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  1. The movie The Battle of Algiers



    Analyze the movie The Battle of Algiers for what it says about violence in a colonial context    



Subject Literature Pages 2 Style APA


The Battle of Algiers


The film Battle of Algiers reinvents the events that engulfed French Algeria’s capital during the height of colonialism and the fight for independence. It is a depiction of violence between the guerilla insurgency and the French counter-insurgency. Although its viewership was initially censored, it provided an opportunity for the world to view colonialism’s uglier side. The film is a benchmark of depiction when it comes to understanding the negative impact of colonialism in Africa and the gross violation of humans through insurgency and counter-insurgency. In the film, the conflict that led to massive losses of lives started as a series of attacks by the FLN against the French forces, which escalated to trigger waves of terrorist attacks against civilians. However, the reaction from eh French Governor-General in deploying the French army in Algiers to counter the insurgence of FLN provided the most in terms of event culmination and creation of a humanitarian crisis.

The showcases a grueling experience for the Algerian civilians and the fact that colonialism considered violence commonplace. The horrific scenes in the film pitting the National Liberation Front of Algiers against the French authorities confirm the atrocities and violence tolerated during the colonial era. Contextually, each faction of the divides carried the responsibility of protecting civilians’ lives, but revenge missions without moral accountability to consequences engulfs. For the NLF, it was their moral mandate to fight for their country’s freedom and seize control from the French. As the scenes demonstrate, a significant number of French police officers are killed at the beginning of the independence movement. This yields one of the most controversial decisions in the history of movements. The chief of police plants a bomb in the Arab quarter, killing leading to the loss of innocent civilian lives.

In the film, the NFL’s counter-insurgency tactics and the French forces demonstrated impunity and disrespect to human lives. Perhaps, the counter bombings represented one of the reckless decisions in the insurgency and portrayed a lack of moral responsibility in both parties to protect and promote human rights. It demonstrates violence tolerance supported by both the French government and the NFL movements in the colonial era. The French use of extreme force to suppress the influence of the NFL reflects how the colonial masters were bent towards the use of violence to achieve their objectives.

The colonial period perhaps presents an era in the human race where violence and violation of human rights were considered commonplace. In the film, the opening scene shows a man presumably tortured by the French soldiers. On the main characters in the movie Col. Mathieu depicts a man full of ignorance regarding protecting civilian lives and human rights. The forms of violence are indomitable against the Algiers people extending to involve planned terror attacks in dwellings. Brutal tortures against the purported members of the NFL further affirms how violence in the context of colonialism was supported.

The scenes of tolerance of violence are not limited to the military and the subjection of people to torture, but it also involved French civilians attacking the Algiers. For instance, in one scene, French adults attack an Algerian child, demonstrating the extent of how violence was the order of the day. The views with reporters imploring about the use of forces to quell the resistance provide the benchmark of how the era was marred with violence and betrayal. The army offers affirmation of diplomacy in handling the situation, but the scenes afterward depict violence through brutal tortures of the Algerians. Similarly, the NFL approach to establish Algerians’ independence from the French draws how human society was construed to believe that violence was the only way to develop truce.

The Algerians regardless of whether they possessed moral justification to fight the independence too played crucial roles in escalating violence and forms of betrayal. It was a case of mistrust, and lack of faith in diplomacy as the unfolding of events in the film suggests. In the closing scene, the French army captain negotiates the NFL soldiers with the view of establishing a truce, but the resistance fighters send a basket with a bomb that injures a soldier. Contextually, the film the Battle of Algiers sends a strong message regarding the atrocities in society during the colonial period and the escalation of violence in the fight against independence. It paints a grueling image of the community construed to believe in violence over diplomacy and respect for human rights.


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