Algeria – What Price Freedom?


Colonised by the Romans, by the Turks, by the French; invaded, pillaged and raped times without number – this is the history of Algeria.




narrated by jacques fauteux

written by judith jasmin

produced and directed by marcel blouin


Colonised by the Romans, by the Turks, by the French; invaded, pillaged and raped times without number – this is the history of Algeria. When independence finally made Algeria a nation in 1962 after seven years of bloody rebellion against French colonial rule, it was a bleak place.

More than a million Algerians had died. Tens of thousands were orphaned. Most of the administrators, doctors, nurses, teachers and technicians gone. The whole country exhausted and bankrupt. These are part of a bill not yet fully paid.

Is Algeria prepared for the heavy sacrifices still to be made in peace? Do the peoples of Algeria yet form one nation? What road will it take under its leader, Ben Bella?


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The human debris of the Algerian war drifts on.


As a prelude to this presentation of the situation in newly independent Algeria the programme begins with a brief reminder of the principal events of the Algerian war.

The programme then points out that the country is not yet completely organised and financed, and must depend on the goodwill and enthusiasm of its people. They are shown giving their meagre personal riches to the National Solidarity Fund and participating in reafforestation projects to bring the land back to life. The Government has begun an agricultural reform programme which was promised during the war years, and management committees have been formed on the nationalised farms which previously belonged to the French.

We see that Algeria’s greatest source of faith lies in the youth of the nation, including the thousands of orphans for whom the Government has provided ideal living conditions.

The team which prepared this programme took up residence in Mostagenem, and mixed with its people, thus making possible a close study of life in this typical Algerian city.

Filming in the desert


At all levels of its national life, newly independent Algeria is on the move, striving to bolster its economy and strengthen its administrative structure. What are the first steps in this march to the future? And what are the difficulties being encountered by the leaders of this developing nation?

The programme points out that it was a bleak peace that returned to Algeria in 1962, following seven years of bloody rebellion against French colonial rule. Although the Algerians had won their independence, more than a million of their countrymen had lost their lives, and 800,000 Europeans, mostly professionals and administrators, had quit the country. The state coffers were empty and the banks insolvent.

Today, however, the camera team found that there’s a spirit of enthusiasm in the country. Although money, machinery and technicians are still scarce, there’s hope that the new-found pride of the average Algerian can help restore the economy of the country.

An example of this was filmed for the programme when President Mohammed Ben Bella announced the establishment of a voluntary fund to aid the Government. Thousands of Algerians rushed to fund headquarters to donate their hard-earned wages, family heirlooms and even wedding rings.

This programme is one of a series produced for Intertel, the International Television Federation, to create international understanding through television. It was produced and directed by Marcel Blouin and written by Judith Jasmin.

A cameraman captures the atmosphere of a market in Mostagenem.


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