Transcript: Algeria: Conscience and Action | May 09, 1996

(rhythmic drumming)

Fast clips show local tribes in their daily activities, a straw village, traditional buildings, men wearing turbans, women wearing colourful dresses and a factory. A title in white letters reads “The Africa File.”

[Arabic ululation]
[men singing]

A caption appears on screen. It reads “Algeria: Consciousness and action.”

The Narrator says IN 1963, ALGERIA BECAME
AN INDEPENDENT COUNTRY.
PUTTING AN END TO MORE
THAN 130 YEARS OF FRENCH
COLONIZATION, AND LONG,
BURDENSOME CENTURIES OF
FOREIGN DOMINATION.
TEN YEARS AFTER ALGERIA
GAINED HER INDEPENDENCE,
WE WENT THERE TO OBSERVE
THIS YOUNG NATION,
AND TO MAKE A TENTATIVE
ASSESSMENT OF ITS
COLLECTIVE ADVENTURE.

Men and women perform a play outdoors. A man representing a French Officer speaks French. Subtitles read “You have fought for France, that’s fine. But now, we don’t need you Algerians anymore. Get lost.”

[gunshots]
The soldiers shoot the civilians and then they all dance together.

(flute music plays)

The French Officer sings in French.

The Narrator continues ONE OF ALGERIA'S GREATEST
WRITERS IS KATEB YACINE.
AUTHOR OF THE CONTROVERSIAL,
POLITICAL PLAY, “MOHAMMED,
PACK YOUR BAGS,” SEVERAL
SEGMENTS OF WHICH
WE FILMED AT THE
HO CHI MINH CENTRE,
A SUMMER CAMP
FOR WAR ORPHANS.
HE AGREED TO TALK
WITH US ABOUT
THE CULTURAL
REVOLUTION IN ALGERIA.

Kateb Yacine is in his late forties, clean-shaven with curly black hair. He’s wearing a brown jacket, a blue cardigan and a light shirt.

Kateb says YOU CAN SEE THAT
BEFORE INDEPENDENCE,
THERE WAS A BIG VOID
IN THE THEATRE,
A VOID BY DESIGN.
WITH THE COMING
OF INDEPENDENCE,
WE IMPATIENTLY AWAITED THE
FRUITS OF THIS NEW THEATRE.
WE WITNESSED AN EXPLOSION
OF PLAYS, FILMS, BOOKS,
WHICH ARE DIRECTLY LINKED
TO THE REVOLUTION.

[gunfire]
A clip shows soldiers running down a street and an explosion.

The Narrator continues THE REVOLUTION SPREAD
THROUGH ALGERIA LIKE WILDFIRE.
TWO REPRESENTATIVES OF
THE NATIONAL UNION
OF ALGERIAN WOMEN SPOKE
TO US ABOUT THE ROLES
THEY PLAYED DURING THE
WAR OF INDEPENDENCE.

A brunette woman says MY FIRST TASK WAS
TO BE THE LIAISON
BETWEEN THE NATIONAL
LIBERATION FRONT
IN ALGIERS, AND GUERRILLA
GROUP NUMBER ONE.

A woman wearing glasses says TO GO BACK A BIT, MY PARENTS
HAD ALREADY BEEN IMPRISONED.
I'D GONE HOME AS MY
COMMANDER HAD TOLD ME TO DO.
I FOUND MY PARENTS HAD
ALREADY BEEN SMOKED OUT,
AS WE'D SAY,
DURING THE WAR.

The brunette woman says ONCE YOU'VE BEEN
SMOKED OUT IN THE CITY,
YOU'RE DIRECTED AND
GUIDED TOWARDS THE MAQUIS,
THE GUERRILLAS.

COMRADES BEING LOOKED
FOR IN THE CITIES
BY THE FRENCH HAD TO
TAKE TO THE HILLS.
GUERRILLAS GAVE
THEM INSTRUCTIONS
AND TOOK THEM
HIGHER UP.
ALONG THE WAY, THEY ATTACKED
FRENCH OUTPOSTS AND CONVOYS.
WE HAD TO MARCH AT NIGHT.
WE MOVED ONLY AT
NIGHT, AS THE ENEMY
COULD EASILY SPOT US
DURING THE DAY.
AND IT'S DIFFICULT AT NIGHT
WHEN YOU'RE NOT USED TO
CLAMBERING OVER THIS
SORT OF TERRAIN.

The play continues.

Kateb says OBVIOUSLY, JUST BEING
IN ALGERIA TODAY,
IN OUR OWN LAND, IS FOR
A REVOLUTIONARY THEATRE,
A NEW PHENOMENON THAT ENTAILS
ENORMOUS RESPONSIBILITIES.

