Changing Attitudes of Ferhat Abbas



Ferhat Abbas believed in the peaceful solution and that the French are willing to co-operate with the Algerians. With this co-operation, he thought, it was possible for all to live together. He was brought up and thought to believe in democracy and parliament, to look for these in a peaceful fashion and that the people have to be asked what to do with their country and not to be terrorised to be convinced differently. However in the 1950\'s we can see a clear change, a turn in his thoughts. He accepts more violent ways in order to gain what he believes in.
In order to explain the change in attitudes of Ferhat Abbas it is important that we first look at his background. In 1899 Ferhat Abbas was born. He had, like many others, received entirely French education at Constantine and at the University of Algiers. After finishing his studies he had served the French Army for two year after which he founded a pharmacist shop in Setif. There he also founded a student union which was a start of his political career. Soon he was accepted into the city Council where he fought for the emancipation of Algerians from the French. In 1938 Abbas founded the Union Populaire Algérienne which peacefully fought for the equal rights of Algerians and French. Believing in the possible co-operation of French and Algerians he had, fought alongside the French.

Political Career

During the war Abbas still continues his work towards the equality. In 1943 he wrote the \'Manifesto of the Algerian People\' which was than proclaimed and several times sent to the French authorities.
"The French colony only admits equality with Muslim Algeria on one level; sacrifice on the battlefields." This manifesto represented some very revolutionary ideas and proposed the equality of rights and "immediate and effective participation." Also in this manifesto Abbas continuously condemns the French oppressive colonialism and even asks for the self- determination of the whole population as a different culture. Soon afterward he wrote an addition to the manifesto in which he sees the Algeria as the country separate from France. In the book \'A Savage War of Peace\' his attitude is described as following:
"Of pacific temperament, although he was a skilful debater, he was no rabble-
rouser..."(Horne,1979, p.40).

The A.M.L

On its rejection by the French governor general, Ferhat Abbas and an Algerian working-class leader, Messali Hadj, formed the Amis du Manifeste et de la Liberté (A.M.L. ; Friends of the Manifesto and Liberty), which envisioned an Algerian autonomous republic federated to a renewed, anti-colonial France. This party saw that the Algeria should be decolonised and that the French should leave the ruling to the Algerian people. Mesaslli was a trouble maker and believed in constant activity of the party in order to gain attention needed. The activity mostly was in the form of open speeches and leaflets. It did gain lot of support but also attracted the attention of the French. Soon the French dealt with the A.M.L. The ideas were to rebellious for the authorities to overlook. Abbas was imprisoned for a year. In the prison he meets other politicians with the similar ideas like himself. Also when Abbas was thrown to prison his party, the A.M.L., was abolished.

The U.D.M.A

In 1946, after a year of imprisonment Ferhat Abbas founded the Union Démocratique du Manifeste Algérien (U.D.M.A. ; Democratic Union of the Algerian Manifesto), which advocated co-operation with France in the formation of the Algerian state. This union has many times tried to propose the agreement with the French whereby the power could be shared. On one meeting he said:
"It is a hundred and sixteen years that we have been waiting this moments, that is to say the opportunity of being here and making ourselves heard among you....Therefore, have patience, I ask and beg of you...We are but a very small minority. Be generous...!"
(Horne, 1979, p.73).
Again the propositions were rejected. Ferhat Abbas tried further to perceive his views in his peaceful and democratic fashion only to be ignored again. The best proof of his belief into the French is his speech to the Assembly, and the French, in 1954:

Ferhat joins F.L.N.

Abbas\' moderate and conciliatory attempts failed to evoke a sympathetic response from