Wednesday, 11th February 2015 | 6:30 pm
Join us at T2F for a screening of “The Battle of Algiers”, followed by a conversation with Geoff Brown, a Manchester-based anti-war and anti-racist activist currently visiting Pakistan.
The attack on French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo on 7 January 2015 in Paris, France is seen either from the prism of the so-called free world’s uncompromising stand on freedom of expression, or the rising tide of Islamophobia that finds its justification in successive acts of terrorism across the world.
Another way to look at recent events is from the prism of France’s inability to distance itself from its colonial past. The Charlie Hebdo attackers and the policeman who was killed, were French-born, ethnic Algerians. Algerian-origin Muslims form 80 percent of approximately six million Muslims in France. The Algerian-French hostility is rooted in the history of the Algerian anti-colonial struggle through which the French state committed mass atrocities against Algerians including use of violence, extrajudicial killings, and the murder of hundreds of Algerian protestors in Paris. Algerian citizens still struggle for equal citizenship in France, facing acute discrimination and denial of basic human rights.
It would perhaps be apt to employ this context to understand and explain the Charlie Hebdo attack as well as the emerging resistance against new forms of oppression. “The Battle of Algiers”, one of the most influential political films in history, takes this context forward.
Made shortly after winning independence, “The Battle of Algiers” tells the story of a key moment in the Algerian struggle. It is shot in black and white, as if it was live news coverage with the leader of the resistance in the Casbah, the old quarter of Algiers, Saadi Yasif, playing himself. After the victory in 1962, he argued that the struggle did not belong to the people of Algiers but to the oppressed and exploited of the world. As we struggle against new forms of tyranny, the story of the Algerian liberation struggle and, in particular, the Battle of Algiers holds vital lessons on how we can win.
The film is directed by Gillo Pontecorvo, a French national who joined the Communist Party to fight in the resistance to the Nazi occupation of France in World War II, but left in 1956 in protest at the Russian invasion of Hungary in 1956. The film was nominated for three Oscars and has won ten awards including three at the Venice Film Festival in 1966. Banned in France until 1971, it was first released in Italy.
About Geoff Brown
Geoff Brown is a former secretary of the Manchester Trade Unions Council and works with workers groups on mobilizing, campaigning, training and workers negotiation, in the UK as well as in other European countries. He visits Pakistan every year to work with the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research on organizing and capacity building of local workers.
Date: Wednesday, 11th February 2015
Time: 6:30 pm
Entry: Free! Contribute #3K4T2F and help us keep our doors open
Venue: PeaceNiche | T2F
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Seats are limited and will be available on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. No reservations.