[actors singing]

Kateb continues WE HAVE COMPLETELY TURNED
OUR BACKS ON THE OFFICIAL
THEATRE, WHICH STILL
HAS THE SAME,
VERY CLOSED-MINDED
AUDIENCE.
NOW, WE ARE GOING
AFTER A NEW AUDIENCE.
ONE LIKE THAT, WHICH YOU
SEE HERE, FOR EXAMPLE.
THE CHILDREN OF THIS CENTRE
ARE CHILDREN OF THE MASSES.
WE GO INTO FACTORIES, TOO.
YESTERDAY, FOR EXAMPLE,
WE PUT THIS PLAY ON
FOR THE WORKERS
OF A FACTORY.
THERE IS OUR AUDIENCE.
OBVIOUSLY, A PEOPLE WHICH
HAS SUFFERED GREATLY
HAS LEARNED A LOT,
AND HAS A LOT TO SAY.
THEY ARE PROUD OF
THEIR SUFFERING.
THE BIRTH OF ALGERIA AS A
NATION IS COMING TRUE
IN SPITE OF THOUSANDS
OF OBSTACLES.

A caption appears on screen. It reads “Kateb Yacine. Writer.”

Kateb continues BUT WE ARE SURE
IT WILL COME TRUE.
WHEREAS BEFORE, TEN YEARS
AGO, IT WAS STILL A DREAM,
A UTOPIAN DREAM.

(traditional music plays)

The Narrator says ALGERIA IS A COUNTRY WHERE
60 PERCENT OF THE WORKFORCE
IS IN AGRICULTURE.
RECENTLY, SHE'S
UNDERTAKEN A VAST PLAN
OF AGRARIAN REFORM IN
ORDER TO INDUSTRIALIZE
AND MODERNIZE THIS IMPORTANT
SECTOR OF THE ECONOMY.
ACCORDING TO THIS POLICY,
THE WORKERS ARE CHARGED
WITH MANAGING THE
COLLECTIVE FARMS.
THE GOVERNMENT IS ALSO
TRYING TO GROUP PEASANTS
INTO SOCIALIST COOPERATIVES
TO ENABLE THEIR FAMILIES
TO BENEFIT FROM
COMMUNAL SERVICES.

A man ploughs a field using a tractor.

A man wearing a black moustache says IF THE FARM SHOWS A PROFIT,
THE WORKERS SHARE IN IT.
THAT IS, PROFITS
ARE SHARED.
THE WORKER HAS A
STAKE IN THE FARM.
THE MORE HE PRODUCES,
THE MORE HE EARNS.
THE WORKERS THEY SEND HERE
ARE YOUNG - 22, 24, 25.
THEY REALLY
LOVE THE LAND.
EVEN IF YOU TRY TO
PUT THEM IN INDUSTRY,
I DON'T THINK
THEY'D DO MUCH.
BECAUSE THEY FEEL
COMFORTABLE HERE.
THEY LOVE THE
SIGHT OF THE LAND.
I DON'T KNOW, I'LL TELL YOU
FRANKLY, I LOVE THE LAND.
AS THEY SAY, YOU HAVE
TO LOVE THE LAND
FOR IT TO GIVE YOU
WHAT YOU WANT.

Women wearing large straw hats and turbans sit on the ground selecting plants.

The Narrator says SOME WIDOWS OF THE WAR
HAVE BEEN REGROUPED
IN AN AGRICULTURAL
COOPERATIVE.
IT'S NOT THE LURE OF PROFIT
THAT BINDS THEIR UNION,
BUT A COMMON SORROW
PROFOUNDLY SHARED,
A SORROW FOR
THOSE NOW DEAD
WITH WHOM THEY
SHARED THEIR LIVES.

[drumming]
[shouting]
[gunshot]

At the play, an actor kneels and falls to the ground.

[Arabic ululation]

The interviewer asks HOW DO THEY SEE THE FUTURE
WITH THE CONSTRUCTION
OF THIS FARMING VILLAGE AND
THE WORK THAT GOES ON HERE?

A woman wearing a blue cardigan speaks a local dialect.

A Translator says SHE'D LIKE TO HAVE
A PLACE TO LIVE,
ONCE THE PEOPLE ENGAGED IN
THE AGRARIAN REVOLUTION
ARE TAKEN CARE OF.
OBVIOUSLY, SHE'D
LIKE TO HAVE A HOUSE
BECAUSE SHE'S BEEN LIVING IN A
SHACK, AND HER MEAGER INCOME
HASN'T ALLOWED HER TO
MOVE OUT OF THAT SHACK.

