Messali Hadj 1956

Messali Hadj to the Newspaper Franc-Tireur

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

As an old friend of more than twenty years, I am infinitely content to receive you. I take advantage of this occasion to address my thanks to the French people for all the interest they have shown in the Algerian problem.

I am also happy to note that their efforts in favor of freedom were not in vain, given that the last legislative elections were dominated by the Algerian problem. As you know, for more than 30 years I have been attached to the fight for the happiness of the Algerian people who, in a permanent way, have honored me with their confidence.

In extremely difficult times I was the only Algerian to proclaim the independence of Algeria and the will of our people to completely recover their freedom. This attitude has cost the MNA dearly, for since that time it has been a ceaseless victim of ferocious repression.

Not only do I remain faithful to that concept, but I am happy to note that all the events that have occurred from that era until our time have verified and reinforced our political line.

Even more, all those men who formerly opted for a policy of assimilation are, through the force of events, coming to find again the Algerian nation.

Whatever the reasons for this evolution, and taking into account only the interests of our country, I salute the return of these men to historical reality, and I rejoice in this.

Just as I did thirty years ago, I continue to maintain that the Algerian problem is essentially political, and naturally tied to the solution of all North African problems. I am also happy to note that this political truth is today shared as much by my compatriots as by the French government itself.

This return to Algerian reality being a fact, it remains to find a solution as quickly as possible in order to put an end to the war in Algeria. What, then, is to be done? The Algerian people must be allowed its say in order to allow it to freely and democratically determine its political future and designate its true representatives. This is why we are still in favor of a sovereign Algerian Constituent, elected through universal suffrage, without distinction of race or religion. It is thus that the true interlocutors can be sorted out.

But as a precondition it is necessary to create a climate of détente through a cease fire, the lifting of the state of emergency, the ceasing of capital executions, and the liberation of all political prisoners and detainees.

In my opinion this is the only democratic means of putting an end to the bloodshed and preparing a harmonious cohabitation between the Algerian people and the European minority, who are violently separated by 125 years of colonialism.

Not only must an end be put to the colonialist system, as the president of the Council declared, but it is necessary to bring together words and acts.

In the current state of affairs in Algeria, and after 125 years of colonization, it is absolutely impossible to maintain, under one form or another, any kind of privileges or political supremacy.

We consider that, given the seriousness of the hour, the moment for beating around the bush must pass, giving place to realizations in conformity with the interests of the Algerian people.


January 11, 1956

Messali Hadj

Under house arrest