maneuver fools no one, whatever the skill and virtuosity with the pen of M. Deloche. What North Africans expect of you isn’t the rumor-mongering of concierges; they ask that you frankly and directly say if you are for or against the dissolution of l'Etoile Nord-Africaine.

I say to Deloche that in order to justify the dissolution of l'Etoile he borrowed his arguments from the fascist press and the mouth of colonialism. A year ago, when he supported us via his press, his meetings and his lawyers, our colonialist and fascist adversaries carried out a violent campaign against us using the same arguments. We say that this is logical in the mouth of a colonialist, but that it is unworthy and repugnant on the part of a Communist, of a Marxist who, since 1918, has never ceased calling in the face of the world for the independence of North Africa and the destruction of capitalism and imperialism.

I don’t have the heart to write to the leadership of the Communist Party to convince them of the honesty, sincerity and probity of l'Etoile Nord-Africaine, for it knows this perfectly well. But I will say that I will allow no one to soil our organization with ridiculous and stupid arguments in order to justify his about-face or his 99th change of mind. It’s now more than ten years that we know the Communist Party; l'Etoile Nord-Africaine has collaborated with it, we've held meetings together, we've gone to prison together, we've suffered together. The leadership is free to pass to the other side, but we won’t allow it to justify its departure or its about-face by insulting us and piling-on our organization with phrases taken from the mouths of people like Kerrilis. We know many things and we have our word to say and, if need be, we'll take out our dossier to defend our organization, though we feel repugnance for this kind of polemic.

While waiting to learn your precise attitude concerning the dissolution of l'Etoile Nord-Africaine we ask you for a public meeting and debate in order to enlighten the public and proletarian opinion that we love and that loves us, alongside whom we've fought and with whom we'll continue to fight against fascism and colonialism. It’s no use to maneuver, to engage in intrigue, or to stab in the back in the shadow of ministerial cabinets. Truth, and shining truth should show itself in broad daylight. Whatever happens we'll go anywhere to have the truth heard.

El Ouma Feb 1937