The interviewer says DO YOU THINK WITH
THEIR NEW VILLAGE
SHE'LL HAVE THAT
NEW APARTMENT?

The Translator says SHE HOPES SO, YES.
SHE HOPES SO.

A sign reads “Village de la Revolution Agraire Doum Theboul.”

Kateb says THAT'S TRUE
COOPERATION, YOU SEE?
HELP ME, AND
I'LL HELP YOU.
THAT'S THE IDEA.
THIS IDEA HAS ALWAYS EXISTED
IN THIS AREA BECAUSE
WHEN PEOPLE NEEDED HELP
FOR SOME JOB OR OTHER,
THEY'D ASK THEIR
NEIGHBOURS FOR HELP.
AND WE'VE FOLLOWED
THIS POLICY.
RIGHT NOW, PEOPLE HERE GET
A SUBSIDY OF 25 DOLLARS A MONTH,
FIVE QUINTALS OF WHEAT,
FIVE KILOGRAMS OF SUGAR,
OIL, AND ALL THE
NECESSITIES OF LIFE.
IT'S THIS WHICH LETS
THEM LIVE DECENTLY
WITH THEIR FAMILIES.

A girl speaks Arabic.

The actors practice the alphabet.

The Narrator says FOLLOWING THE MASSIVE
DEPARTURES OF FRENCH
TEACHERS, ALGERIA,
NEWLY INDEPENDENT,
SET UP A NEW
EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM,
WHICH PROVED
HIGHLY ORIGINAL,
AND WHICH DEMONSTRATED
ALGERIA'S WILL TO TAKE
ITS PLACE AMONG THE
PROGRESSIVE, MODERN NATIONS.

Oudali is in his mid-forties, with a moustache and curly black hair. He’s wearing glasses, a dark brown jacket and a striped shirt.

Oudali says AS SOON AS THE
SCHOOLS OPENED,
THE TEACHER TRAINING
SYSTEM WAS SET UP.
THE SYSTEM MOBILIZED EVERY
POSSIBLE LOCAL HUMAN RESOURCE.
THE SMALL TRAINING CENTRE
WAS SET UP IN EVERY SCHOOL,
IN EVERY LITTLE TOWN.

A male teacher wearing a long robe gives a lesson to adult male students sitting on the ground.

Ouldali continues PRIMARY SCHOOL INSPECTORS
WERE CALLED ON
FOR THIS TEACHER TRAINING
WORK ON DAYS OFF.
THERE WERE COURSES OVER
RADIO AND TELEVISION,
WHERE EVERY RESOURCE
WAS MOBILIZED FOR
THIS HIGH-PRIORITY TASK.
IT HAPPENED THAT ONE OF THE
EDITORS OF A NEWSPAPER
WAS A FORMER EDUCATIONAL
CONSULTANT.
WE QUICKLY ARRANGED WITH
HIM TO HAVE CORRESPONDENCE
COURSES GIVEN, NOT
THROUGH THE MAIL,
AS WAS TRADITIONAL, BUT
THROUGH THE NEWSPAPER.

The caption changes to “M. Oudali. Unesco.”

Oudali continues EVERY WEEK, THERE WAS AN
ENTIRE PAGE OF THE PAPER
WHERE THE EDUCATIONAL
MINISTRIES PRINTED
EVERYTHING CONCERNING
TEACHER TRAINING.
THIS INFORMATION WAS
PUT IN THE NEWSPAPER,
AND INSTANTANEOUSLY SENT
THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY.
OBVIOUSLY, YOU CAN'T
EDUCATE 700,000 KIDS
WITH 700 TEACHERS.

Bare feet kids stand outside a school.

Oudali continues SO ALGERIA DECIDED TO HIRE
WHAT WE CALL MONITORS.
WE ENTRUSTED PRIMARY SCHOOL
KIDS TO THESE YOUNG PEOPLE
WHO WERE ON THE
AVERAGE 18 OR 20,
WHO HAD A PRIMARY EDUCATION,
A LOT OF GOODWILL,
AND WHO WERE
HIGHLY MOTIVATED.
BECAUSE IT REALLY REPRESENTED
A NATIONAL SERVICE.

The interviewer says JUST NOW YOU SAID YOU'D BE
WILLING TO WORK ANYWHERE
IN ALGERIA, BUT
NOT ABROAD; WHY?

A boy says BECAUSE OUR COUNTRY
IS UNDERDEVELOPED.
WE WANT TO DEVELOP IT.
WE NEED TRAINED
PEOPLE, ENGINEERS.

