Conquest of Sovereignty

Lakhdar Bentobbal: An insider’s view of Algeria’s FLN

By Renaud de Rochebrune

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Posted on August 10, 2022 11:22

Bentobbal Lakhdar Bentobbal in 1962, Algiers ©Jeune Afrique Archives
Lakhdar Bentobbal in 1962, Algiers ©Jeune Afrique Archives

The historian Daho Djerbal has published the second volume of the memoirs of Lakhdar Bentobbal, subtitled “The Conquest of Sovereignty”. A remarkable work based on accounts that the Algerian independence activist gave to the author between 1980 and 1986.

There are already hundreds and hundreds of books on the Algerian war, including on the Algerian side, of all kinds: more or less exhaustive accounts of the whole conflict or of such and such an episode of the fight for independence, memoirs by mujahideen or politicians – mainly from the National Liberation Front (French acronym FLN) but occasionally from the Messalist movement or the communist sphere – essays on the close or distant origins of the war, on its course and the way it was prolonged after independence…

But there are still some “holes” for those who want to know what happened since the beginning of colonisation in 1830, but also and especially within the FLN during the war of liberation, from 1954 to 1962. The main one, certainly, concerns the memories of the main actors of the armed struggle, those who were ‘in charge’ and could therefore describe in detail what they did and

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