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.
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).
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.