Men wearing white robes and hats play drums and trumpets on the street.

Oudali says THE STANDARD OF LIVING
IS NOT HIGHER NOW
THAN IT WAS IN 1963.
NEARLY ALL THAT THEY GET
FROM THE SALE OF OIL
GOES INTO INVESTMENT.
AND THAT'S ONE OF THE
CHARACTERISTICS
OF ALGERIAN DEVELOPMENT.
INVESTMENT OCCUPIES AN
ENORMOUS PLACE IN ALGERIA.
IT'S REALLY A UNIQUE CASE.
ACCORDING TO OFFICIAL
FIGURES, IN 1974,
INVESTMENT SHOULD REACH
40 TO 45 PERCENT
OF THE GROSS
NATIONAL PRODUCT.

Fast clips feature factories at work and local people walking and driving bicycles down the city centre.

Oudali continues IT'S PROBABLY THE HIGHEST
PERCENTAGE IN THE ECONOMIC
HISTORY OF THE WORLD.
JAPAN, FOR EXAMPLE, DURING
ITS MOST SPECTACULAR PERIOD
OF DEVELOPMENT
A FEW YEARS AGO,
REINVESTED ON THE
AVERAGE 30 PERCENT
OF ITS NATIONAL INCOME.
HERE, THEY ARE
INVESTING 45 PERCENT,
PLUS WITHDRAWING ALMOST
HALF THE NATIONAL INCOME
FROM CONSUMPTION,
AND TRANSFORMING IT
INTO FACTORIES, SCHOOLS,
HOSPITALS, ROADS.
SO THEY MUST KEEP A TIGHT
REIN ON CONSUMPTION,
WHICH NATURALLY
CREATES FRUSTRATION.

The Narrator says MORE THAN HALF THE
POPULATION OF ALGERIA
IS UNDER 20 YEARS
OF AGE.
DESPITE A POLICY OF
RAPID INDUSTRIALIZATION,
MANY YOUNG WORKERS ARE
UNABLE TO FIND JOBS
IN THE COUNTRY.
THEY ARE FREQUENTLY
CONDEMNED TO UNEMPLOYMENT
OR TO EMIGRATION.
IN PARIS, WRITER JULIETTE
MINCES, AND GERARD CHALIAND,
FORMER ECONOMIC ADVISOR
TO THE GOVERNMENT
OF INDEPENDENT ALGERIA,
EXPRESSED SOME OF THEIR
RESERVATIONS AND OBJECTIONS
TO THE POLICIES
OF THE BOUMEDIENE GOVERNMENT.

Juliette and Gerard sit in a living room. She is in her forties with shoulder-length black hair. She’s wearing a light blouse. Gerard is in his mid-forties with black hair. He’s wearing a dark sweater.

Juliette says THE ALGERIA
AUTHORITIES HAVE MADE
A KIND OF GAMBLE
CONCERNING ALGERIA'S
INDUSTRIALIZATION BY
INDUSTRIALIZING FROM ABOVE,
CREATING KEY INDUSTRIES,
MEANING INDUSTRIES EMPLOYING
FEW WORKERS BUT WHICH IN
THE ALGERIAN VIEW WILL
EVENTUALLY FORM
A CAPITAL BASE,
WHICH WILL ALLOW FOR THE
CREATION OF NEW JOBS.

The caption changes to “Juliette Minces. Sociologue.”

Juliette continues THEY SAID, OKAY, THERE HAS
ALWAYS BEEN UNEMPLOYMENT
IN ALGERIA.
WE'LL LET IT CONTINUE
FOR ANOTHER TEN YEARS.
THERE WILL BE GREAT
DIFFICULTIES,
AND THEN WE'LL
BREAK THROUGH.

Gerard says PERSONALLY, I THINK IF YOU
COMPARE ALGERIA WITH MOST
OF THE THIRD WORLD,
IT'S MUCH BETTER OFF.
IT'S BETTER THAN EITHER
TUNISIA OR MOROCCO.
IT'S BETTER THAN THE
COUNTRIES OF TROPICAL AFRICA.
IT'S EVEN BETTER THAN MOST
NEAR EASTERN COUNTRIES.
THERE IS A VERY
STRONG NATIONALISM,
A DESIRE TO NATIONALIZE AND
RECOVER THE NATION'S RESOURCES.
YOU CAN'T RETURN TO
ALGERIA AFTER TEN YEARS
AND SEE THAT NOTHING HAS
HAPPENED, THAT'S TRUE.
BUT FROM ANOTHER ANGLE,
PEOPLE CONSIDER THAT
INDUSTRIALIZATION AND THE
SOCIALIST REVOLUTION
IS UNDERWAY IN ALGERIA.
I'M OBLIGED TO SAY
THAT'S INCORRECT.
AND THAT INDUSTRY REALLY
AFFECTS FEW SECTORS,
CHANGED THE LIVES
OF FEW PEOPLE.

