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#1
Ithri

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11 April 2008

The Algerian press announced today that Mohamed Merzougui has passed away two days ago at the age of 81yo after a long illness.

The event happened just yesterday but this is an opportunity for me to post his biography. He is not well known in Algeria because he was jailed during the war of independence but he played a major role in preparing the revolution.

Mohamed Merzougui was born on November 4th, 1927 in Ksar El Boukhari (Medea). where he spent the first ten years of his life. Then he moved to Algiers to pursue his primary education in La Casbah and he received the "certificat d'etudes" diploma. He then joined the technical high school of El Anasser (Ruisseau).
But he had to abandon his studies because the schools were closed after the allies entered in Algeria during WWII. He started working in the administartion section of the post services.

In 1944, Mohamed Merzougui joined the PPA (Algerian People's Party) in Belouizdad (Belcourt) and became a group leader. He met many activists such as Ahmed Bouda, Lakhdar riah and colonel Ahmed Bougara. He took part in the demonstration of May 1st, 1945 during which 4 Algerians were killed.

He became a member of the OS (Special Organization) at its creation and met with Zoubir Bouadjadj who was a section leader.
Luckily Mohamed Merzougui was informed relatively fast when the French authorities discovered the OS, he could destroy all the documents in his possession and hide.

In 1951, Didouche Mourad and Zoubir Boudjadj convinced him to lead the younths section in Belcourt, and the military organization was reactivated with a bigger care for secrecy.

Merzougui decided not stay neutral when issues raised between the Messalists and the Centralists inside the MTLD. Then when the CRUA was founded, Merzougui was one of its members and he tried within this organization to arrange a reconciliation meeting between the Messalists and the Centralists, but it was in vain. The CRUA thus decided to organise another meeting, the meeting of the 22, in El Madania. Merzougui was one of these 22 who decided to wage a war against the French and don't stop till independence is achieved.

Mohamed Merzougui prepared the attacks on the military barracks of Blida. He made all the plans following the information leaked by one Algerian man who was conscripted in Blida. He then handed the command of the attack to Souidani Boudjemaa who executed it.

During the month of October 1954, he met many times Rabah Bitat and Larbi Benmhidi to discuss the attacks in the region of Algiers. Merzougui decided to launch an attack on the radio quarters in Hoche street. He led his group (which was composed of Abdelkader Chaal, Abderahmane Toudjine, Abassi Madani (yes!), Omar Boutouch and Mohamed Belaman) during this attack.

Two months after the revolution started, Mohamed Merzougui was arrested, tortured then moved between many jailsl (Serkadji, Lambese, Metz, Dijon, etc.). He was freed only after the cease-fire in March 1962.
After the independence he became a member of the central committee of the FLN and a member of parliament in 1964.

He died two days ago. Allah yarahmou
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#2
Fatony

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Allah yerahmou.. wow such a great life he had. He missed out on a lot between 1954 and 62 didn't he?

so what was the problem between the Messalists and the Centralists ?
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#3
Ithri

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He indeed missed the decisive part before the independence...

As to your question, there is actually no consensus about it. Even today we still have two and more versions about what happened. What I am going to say is just one of them.

Messali Elhadj is the father of the Algerian nationalist movement, he founded the North African Star then the Algerian People's Party and then the MTLD. He's also the man who first imagined the Algerian flag.

Thing is Messali didn't accept a group decision-making method inside his parties and always was alone to make the decisions. And one of his decisions was to take part in the French elections despite the fact he was the first to call for the end of the colonisation. Many of the members didn't agree and created the Special Organization (OS) in 1947.

The crisis became bigger when during the 1953 congress, the members of the central committee (aka Centralists) voted new internal rules which limited the powers of the president (Messali) and installed a (majority) voting process within the central committee to take decisions. They also removed many of Messali's friends from the Political Bureau of the party. Of course Messali and his friends (Messalists) didn't like it so they organized another congress in Belgium in July 1954 which changed the structures of the MTLD (against the Centralists) but actually killed the MTLD itself.

During this conflict, the OS and then the CRUA decided to be neutral and tried to improve things between the two sides but without success.

