Ho Chi Minh

The Martyrdom of Amdouni and Ben-Belkhir

First Published: La Paria, November 1, 1922
Source: Selected Works of Ho Chi Minh Vol. 1
Publisher: Foreign Languages Publishing House
Transcription/Markup: Roland Ferguson and Christian Liebl
Online Version: Ho Chi Minh Internet Archive (marxists.org) 2003

In the war fought to uphold the rule of law, to safeguard justice, civilization, etc... 100,000 Tunisian infantrymen were mobilized, 60 per cent of whom did not come back. At that time, Tunisians were covered with flowers and showered with affection. Franco-Tunisian brotherhood was chanted with much love and tenderness, “a brotherhood sealed for ever in blood and glory”. A censorship was even established to prevent publication in the press of any matter likely to offend native opinion.

To-day, this fraternity has changed its form. It is no longer expressed by caresses and flowers. It is expressed more eloquently by revolver shots or riding-whips. The following facts are proof of this:

Seeing three natives grazing their sheep in his olivegroves, a French settler sent his wife for his rifle and cartridges. When they were brought to him, our civilizer laid in wait behind a bush, and, bang! bang! bang! three shots went off and the three natives fell gravely wounded.

Another French settler had working for him two natives, Amdouni and Ben-Belkhir. It seemed that these had taken a few bunches of grapes. The settler sent for them and beat them mercilessly with a bull’s pizzle until they fainted. When they recovered their senses, our protector had their arms bound behind their backs and had them strung up by their hands. Though the two unfortunates lost consciousness, the odious punishment lasted for four hours and ended only when a neighbour protested.

Taken to hospital, the unfortunates each had to have one hand amputated and it is not known whether the other hand can be saved.

There it is, fra-ter-ni-ty!

The honourable M. Lucien Saint is too busy expelling communists and journalists to think of the lives of his native proteges.