An aerial view of a modest village appears.

The caption changes to “Gerard Chaliand. Economiste.”

Gerard continues IT'S DIFFICULT TO TALK OF
SOCIALISM IN A COUNTRY
WHERE THERE IS AT LEAST
A MILLION UNEMPLOYED,
AND WHERE EUROPE AND
FRANCE, NOTABLY,
RECEIVE BETWEEN 500,000
AND 700,000 WORKERS
WHO COME HERE TO WORK, AND
SEND MONEY BACK THERE.

The play continues. The actors sing MOHAMMED,
PACK YOUR BAGS AND GO. SEND US
FRANCS FOR OUR
CASH FLOW.
WE DANCE WITH JOY, CAUSE YOU’RE
THE BOY, THAT WE RENT
OUT TO OLD RENAULT.

Mohammed is in his thirties with a black moustache and wavy hair. He’s wearing a blue shirt over a black T-shirt and black trousers.

Mohammed sings AFTER SEVEN YEARS
OF WAR WE STILL ARE FRANCE’S
WHORE.

Kateb says WE'VE DECIDED TO ROOT OUR
ACTIONS IN THE WORKERS' WORLD.
FOR EXAMPLE, WE PERFORM
FOR WORKERS ABOVE ALL.
THAT'S THE AUDIENCE
WHICH IS OUR PUBLIC.
AND IT'S A MILITANT ONE.
THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE
INCREASINGLY CONSCIOUS
OF THEIR HISTORIC ROLE.
THE ALGERIAN WORKING
CLASS, WHILE ALGERIA
IS BEING BUILT, CANNOT
BE LEFT UNAWARE OF ITS
HISTORIC MISSION.
BUT IT IS BEING
DESTROYED BY IMMIGRATION.
IT IS BEING DESTROYED BY
MANY OTHER PHENOMENA.
IT IS BEING PRESSURED BY
PEOPLE WHO ARE AFRAID OF IT
BECAUSE IT IS THE
FORCE OF THE FUTURE.
OBVIOUSLY, THE WORKING CLASS
IS FEARED BY THE ENEMIES
OF THE REVOLUTION BECAUSE WHEN
WORKERS ALLY THEMSELVES
WITH ARTISTS; IT'S AT THAT
POINT THAT THOUGHT AND
ACTION CAN BE RECONCILED.

Speaking to Mohammed, an officer wearing a green robe says I’M HERE TO TELL
YOU HOW IT WORKS. WE BIGWIGS DO NOT
LIKE THESE JERKS.
JUST THE MONEY
THEY SEND HOME. WE EXPORT OIL,
BUT WE’LL EXPORT BRAINS AND BRAWN
AS WELL. IT EARNS A BUCK
AND THAT’S WHAT COUNTS!

Mohammed says EXCUSE ME MA’AM.

A Parisian says WHAT IS IT?

Mohammed says I’M AND AFRICAN AND
I’M LOST.

A Parisian says I DON’T GIVE A DAMN.

Mohammed says I DON’T GIVE A DAMN!
TO THINK I LEFT ALGERIA FOR THIS.

An actor wearing a tall hat says ALL THESE
LOAFERS AND THESE HICKS,
WE SELL THEM OFF JUST
LIKE GOLD BRICKS.
AND THAT IS WHY WE
CLOSE OUR EYES. HE’LL
SWEEP THEIR STREETS,
AND SLOP THEIR HOGS.
BUT WE DON’T CARE,
WE JUST SELL FLUNKIES TO
THE FROGS.

The caption changes to “Pierre Harvey. Economiste.”

Pierre Harvey sits by a pool. He’s in his forties, with a grayish beard and short hair. He’s wearing a blue turtleneck.

Pierre says THE ALGERIAN ECONOMY
EXPERIENCED A CONSIDERABLE
REGRESSION AFTER
INDEPENDENCE DUE TO THE LOSS
OF NEARLY ALL ITS
TRAINED PERSONNEL.
FORTUNATELY,
ALGERIA HAS OIL,
AND WITH THIS OIL BASE, SHE
CAN PURSUE A DEVELOPMENT
STRATEGY ALLOWING HER
TO DEVELOP RAPIDLY.
THIS RAPID DEVELOPMENT IS
SOMETHING FEW THIRD WORLD
COUNTRIES CAN HOPE FOR IN
THIS GENERATION OR THE NEXT.

