OPEN LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE ALGERIAN REPUBLIC
OPEN LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE ALGERIAN REPUBLIC*
The cycle of intimidation, brutality, and mass murder of Algerian civilians, which has endured already for ten years, must be brought to an end and the perpetrators brought to justice.
Habib Souaidia’s book, The Dirty War, provides the world with serious and substantial first-hand evidence of the Algerian army’s direct involvement in and responsibility for at least some of the horrendous crimes committed against innocent Algerian citizens, among whom were defenseless babies, children, pregnant women, teens and elderly people. Mr. Souaidia, himself a former lieutenant in the Algerian army’s Special Forces, describes at great length the routine torture, abduction and random killing carried out by army officers, and details the times, dates, places of atrocities and the names of perpetrators from the lowest to the highest ranking officers in the military hierarchy.
This evidence constitutes a credible basis for demanding that the Algerian armed forces be held to account for their actions during the past ten years of conflict. At present neither the state Executive, nor the Legislative body, nor the compromised national press, can legitimately pronounce on the veracity of the allegations made against the army. For these reasons, it is incumbent that an independent inquiry be launched to investigate the crimes so meticulously documented in Souaidia’s book.
In the interests of truth and justice, we the undersigned, Algerian citizens, and friends and supporters of Algeria concerned for the safety and well-being of the Algerian people, call for the immediate convocation of an independent and credible commission of inquiry to investigate the massacres and to pronounce on the serious allegations made against the Algerian army.
Mr. President, as the Republic’s highest Magistrate, you have the authority and the obligation to ensure that respect for the rule of law governs the conduct of all Algerian citizens, especially those citizens entrusted with the power and responsibility of guaranteeing peace, order and security for all. The importance of an independent commission of inquiry cannot be overstated. It is vital to the future of Algeria and its people. Algerians throughout the world, as well as the entire international community, must be assured that crimes are not committed with impunity in Algeria. They must be assured that justice for and in the name of the Algerian people will prevail.
April 25, 2001
First English-version signatures (in alphabetical order):
Karim Boughida, Information Architect (Los Angeles, California, USA)
Ahmed Bouzid, Software Engineer and President of Algeria Watch International (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)
Benjamin C. Brower, Ph.D. Candidate (Cornell University, New York, USA)
Jocelyne Cesari, Visiting Professor at Columbia University (New York, USA) and Senior Research Fellow, National Center for Scientific Research, University of Political Science (Aix-en-Provence, France)
Noam Chomsky, University Professor, MIT (Boston, Massachusetts, USA)
Allan Christelow, University Professor, Idaho State University (Pocatello, Idaho, USA)
Rachida Djebel, Technical Writer (Windsor Mill, Maryland, USA)
Benjamin Djerroud, University Professor (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
John Entelis, University Professor, Fordham University (New York, USA)
John Esposito, University Professor, Georgetown University (Washington, D.C., USA)
Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban, University Professor Rhode Island College (Providence, Rhode Island, USA)
Dalila Fridi, Computer Analyst (Chicago, Illinois, USA)
Lise Garon, University Professor, Laval University (Quebec, PQ, Canada)
Ali Haouchine, Political Scientist (Montreal, PQ, Canada)
Ali Houissa, Information Specialist, Cornell University (Ithaca, New York, USA)
Michael Humphrey, University Professor, University of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia)
Ramin Jahanbegloo, University Professor and writer-researcher, University of Toronto (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
Ricardo Rene Laremont, Associate Director, Institute of Global Cultural Studies University Professor, Binghamton University (Binghamton, New York, USA)
Blanca Madani, Activist, researcher, and founder-President of World Algeria Action Coalition (Washington, D.C., USA)
Myriam Nia, Researcher (San Francisco, CA, USA)
Amar Ouerdane, Political Scientist (Montreal, PQ, Canada)
John Ruedy, University Professor, Georgetown University (Washington, D.C., USA)
Myriem F. Saddok, Marketing Specialist (San Diego California, USA)
Rod Skilbeck, Researcher (Melbourne, Australia)
Tarik M. Yousef, University Professor, Georgetown University (Washington, D.C., USA)
11 new signatures between 27 and 29 April 2001:
Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (Jerusalem) and Secretary General of the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (Jerusalem)
Normand Baillargeon, Professeur d’Universite, Universite du Quebec a Montreal (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)
Steven Fine, Accountant (Bowie, Maryland, USA)
Clement M. Henry, University Professor of Government, Department of Government, University of Texas at Austin (Austin, Texas, USA)
Edward S. Herman, Author, University Professor Emeritus, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)
Faouzi Houha, Enseignant (teacher) (Kitchener, Ontario, Canada)
Abdelkader Madani, Algerian (Washington, D.C., USA)
David A. McMurray, University Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Oregon State University (Corvallis, Oregon, USA)
Youcef Nedjadi, Physicist, Oxford University (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Joseph Raso, Ph.D. Candidate, Macquarie University (Sydney, Australia)
Danny Schechter, Writer and executive producer, Globalvision, Media Channel New York (New York, USA)
First original (French)-version signatures:
El-Hadi Chalabi (jurist)
Khaled Satour (jurist)
Mohammed Harbi (historian)
Fatiha Talahite (economist)
Majid Benchikh (university professor)
Mourad Bourboune (writer)
Lahouari Addi (sociologist)
Salima Mellah (journalist).
* Text proposed for signature. To add your signature above, please copy and paste the above petition, sign your name, add title, and e-mail to: [email protected]
The above petition is also posted at Middle East News Online
N.B. In no way does this open letter contradict the assertion of the right to the commission of an independent and impartial investigation expressed in the open letter addressed to the French government and published in Le Monde February 9, 2001.