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A Tribute to Ahmed Ben Bella

17.04.2012  |  03:28

The first president of independent Algeria, Ahmed Ben Bella, who died Wednesday, April 11th, was buried Friday afternoon at Martyrs Square, El-Alia Cemetery in Algiers, in the presence of President of Algeria, Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

The first president of independent Algeria, Ahmed Ben Bella, who died Wednesday, April 11th, was buried Friday afternoon at Martyrs Square, El-Alia Cemetery in Algiers, in the presence of President of Algeria, Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Officials of the State, government officials, politicians, men of culture, arts and sports, as well as his lifetime comrades went came to pay silent tribute in his memory. Ben Bella was born in Maghnia, Algeria, on the Morocco-Algeria border.  His father, a Sufi Muslim, supported five sons and two daughters by farming and trade. Ahmed Ben Bella was a fearless, dedicated fighter for the liberation and freedom of all people from colonialism and the deprivation caused by unbridled capitalist globalism.  There were no true freedom fighters that didn't have the support of Ahmed Ben Bella. He and his wife, Zora, had two adopted daughters.  In the past month, he was hospitalized twice due to difficulty breathing.  On the day he died, he complained of being tired, went to bed and died in his sleep.He was a towering figure, athletic, handsome. charming, with tremendous personal magnetism, known for a quick, sharp mind and profound courage.  These traits helped him to survive a turbulent life. At the time of his death, he was 96 years old, born December 25, 1916 (1918).  Ben Bella received several military decorations for his service in the French army during the war.  He spent a grand total of 24-1/2 years imprisoned in the struggle for national and international liberation struggles.He suffered arrest at the hands of French occupiers for his activities with the National Liberation Front (NLF).  The first time in 1952 he managed to escape.  Through most of the eight-year war of independence, Ben Bella was held in a French fortress.

His liberation was one of the main Algerian demands in the peace talks that led to the 1962 Evian agreements for Algeria's independence.

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 The Evian accord created a free and independent Algeria and he became the first elected President (15 September 1963 - 19 June 1965).He steered the country toward a Socialist policy characterised by a program of agrarian reform.  Ben Bella reestablished order in a country disorganized both by the massive departure of French colonists and by the clashes of armed groups. He created a state out of nothing and set aside one-quarter of the budget for national education.  He brought the country into the UN and was a huge force in the movement of non-aligned countries.He escaped French assassination attempts and the murderous intrigues of political rivals as he struggled to implement socialism in the country in the anarchy that followed independence in 1962. On June 19, 1965, Ben Bella was deposed in a coup led by Colonel Boumedienne, his former comrade in arms. He spent the next 14 years in confinement and never again held power.He was to be a non-person in Algeria.

No public mention of his name was allowed in Algerian media which was all under control of the government.Boumedienne died in 1978. His successor, Chadli Bendjedid, freed Ben Bella from more than a decade of detention without trial, ultimately allowing him to go abroad with his family. Ben Bella was recognized as a Hero of the Soviet Union.  By a decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet on April 30, 1964, the President of Algeria, Ahmed Ben Bella was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union and the Order of Lenin and medal "Gold Star" (№ 11 221).In 1990, Ben Bella was allowed to return to Algeria.  In 2003, he was elected president of the International Movement against the invasion of Iraq.  He was also the chairman of the Council of Elders of the African Union.*In a 2006 interview, the following notable statements were made by Ahmed Ben Bella:"Yes, I spent 24 and a half years in prison.

When the French locked me up in la Santé, they put me with prisoners who would be guillotined. I saw the guillotine from my cell. It's terrible what Israel forces the Palestinians to undergo as ill treatment.""Currently I have only one project: it's Palestine.

I will do anything possible to help them. To reach peace, in Palestine and the world, the system of the marketplace needs to be rid of. Because the problems are immense, the damage is immense. Leaving the world in the hands of finance and murderers is a crime.

It's that which is terrorism. It's not Bin Laden.""The French colonisation of Algeria lasted a long time: 132 years. I participated in that fight right in Algeria. Immediately after independence, I was associated with all those who, in the world, themselves undertook the struggle to liberate their own country. It was thus this phase in the fight for national liberty that I participated completely.""In Tunisia, in Morocco, in Vietnam, Algeria has become somewhat like the "mother of freedom struggles"; to support them was thus for us a sacred mark.

When someone came to ask us for help, it was sacred. We did not even think twice. We helped them, even if we had only meagre means; we offered them arms, a little bit of money, and in occasion, men."Ahmed Ben Bella was truly a hero of our age, and we can only hope and pray that many more men of his caliber will arise in the anti-colonialist struggle.  He lives on in our hopes and aspirations for a better world that he fought so hard to create.  Farewell, great leader.*Mathaba http://www.mathaba.net/news/?x=630209?rss Lisa KarpovaPravda.Ru.



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