The Narrator says IN SAIDA IN THE MOUNTAINS,
WOMEN WORKERS PARTICIPATE
IN THE MANAGEMENT OF
A TEXTILE FACTORY.
THEY TOLD US HOW THEY
ORGANIZED THEIR PLANT.

A young woman says TOMORROW IS THE FIRST
ANNIVERSARY OF OUR
SOCIALIST BEGINNINGS.
WE HAVE, BASICALLY, A
SOCIALIST MANAGEMENT.
THERE'S AN ASSEMBLY
OF WORKERS.
THERE'S 18 OF THEM
ELECTED BY THE MEMBERS.
THE ASSEMBLY THEN
CHOOSES NINE WORKERS
WHO ARE SPLIT
INTO FIVE GROUPS:
THE PERSONNEL AND
TRAINING COMMITTEE,
THE DISCIPLINE COMMITTEE,
THE ECONOMICS AND FINANCE
COMMITTEE, THE HEALTH
AND SAFETY COMMITTEE,
AND THE CULTURAL COMMITTEE.

Women wearing pink uniforms work with sewing machines and fold fabrics.

(music plays)
[singing in Arabic]

Men ride donkeys by a road.

The Narrator says ALGERIA POSES A NEW
QUESTION FOR THE WORLD:
IS IT POSSIBLE TO
FOLLOW NATIONALIST,
DEMOCRATIZING POLICIES
IN THE CONTEXT
OF A AUTHORITARIAN
SOCIALIST SYSTEM?
PERHAPS ALGERIA, HERSELF, HAS
AN ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION.
FOR US, ONE
THING IS CERTAIN,
ALGERIANS DISPLAY INCOMPARABLE
PRIDE AND DIGNITY.

A clips shows Fidel Castro greeting men.

The Narrator continues IN THIS RESPECT, ONE CAN
UNDERSTAND HOW THE MEN
AND WOMEN OF THIS COUNTRY
LIVE IN HARMONY
WITH THE NATION'S
COLLECTIVE CONSCIENCE.

Pierre says POLITICIZATION EXISTS.
IT MUSTN'T FALL OFF BECAUSE
IT IS SORT OF A MOTIVATING
FORCE FOR THE
INDIVIDUAL, THE CITIZEN.
AND THIS POLITICIZATION
DOESN'T EXIST FOR THE SAME
PURPOSES AS BEFORE.
BEFORE, IT WAS FOR
GAINING INDEPENDENCE,
TO HAVE OUR OWN NATION,
OUR FLAG, ET CETERA.
NOW, IT'S BUILDING
THE COUNTRY.
AND IF WE TALK
ABOUT A REVOLUTION,
IT'S BECAUSE THERE IS
STILL A REVOLUTION.
THERE IS THE AGRARIAN
REVOLUTION, FOR EXAMPLE.
THERE'S THE INDUSTRIAL
REVOLUTION,
THE CULTURAL REVOLUTION.
THERE ARE MANY
REVOLUTIONS.

Kateb says IT IS EVIDENT THAT
FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
IS SOMETHING WE
HAVEN'T ACQUIRED.
IT IS SOMETHING THAT
MUST BE FOUGHT FOR.
IT IS POINTLESS TO THINK
OF FREEDOM AS SOMETHING
GRANTED ONCE
AND FOR ALL.
IT'S AN ALL-OUT
STRUGGLE WHATEVER FORM
THE FIGHT TAKES.
LIBERTY CAN BE GAINED
ONLY AT THE PRICE OF
A NEVER-ENDING STRUGGLE.

The play continues.

An actor wearing blue jeans says HEY! MARCH WITH ME!
I’LL PAY YOU BETTER THAN THE FRENCH.
JUST SHOUT, ‘DOWN WITH THE
SOVIETS!’

An actor wearing a blue jacket says
DOWN WITH THE SERVIETTES!

The actor wearing blue jeans says
SOVIETS, NOT SERVIETTES.

The actor wearing a blue jacket says
DOWN WITH THE SERVIETTES!
PAY ME! I SHOUTED!

An actor with brown hair steals the suitcase the actor wearing blue jeans carried.

The actor with brown hair says THERE’S OUR LITTLE
BOURGEOIS. LIVING OFF HIS
MASTER’S LEFT OVERS.

