The month of Ramadan, Islam's month of fasting, has brought with it a brutal wave of killing in Algeria's civil war. Since January 10 more than 300 people have died, pushing the number of casualties past 60,000 since that country's civil war began in 1992. As the recent surge of violence brings Algeria to the headlines once again, it would be well for all nations to consider the lessons taught by this gruesome civil war.
After winning its independence from France in 1962, Algeria was ruled by a series of autocratic, socialist leaders who were the product of the military secular elite and were elected under Algeria's one-party system. The mid 1980's brought a drop in oil prices and the economic repercussions created civil unrest in Algeria. A significant portion of the general population turned to Islam as a solution for society's ills. As a response to the rioting and unrest, the country's leadership introduced a new constitution in 1989 that allowed limited political opposition for the first time since independence. Even though the new constitution was rigged in favor of the FLN [the ruling party], the rising tide of Islamic activism swept the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) to an overwhelming victory in municipal and provincial elections in 1990, and to a stunning first round victory over the FLN in the December, 1991 general elections. A vast majority of Algerians had embraced FIS doctrines and led that party to victory. The FIS fully intended to implement a government based on Islamic law.
With the prospect of Islamic fundamentalists in control of parliament after the second round of elections, the secular and military elite halted the electoral process and suspended parliament in January of 1992. It is important to note that:
"The new regime [established after the voided elections] calculated, and calculated correctly, that the repression of the FIS would ignite a wave of extremist fundamentalist violence which would alienate many Algerians and divide the Islamic movement. FIS and other Muslim extremists played right into the government hands and launched a campaign of terrorism which shocked the world and polarized the country." Arabnet - After Independence 1962-1995
Most of the world community had applauded Algeria's move toward multi-party democracy, that is, until it was evident that the FIS was poised for victory. It was not without subtle western support that the ruling secular, military elite voided the elections. In response, the FIS launched a campaign of protest against the regime and its supporters, a campaign noted for the ferocity of its bombings and assassinations. Since 1992, the tide of blood has continued to rise unabated in Algeria, bringing the state to its knees and causing many in the west to concede that an overthrow is inevitable.
On January 12, 1997, the Associated Press reported on a paper prepared by the Rand Corp., and commissioned by the U.S. Army. The report stated that strife in Algeria will not end until genuine elections are held involving "all significant political parties." Until it does, Algeria will remain "condemned to continuing widespread violence, paralysis and radicalization of its political forces." The study concludes that the current regime offers no solution to the crisis "except to hold onto power through force and hope for better times."
Algeria's ruling regime is made up of more than a few army officers. The oligarchy finds its support in Algerian secularists of all types including "journalists, academicians, intellectuals, military and government figures, artists and Islamic scholars out of sympathy with the fundamentalists views." (Arabnet). These and others have supported the regime in maintaining a hard line against the FIS which is supported by a majority of Algerians. In turn, the secularists have found themselves targets of fundamentalist bombings and assassinations.
Often the state-controlled media in Algeria reports these incidents as "acts of terrorism" and the perpetrators as "criminals". During one public funeral held for a slain union leader, one mourner was shown on state-run television shouting, "We will not give in to terrorism", as though a wave of terrorism from nowhere had suddenly engulfed the nation.
Even though the United States and Algeria may be as different as east and west, there are some similarities in the political landscape that merit our attention. The radicalization of political forces over abortion is one of the more striking examples. The rise of the militia movement and a distrust of the federal government in general also speaks volumes about political polarization in the U.S.
In typical western fashion the subverting of the American democratic process has been much more sophisticated than in Algeria. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt threatened the Supreme Court into accepting his interpretation of the "interstate commerce clause" of the U.S. Constitution, he effectively ended states' rights and began a new era of federal hegemony in which the Constitution has been interpreted to say whatever those in power want it to say. The high court has been packed with those whose views are in line with those of the western oligarchy, namely, views that are secular and humanistic. These black-robed dictators are then able to create new "rights" and federal laws by stretching constitutional interpretation to the furthest reaches of their imagination.
The secular elite in the U.S. is very much in favor of democracy, that is, until its agenda is crossed. It is then that it takes the will of the majority to one of its federal judges, as it did with California's affirmative action proposition, and has it over-turned. Abortion, affirmative action, school prayer, the teaching of evolution and forced busing are a few examples of the judiciary bypassing the will of the people in order to enforce the agenda of the ruling secular elite.
As the backlash against such measures gathered steam in the U.S., the federal government began prosecuting a war of repression against "fundamentalism", that is, the movement to return to the nation's spiritual roots as a remedy for social ills. Such repression may be seen in the tactics used at Waco and Ruby Ridge, as well as in the Federal Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) bill, and the "anti-terrorism" bill passed by Congress. These measures were taken with the active support and participation of the secular elite including "journalists, academicians, intellectuals, military and government figures, artists [and religious figures] out of sympathy with the fundamentalists' views." (As quoted above). The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Southern Poverty Law Center receive their funding from secular elitists and lobby the federal government on their behalf to increase the war of repression against fundamentalist elements, usually found in what these organizations describe as "right wing, extremist movements."
The anniversary of Roe v. Wade was marked by two abortion clinic bombings. While speaking to a pro-abortion crowd, Vice-President Al Gore demonstrated the secular elite's adeptness at confusing the issues with an emotional sound- bite. "We will punish you to the full extent of the law," he promised the clinic bombers. "We will not let you terrorize America's women or their doctors. We will not let you deface our Constitution." His comments were met with a roar of approval and were carried on the major wire services.
Like Algeria, the U.S. has become a plutocracy, and like Algeria, the U.S. Constitution has been rigged to favor the plutocrats who control the ruling parties. This has not been lost on an increasing number of the population. As disaffection becomes more prevalent, especially in what was known as the "working class", the secular regime responds with slogans and repression while side-stepping the issues entirely. As the political forces become more radicalized in this country, bombings and killing will also become more commonplace, and this nation's leaders will be inclined to label an increasing percentage of the population "terrorists" and "extremists" when in reality they are fighting their fellow countrymen in a civil war.
Although it is not inclined to do so, the secular elite in the U.S. should consider the abyss that Algeria has plunged into. It should consider the fruits of government treachery and repression, and seriously regard the mounting death toll that includes many Algerian politicians, journalists and academicians. This nation does not resemble Algeria in every aspect at present, but the policies of the two "regimes" are identical and will produce similar results in the end.
In the bombings and increased political violence of recent years, the U.S. is reaping the reward predicted in its own Rand Corp. report. The report states the truth that a repressive, oligarchic regime is "condemned to continuing widespread violence, paralysis and radicalization of its political forces." As with the Algerian regime, the American regime is now offering no real solution to the crisis "except to hold onto power through force and hope for better times."
The inevitable collapse of the present Algerian government will only spell the end of a country that has turned in on itself. The parties involved in the conflict are bent on revenge and the cycle of violence will continue as long as someone is keeping score.
The U.S. will fare no better should its fundamentalists succeed one day in throwing off the yoke of their oppressors. The wisdom, character, refinement and spiritual sensibilities of this nation's founding fathers do not exist among many of today's so-called "patriots", as well as the essential room to expand westward. Suspicion and envy are not key elements with which to build a new republic, and times will be miserable, indeed, with revolt prevailing among the various classes and races of Americans.
"And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time." Daniel 12:1.
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