October 23, 2016

Movies as Political Propaganda: The Battle of Algiers, Part I

In The Battle of Algiers (1966) the Islamic terrorists are viewed as heroic freedom fighters. The truth is they were a bunch of IslamoNazi mass murderers.
In The Battle of Algiers (1966) Islamic terrorists are viewed as heroic freedom fighters. The truth is they were a bunch of IslamoNazi mass murderers.

by Robert J. Avrech

Movies are the most powerful tools of social and political propaganda the world has ever known. Consider: America wins wars only when Hollywood supports the conflict and puts itself squarely behind America’s efforts. During World War II, every studio in Hollywood backed the Allied effort against the Axis. Hollywood stars enlisted for active duty, raised money for war bonds, and the studios produced films that went all out for freedom and liberty against the tyranny of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Hollywood played a huge role in America’s victory.

Contrast Vietnam. Hollywood, overwhelmingly anti-war, produced a series of movies that undermined the American effort against the spread of communism in Southeast Asia. Hollywood knew that with a few clever, glossy films (most notably “Coming Home” (’78), starring Jane Fonda and Jon Voight) and their carefully-manufactured anti-war narratives, it could undermine American foreign policy and turn heroic GIs into psychotic baby-killers. America lost Vietnam.

In our times, Hollywood produced several high profile movies that argued against America’s military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not one of the films was profitable, but the damage was done. America withdrew from both fronts. IslamoNazis filled the vacuum — and Hollywood will never take notice or assume any responsibility for the chaos and mass murder it helped to create.

Fade In:

Intertitle: Movies Are a Moral Landscape

The Battle of Algiers, (1965) directed by Gillo Pontecorvo, a perennial favorite on college campuses, is hailed as a modern classic. Certainly the skillful use of black & white cinema verite is highly effective, making the viewer feel as if he’s been plunged into the heart of the Algerian maelstrom. The scenes of torture and terror are stomach churning. The score, by the great Ennio Morricone with some input by the director, is one of the most rousing and effective in film history. The film cleverly gives the impression of giving a balanced view of the conflict, with a particularly poignant scene where a cafe filled with French Algerians is bombed. But  let’s be clear, the film is a work of leftist propaganda that seamlessly justifies Islamic terror by proposing that the French were so brutal that the Algerians had no choice but to resort to unrestrained terror.

Director Gillo Pontecorvo was an assimilated Italian Jew from a wealthy family. But like so many secular Jews, he was drawn to the fanatic cult of Communism. Das Kapital in place of Torah. The Battle of Algiers is Pontecorvo’s penultimate work of cinematic propaganda. 

Let’s examine the real Battle of Algiers, free from the romantic imagery presented by Pontecorvo where Islamic terrorists are accorded heroic and mythic status. In truth, they were a bunch of sharia-spouting thugs, oppressors of women, and, of course, virulent Jew haters. In short: bloodthirsty IslamoNazis.

The finest source for the history of the Algerian conflict is A Savage War of Peace, Algeria, 1954-1962 by Alistair Horne.

It is the definitive account of one of the dirtiest colonial war of the 20th century. We tend to think of the French as a bunch of cowards and collaborators, their tanks welded into reverse gear. But in Algeria the French were, at first, determined and unbelievably ferocious. Once the Algerians revolted, the French army and especially the French Foreign Legionwhose ranks included numerous German POW volunteers, plus several Nazi war criminals escaping persecution—followed a scorched earth policy.

In 1954, the Legion was deployed from Indochina to Algeria. The shock and humiliation of the defeat at Dien Bien Phu was fresh in the minds of the proud Legionnaires and they were determined to erase that shameful episode. But the Legion were not the only troops ready to sacrifice and claim victory. As Horne writes:

“…the [French] army, incorporating Sengalese units legendary for their ferocity, subjected suspected Muslim villages to systematic ratissage–literally a ‘raking over’, a time-honored word for pacifying operations. This involved a number of summary executions. Of the less accessible mechtas, or Muslim villages, more than forty were bombed by Douglas dive-bombers…”

And this was just the opening salvo of the battle. It got worse. Much worse. The level of ferocity, on both sides, almost unimaginable.

Interpolation: Because Yours Truly Sees Connections Between Past & Present

The Palestinians are a lucky people because their enemies are Jews. Any other foe, especially other Arabs, would have wiped them off the face of the earth a long time ago.