Kateb says EVEN IN A SOCIALIST
SOCIETY, I'D SAY,
ESPECIALLY IN A
SOCIALIST SOCIETY,
PROBLEMS NEVER
CEASE, FAR FROM IT.
LIFE DOESN'T STOP.
FAR FROM DECREASING,
PROBLEMS MULTIPLY,
AND YOU MUSTN'T SEE THINGS
TOO ROSY IN AN ABSTRACT WAY.
PROBLEMS ARE NEVER
COMPLETELY SOLVED,
AND THERE IS ALWAYS
A TREND, LET'S SAY,
A TREND TOWARDS
CONFORMITY.
THERE HAS ALWAYS BEEN
THIS TREND IN ART,
NO MATTER WHAT
THE SITUATION.

Lots of clothes hang on an old honeycomb-style building.

Kateb continues
TRUE ARTISTS ARE ALWAYS
AGAINST THIS, INSTINCTIVELY.
EVEN IF THEY ARE NOT
POLITICIZED, MOST ARTISTS,
GENERALLY SPEAKING, ARE ON
THE SIDE OF THE PEOPLE.

A man says IN FACT, DEMOCRACY
EXISTS BECAUSE THINGS
ARE DISCUSSED AT THE
GRASSROOTS LEVEL.
AT THE LEVEL OF FLN CELLS WHERE
EVERYONE CAN PARTICIPATE,
EVEN IN THE MOST REMOTE
MOUNTAINS OR AMONG THE NOMADS.
THIS IS ESPECIALLY
TRUE IN THE COMMUNES.

A farmer wearing a moustache speaks a local dialect.

The Translator says HE'S FREE TO ACT.
HE'S FREE TO DO AND
SAY AS HE PLEASES.
AND WHAT'S IMPORTANT TO
HIM IS THAT NOW PEOPLE
ASK HIM HIS OPINION,
WHEREAS BEFORE,
NO ONE ASKED HIM EVER.
NOW, PEOPLE ASK HIM
TO ATTEND MEETINGS.
THEY ASK HIM WHAT DO YOU
THINK ABOUT TRYING THIS
OR THAT CROP ON
YOUR LAND?
THAT NEVER HAPPENED
BEFORE THE REVOLUTION.
AS THEY SAW THAT GRAPES
WEREN'T TOO PROFITABLE,
THEY DECIDED TO PLANT
THEMSELVES SOME FRUIT TREES.

The interviewer says WHO ARE THEY
WHO DECIDED?

The Translator says I MEAN, ACCORDING TO
MINISTERIAL DIRECTORS
FOLLOWING NATIONAL POLICY,
OF COURSE BECAUSE THAT
WAS DICTATED BY OUR NATIONAL
AGRICULTURAL POLICY,
THE COMMITTEE DECIDED TO
REPLACE THE GRAPEVINES
WITH FRUIT TREES.

The Interviewer says THE COUNCIL
MANAGES THIS FARM,
BUT HOW DOES IT WORK WITH
DISPOSITION OF PROFITS
AND DECISIONS OF
WHAT TO BUY?
WHEN THERE IS A
PROFIT, FOR EXAMPLE,
IS IT DISTRIBUTED
TO THE WORKERS,
OR DOES IT GO TO
THE GOVERNMENT?

Men wearing turbans throw seeds along a pathway.

The Translator says ANY PROFIT IS DIVIDED
INTO THREE PARTS:
ONE PART IS PUT ASIDE
FOR BUYING EQUIPMENT,
ANOTHER PART GOES
TO THE WORKERS,
AND THE THIRD PART IS
FOR THE SOCIAL FUND.

The caption changes to “Salah Merghoub. Doctor.”

Salah Merghoub sits in a garden. He’s in his forties, clean-shaven with receding black hair. He’s wearing a dark cardigan and a white shirt.

Salah says EMIGRATION HAS BEEN TERRIBLE
FOR THE ALGERIANS' IMAGE.
SOMETIMES YOU GET THE
IMPRESSION PEOPLE
HAVE IT IN FOR ALGERIANS.
THAT'S MY PERSONAL OPINION.
EVERYWHERE, THEY SAY,
AN ARAB, WHAT'S THAT?
ESPECIALLY AN ALGERIAN.
THAT'S WORSE THAN
ALL THE OTHER ARABS.
THAT'S THE FEELING
I ENCOUNTER
WHEN I AM IN EUROPE.
YOU TELL SOMEONE YOU'RE AN
ALGERIAN, AND RIGHT AWAY,
HE THINKS YOU'LL
GIVE HIM THE PLAGUE.

At the play, an actor says IT’S ME
THE NIGGER, THE ARAB.
WE COLOR EVERYTHING BLACK.

