Polling stations will close. Very old, all broken, an old general follows the rue de l’Aletti and heads for the seafront. He has taken out a bistre uniform, which is too big. The uniform of the great days. He put on all his decorations, medals in several rows, and pushed his velvet kepi well down. In front of the office where the Europeans still vote, he stopped for a moment, stern. Then he left, white gloves in hand. In the falling evening, we see him advancing in a street then in another, calmly. Finally the trembling silhouette disappears like a white shadow.
Algeria – Benjamin Stora: “After the Evian agreements, everyone remained on their guard”
It was a Sunday in July. Rue de la Lyre, rue de Chartres, the great joy finally blossoms. A stir formed in the crowd without anyone knowing why… Suddenly, of the men, women by the hundreds set off. Under the lanterns and the flags, a human flow rises. Arms are stretched out, flags flutter above heads. « Tahia el-Djezaïr ! » (” Long live algeria “). A single cry and a single heart, the crowd rolls faster and faster, shouts louder and louder. Now everyone is running towards the road, towards who knows where. The cries of the women, the hands of the men, stretched out towards the only « Tahia el-Djezaïr». A new Algeria is born, the party can now begin.
We twist a flag in our hands: why not?
« Tahia el-Djezaïr ! ». Thousands of cries, thousands of voices. Cars whizzing past, flags flapping, horns ripping through the air. Squealing tires. Sharp screams of children clinging in clusters to all the vehicles. For hours, the great round of the demonstration unfolded in the squares, in the streets, spread throughout Algiers, all stirred up.
Algeria: Capcov, BBY and the “3 Bs”
« Tahia el-Djezaïr ! » Under the midday sun, the joy heats up quickly. At the crossroads, the ALN appears, submachine gun in hand and channels. Whatever. This joy is good-natured and without aggression. Young girls in green caps climb onto the trucks. Howling loads are pouring everywhere. To the haunting rhythm of « Tahia el-Djezaïr ! » or « Allah yarham ech-chouhada » (“God rest the souls of the martyrs”), we dance the twist. Yes, we twist a flag in our hands: why not? Isn’t the main thing to shout, to dance, to jump, to finally burst all the shackles and all the constraints? Joy unfolds in noisy layers and overwhelms and envelops everything in the same waves of cries.
It is a reconquest without arms and without violence. But a reconquest nonetheless
Yes, shout, shout again, shout that we are free! In a great debauchery of flags flying high, in a great movement of a whole people, all day and all night!
End the humiliation
Exhausted children continue to run on the sidewalks, to sing in the trucks. Young girls play the figureheads on the roofs of cars and those who have not found a place on a bus, a truck, a scooter or any other vehicle, these run on foot in all directions, provided let them move, provided they participate. And little by little, in the city overwhelmed by cries, the demonstration takes on its meaning. It’s like in the rue d’Isly, this drunken family: an old, ragged Bedouin, his wife, the four girls in green and white rest for a moment against a door. Thousands of Muslims who fill the streets to the brim, it is not a demonstration, it is a stand and a reconquest without arms and without violence. But a recovery all the same.
Today, Algerians are at home in Algiers. They are at home in Algeria. No more humiliations, prisons, suffocation. Algiers this evening belongs to them. The white and green flags now flutter in the fist of the Duke of Orleans turned towards the Casbah in a derisory gesture of conquest. The green and white flags are also flying over Barbarossa because today the Algerians are free finally.