The result of this is that the FLN was created and the revolution launched without informing Messali (who was the Father of the whole movement). The Messalists of the MTLD were also preparing for the revolution, just a bit later than 1st of November. So in the beginning we had FLN moudjahidines + Messalist moudjahidine fighting together against the French, which was positive.
The problem is instead of agreeing to this situation, Messali didn't accept the emergence of a new and young leadership so he created a new party MNA (Algerian National Movement) in December 1954 and started fighting against the FLN.
The worst events happened in France where the MNA was very well represented and the FLN started creating its FLN Federation of France. These two movements fought against each other and many Algerians died by Algerian hands, while the French police was watching happily.
The FLN "won" this war. But another one started in Algeria where Mohamed Bellounis created his MNA army and fought together with the French against the ALN. He also signed a treaty with the French naming him as General and appointing him as the representative governor of Algeria on French's behalf. Of course Messali never agreed to this, or at least so I believe.
The ALN also won this war which launched between Algerians who were fighting together at the beginning of the revolution.
It is said that many of MNA soldiers were imprisonned and being killed in 1962 by the ALN while Algeria was celebrating its independence. But nothing confirms this.

All in all, Messali finally supported the FLN war somewhere before the independence but he was banned from our history. I remember in school we were told that he was a communist, non-muslim, etc. Then with time, esp. after the arrival of Bouteflika, he's recognized again as the leader he was.

#4
Fatony

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interesting. barakallahu feek.. It's a crazy history isn't it. Even during the war, movements were still fighting for power. So would you say that some of the MNA's have become harkis and left with France?

Lot of treason took place....

Good on FLN, maybe they found that Messali is Djaja or is accepting bribes or whatever and wanted things moving so they created their own clan.

#5
Beebo

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amazing this is the first time i hear these stories you know. I had no idea that we actually had so much conflict of interest among us to the point that we fought each other..

Thanks Ithri

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#6
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#8
Ithri

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You all are welcome.

So would you say that some of the MNA's have become harkis and left with France?

Lot of treason took place....

Good on FLN, maybe they found that Messali is Djaja or is accepting bribes or whatever and wanted things moving so they created their own clan.


I wouldn't say that Fatony.
Messali hasn't chickened out nor has he accepted bribes. He's been jailed so many time. Again he was the first to request the independence of DZ when the majority of Algerian elite wanted just an assimilation or the integration of the DZ ppl into France.
It is a politics question, he (like others) understood after the events of May 8th, 1945 that the only way to b free again is to launch an armed action but I think he believed time didn't come yet.
Then you have his ego too which probably played a role. Many analysts say that if he had followed the FLN after November 1954 then he would've been the first president of Algeria in 62 as everybody acknowledged his status and value.

Then the majority of the MNA people were honest nationalists who believed in Messali and thought it was only with Messali that we would conquer our independence.
They (and the FLN too) acted very badly in France as they killed each other, and also helped the French capture the members of the other side. The MNA members were the ennemies of France as were the FLN. What they did can't be considered as pure treason.
Of course some probably did betray DZ, like Mohamed Bellounis and his friends but these went astray even in the MNA's eyes.

And Beebo, I remember I was shocked when I learnt these stuff. When u r a kid and according to what they tell you in history courses you tend to idealize the revolution (as it was a just cause) and also idealize its people.
The MNA episode was a tough one but thank God the Algerian people followed in majority the FLN so the MNA didn't stand a chance. Things became worse when internal fights started inside the FLN itself. It is agreed now that there were many assassinations etc despite the fact that the FLN decided Colonel was the highest possible rank as to avoid the emergence of somebody like Messali...
Again Thank God the revolution leaders were dedicated enough to be patient for 7 full years. I don't know what would have happened if we had to fight for 2 or 3 more years.... Rabbi ster.

I have on my laptop a 52min video showing the Messalists version of the story. I can share with the interested.