The actors sing I AM BLACK.
WE ARE ALL BLACK.
WE THINK BLACK.
WE SEE BLACK.
WE SPIT BLACK.

Kateb says YOU KNOW, RIGHT NOW FOR US,
JUST THE FACT OF BEING ON
OUR NATIONAL SOIL, BUILDING
A COUNTRY FROM SCRATCH
CAUSES A THOUSAND
PROBLEMS AT ONCE.
FOR EXAMPLE,
THERE, SEE?
WE'RE SPEAKING FRENCH.
YOU COME FROM CANADA, YOU'RE
IN NORTH AFRICA; SEEMINGLY,
THIS THREAD OF LANGUAGE
THAT BINDS YOU AND ME
WAS DESTINED TO
DIVIDE US.
FRENCH WAS IMPOSED HERE THE
BETTER TO DOMINATE OUR PEOPLE,
STRIP US OF OUR
PERSONALITY,
FRENCHIFY US IN THE WORSE
SENSE OF THE WORD.
WELL, THE FRENCH LANGUAGE
SURVIVED THIS MASSACRE.
NOW, IT ENABLES AN ALGERIAN
TO TALK WITH A CANADIAN
FROM QUEBEC ABOUT HIS OWN
NATIONAL INDEPENDENCE,
WHICH PROVES THAT A
LANGUAGE CAN'T BE USED
AGAINST A PEOPLE.
THERE IT IS, CULTURE,
POTENTIALLY USED AS A WEAPON.
BUT YOU SEE HOW A
WEAPON CAN BE USED
FOR THINGS IT WASN'T
INTENDED FOR.
The actor wearing a tall hat says IN
FRANCE EACH COMPANY
HAS ONE BOSS.
AND COPS TO GUARD THEIR
PLANTS FROM LOSS.

An actor wearing a long red robe says
IN ALGERIA WE’RE ONE
UP ON YOU.
NOT JUST ONE BOSS, BUT TWO.

An actor wearing a white robe says
NOW THAT’S PROGRESS!

The actor wearing a tall hat shakes hands with the actor wearing a red robe and with another one wearing a green gown.

The actor wearing a white robe sings in Arabic.

Pierre says I THINK THE MOST MARKED
SIMILARITY YOU'LL FIND
BETWEEN ALGERIA, AND
QUEBEC, FOR EXAMPLE,
IS THE EFFECT OF
ANCIENT TRAUMAS.
FOR ALGERIA, IT
WAS A COLONIZATION.
FOR QUEBEC, A CONQUEST,
WHICH MARKED
THEIR PERSONALITIES WITH A
RELUCTANCE TO TAKE RISKS,
WHICH RESULTED IN
PERSONALITIES WITH A CERTAIN
PROPENSITY FOR CONSERVATISM,
OR AT ANY RATE, WITHDRAWAL.
WHICH PROBABLY EXPLAINS,
FOR EXAMPLE, WHY QUEBEC,
FRENCH CANADIANS, WHATEVER
THEIR LEVEL OF EDUCATION,
WHATEVER THEIR
TECHNICAL COMPETENCE,
HAVE HAD RELATIVELY
LITTLE IMPACT
ON ECONOMIC
DECISION MAKING.
BUT I THINK THAT SORT OF
THING WILL BE RESOLVED
WHEN A FUTURE GENERATION
MAKES UP ITS MIND
TO BEGIN THE ADVENTURE.
WHEN THE ADVENTURE BEGINS,
IT BRINGS ABOUT A CHANGE
IN PERSONALITY.
AND PROBLEMS THAT APPEARED
INSOLVABLE WILL LATER ON
BE RESOLVED AUTOMATICALLY.

Fast clips show the industrial, agricultural and educational activity of the country.

The end credits roll.

Pierre concludes WHEN WE THINK OF
OUR QUEBEC FRIENDS,
THE YOUNG PEOPLE OF
QUEBEC, IN PARTICULAR,
WHEN WE THINK OF THESE
YOUNGSTERS WHO ARE ENGAGED
IN THE SAME KIND OF
STRUGGLE AS WE WERE...
WHEN WE THINK OF THESE
YOUNGSTERS WHO ARE HUMILIATED,
WHO ARE STIFLED TO THE
POINT OF AGGRESSION...
WE CAN'T HELP BEING
ONE WITH THEM.
WE ARE ONE WITH THEM.

(guitar music plays)

Executive Producer, John Labow.

Director, Karl Parent.

Office de la Telecommunication Educative d’ Ontario 1975.

Watch: Algeria: Conscience and Action