Today December 11, 2007, Algiers was devastated by two bomb blasts. The first reports claim 26 dead and 177 wounded. According to press reports, Al Qaeda in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb has claimed responsibility for these attacks.
After a decade of murder and terror in the nineties that made 200 000 victims, the Algerian people are exhausted.
Yet this new escalation in violence is no surprise to us. In spite - or because - of the blanket amnesty officially labeled a ’reconciliation’ policy - i.e. an overall presidential pardon granted without even establishing facts and responsibilities -, Islamic armed groups never surrendered arms, and ’pardoned’ perpetrators paraded in villages, threatening their opponents and the survivors of their atrocities again, forbidding music, controlling ’morality’ and imposing gender apartheid.
For a long time, in Algeria as well as in other Muslim countries, European and North American governments led by their interest in gas entertained the most ambiguous relations with the extreme right political forces working under the cover of Islam.
But for a long time too, the vast majority of progressive parties and organizations in Europe and North America, as well as progressives in Asia and Africa and the anti globalization movement, refused to distance themselves from these same extreme right forces, under the pretext of defending the rights of the oppressed.
We are numerous, in Algeria as well as in other Muslim countries and in the North African diaspora, to oppose the theocratic project of Islamic armed groups ( i.e. the law of God as interpreted by extreme right religious forces), and to stand for a secular republic ( i.e. the laws of the people that can be changed by the will and vote of the people). But we fought this battle virtually without support from those in the international community who should have been our allies.
On the eve of yet another battle against theocratic extreme right Islamic armed groups in Algeria, we call on citizens’ organizations, progressive parties and unions, human rights groups and all concerned citizens in Europe and beyond, to extend direct immediate and sustained political support to all progressive forces, parties, unions, people’s organizations, and women’s organizations working for a secular republic in Algeria.
Reach out to these forces, network with them, exchange with them. They/we need support and visibility.
It is an illusion to think that this theocratic project will stop at your borders. Supporting those who are on the front line ultimately serves the interest of democratic freedom in the world.
SIAWI, Secularism Is A Women’s Issue ( siawi.org)
Marieme Helie Lucas, fondatrice RÃ©seau international WLUML, coordinatrice SIAWI, Montpellier
Hakim Arabdiou, Paris
Selim Ducos, Paris
Lalia Ducos, militante associative dÃ©fenseur des droits humains, Paris
Cherifa Kheddar, prÃ©sidente Djazairouna, Blida
Amir Rezzoug, photographe, Marseille
Saleha Larab, journaliste, Alger
Samia Allalou, journaliste, Paris
Mohamed Ali Allalou, animateur radio, Paris
Aziz Smati, rÃ©alisateur, Paris
Karima Bennoune, Associate Professor Rutgers School of Law, Newark
Malika Zouba, journaliste, Paris
Mohamed Sifaoui, journaliste, Paris
Asma Guenifi, psychologue, Paris