#9
Fatony

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وصف رحيله بخسوف علم كبير من سماء الجزائر
بوتفليقة يعزي عائلة المجاهد محمد مرزوقي

وصف رئيس الجمهورية، السيد عبد العزيز بوتفليقة، رحيل المجاهد محمد مرزوقي، أحد أعضاء مجموعة 22، أول أمس، بأنه ''خسوف علم كبير من سماء الجزائر (...) التي فقدت ابنا بارا ورجل تاريخ مجيد''.
أضاف بوتفليقة، في رسالة عزاء بعث بها إلى عائلة المجاهد الراحل، معددا خصاله، أنه من أبناء ''جيل نوفمبر الذي عبد طريق الحرية بدمه وسن نهجا للمستضعفين في بقاع الأرض، أثبت حجته في نصرة القضايا العادلة في العالم''.
وأكد رئيس الجمهورية أن الجزائر ''إذ تنعي هذا الرمز، فإنها تتذكر مآثره ومآثـر كل أبنائها البررة، وتتعهد مواقفهم الخالدة بالتقدير والعرفان والاقتداء''، قبل أن يسترسل قائلا: ''فعندما يخسف أمثال هذا العلم الكبير من سماء الجزائر نشعر بألم الواقع وجسامة الحدث ونتذكر خصال رعيل خصه المولى بأفضاله فخلع عنه بردة الجهاد في سبيل الحق والحرية والسيادة''. مشددا على أن الراحل ''واحد من هذا الرعيل ممن شبوا على الإيثار ونكران الذات، كان همهم على حداثة سنهم أن ينقشع عن سماء بلدهم الظلام الحالك ويزول الظلم ويشع النور في أرجاء وطن عزيز وغال، فكان لهم ما أرادوا بعون الله، فمنهم من قضى نحبه على طريق الشهادة فنال رضى المولى بإذنه تعالى، ومنهم من أمده بطول العمر حتى يشهد رايات الحق تتألق في سماء الجزائر خفاقة''.
واسترسل بوتفليقة قائلا: ''إن الراحل العزيز من طينة الذين صدقوا مع أنفسهم وتصالحوا مع تاريخهم وأدركوا بحدسهم البعيد أن الجور والظلم والقهر وكل رذائل الاحتلال الأخرى ليست قدرا على شعبهم ولا حتمية على وطنهم، بل هي أعراض مرضية مستديمة وجب إزالتها وإعادة تصحيح مسيرة الأمة''.
وأضاف: ''فلم يفل في عضدهم تفوق القوة القاهرة ولا إيديولوجية الاستلاب والتمييز على اختلاف ملامحه ووجوهه ولا قعود البعض وتردد البعض الآخر عن كسر حاجز الخوف النفسي الذي فرضته سياسة البطش والإبادة، بل قد تعلقت همتهم بمثل أعلى وروضت نفوسهم وأبدانهم على ركوب الخطوب وطلب المعالي، مدركين بوعي سابق لعصرهم أنه الطريق الأقوم والسبيل الأسلم للظفر بما لا تقوم إلا به حياة العزة والشرف والمروءة''.

http://www.elkhabar....a=105456&idc=30

#10
Beebo

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how many of our great heroes (ones who were part of the core group which led to our independence) are still alive?

#11
Ithri

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how many of our great heroes (ones who were part of the core group which led to our independence) are still alive?


These are the members of the group of the 22. It'd be great if someone could confirm the "alive" and "I don't know".

Mokhtar Badji ------------------> dead
Othmane Belouizdad ----------> dead
Ramdane Benabdelmalek -----> dead
Mustapha Benboulaïd ----------> dead
Larbi Ben M'hidi ----------------> dead
Rabah Bitat ---------------------> dead
Mohamed Boudiaf --------------> dead
Abdelhafid Boussouf -----------> dead
Mourad Didouche --------------> dead
Rachid Mellah ------------------> dead
Mohamed Merzougui ----------> dead
Boudjema Souidani -----------> dead
Youcef Zighoud ----------------> dead

Amar Benaouda ----------------------> alive as far I know
Lakhdar Bentobbal -------------------> alive as far I know
Ahmed Bouchaïb ---------------------> alive as far I know
Abdelkader Lamoudi ------------------> alive as far I know
Mohamed Mechati ---------------------> alive as far I know

Zoubir Bouadjadj ------------------------------> I don't know!
Saïd Bouali -------------------------------------> I don't know!
Lyes Derriche ----------------------------------> I don't know!
Abdesslam Habachi ----------------------------> I don't know!