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A course on terrorism should be core to a criminal justice degree.

Battle of Algiers

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According to Lieutenant Command Youssef Aboul-Enein, MSC, USN,  "Italian director Gillo Pontecorvos 1966 movie The Battle of Algiers, an intimate look at urban insurgency, is finding new a audience these days as coalition forces deal with the militant Islamic insurgency in Iraq. Viewers must understand, however, that, whereas US and coalition forces in Iraq are working to empower the Iraqi people to take control of their country and respect its ethnic and religious differences, from 1954 to 1962 Paris sought to make Algeria part of metropolitan France. A close examination of the insurgency of the late 1950s that resulted in Algerias independence in 1962, the movie is based on the book by Saadi Yacef, an Algerian revolutionary turned filmmaker. In this dramatization, banned in France upon its release, actors convey the tactics of the urban insurgency that caused instability and attacked French authority in Algiers; they also impart the dilemma of French troops unable to distinguish rebels from the populace at large.

In the film, Lieutenant Colonel Mathieu, a French paratroop commander, comments that military work is secondary; more immediate is the police work involved. . . . It indicates the kind of work we must do. We then see female Algerian members of the National Liberation Front (FLN) dressed in European clothing reacting to such efforts by depositing a bomb in a café. Determined to sow chaos in Algiers, members of the FLN randomly spray machine-gun fire and plan the assassination of a French policeman walking his beat in the Kasbah. Viewers also witness the corrosive effect of the French applying torture and gain understanding of the kinds of things urban warfare does to regular army soldiers attempting to bring order to a population that resents and hates them. As Colonel Mathieu put it, France wills us to be here and therefore because of this will, she must accept the consequences of this decision.

I highly recommended The Battle of Algiers for US forces going to Afghanistan or Iraq and as a starting point for a debate on civil-military affairs, urban warfare, or Middle Eastern affairs."

This is the "extra unit" part of the CJM 304 The Role of Terrorism in Criminal Justice.  Obtain a copy of the movie, The Battle of Algiers.  You may find it at your local library, many universities libraries, or you can click on the image above and be taken to Amazon. com.  After you view the movie, prepare a 3-5 page reaction paper.  A few questions you might ask yourself: What are the similarities between that conflict and current world events?  What are the differences?  How has what you have learned in this course apply to the movie?  How are the events in this movie applicable to domestic law enforcement?  How is the movie applicable to military personnel? 

A few Links to see what others have said:

A Diplomatic Revolution: Algeria's Fight for Independence and the Origins of the Post-Cold War Era, by Matthew Connelly Strategic Insights, Volume III, Issue 2 (February 2004)

A Consequentialist Argument against Torture Interrogation of Terrorists, Jean Maria Arrigo, Ph.D.


Due Dates Fall 2007 Go To
Semester Session I Session II  
January 2 January 2 February 25 Semester/Session Begins
January 31 January 11 March 7 Module One (Defining Terrorism)
February 22 January 25 March 21 Module Two (Modus Operandi of Terrorists)
March 21 February 8 April 4 Module Three (Response to Terrorism)
April 14 February 21 April 17 Module Four (Emerging Trends)
April 19 February 23 April 19 Semester/Session Ends

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