In February 1982 the Syrian regime, feeling threatened by opponents of the Assad family  and the Alawite minority to which the Assad clan belongs, committed a massacre of over 25,000 men, women and children in the town of Hama, where opposition was centered. Scores of young girls were gang-raped by the Syrian soldiers and then shot in the public bathroom ‘Hamam Alsadia.’ The current slaughter in the state formerly known as Syria can be seen as continuation of Hama with Iran and Russia throwing in to protect Assad. 

 If Israel is foolish enough to surrender Judea and Samaria to the Palestinians, as she did with Gaza, then Jordan will have to square off against ISIS, Hamas, Hizbullah, Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and thanks to Obama and the Democrat party, a nuclear capable Iran. These and other sharia-yearning barbarians will rush into the vacuum. The IslamoNazis will certainly move to overthrow the detested Hashemite Kingdom. For some Arabs, this will be payback for the 1970 Black September.

If that happens, buckle up for some old fashioned blood-letting. You can bet that the Jordanians will not use targeted assassinations like the Israelis.There will be mountains of Arab Muslim corpses choking the River Jordan. Or the conflict will spell the end of the Jordanian state—Trans-Jordan was created by Winston Churchill—and you can just say, “Howdy” to a completely insane Iranian proxy.

End Interpolation

The leaders of the Algerian revolt kept telling their cadres to have patience. Democracies, they lectured, cannot endure long wars. Democracies have a built-in weakness: elections. And wars are bad for elections. Democracies demand immediate results.

“We can hang on forever,” Ahmed Ben Bella explained to his men, “we can fight and fight, whereas democracies like France have to go to their citizens and explain why their men are dying. And sooner or later, they will grow sick of it. Democracies are inherently weak for they have no patience.”

This theme rises again and again in Horne’s invaluable book, and though the French fought in Algeria for eight long and bloody years, Ben Bella was right. In fact, the Battle of Algiers almost brought revolution to the streets of France, and mutiny in the French army.


The Algerian insurgents were, at the beginning, a mix of westernized intellectuals and Muslim fundamentalists, but soon enough the Islamic jihadists took control. Simply put, they were merciless, willing to commit the kind of atrocities that placed them in the vanguard.

It is vital to understand that what is going on in Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Kenya, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sweden, France, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, England, Israel and now America, is part of an old and reliable guerrilla playbook. If you don’t understand Islamic terror and it’s parallel political stages (which includes mass migration) then you are fated to be crushed beneath the wheels of the Islamic fascists. There is nothing improvised or accidental about the daily homicides by IslamoNazis across the globe. It is a carefully constructed Islamist tactic pioneered and made holy by Muhammed, Islam’s founder, that is part of a grand strategy aimed at the soft heart of non Muslim societies.

Algiers is where the IslamoNazis first perfected terror.

The strategy for modern terrorism was defined by the Brazilian guerrilla leader, Carlos Marighela, before he was hunted down and killed:

“It is necessary to turn political crisis into armed conflict by performing violent actions that will force those in power to transform the political situation of the country into a military situation. That will alienate the masses, who, from then on, will revolt against the army and the police and blame them for this state of things.”

Marighela’s philosophy is simple and effective: using terrorism will inevitably provoke the forces of law and order to strike back with overwhelming force and repression thereby alienating the hitherto uncommitted native population. The idea is to polarize the situation into two extreme camps and make impossible any dialogue of compromise by eradicating the soft center.

Wrote Marighela:

“The government can only intensify its repression thus making the life of its citizens harder than ever… The population will refuse to collaborate with the authorities, so that the latter will find the only solution to their problems lies in having recourse to the actual physical liquidation of their opponents. The political situation of the country will become a military situation…”

It was along this simple but effective doctrine that the Algerians started their war against civilians—without mercy.

The opening attack came in a small hot place called Philippeville.

French-Algerian children massacred at Phillippeville by IslamoNazis.
French-Algerian children massacred by IslamoNazis at Philippeville, 1955.

Establishing Shot:

Philippeville was a small mining center of about 130 French Algerians, the pieds-noirs and about 2,000 Muslims, who for years had coexisted amicably. Apparently, labor relations were extremely good with a rare degree of equality and cooperation between Muslim and European.

It appears that the whole Muslim community was aware of what was about to happen on August 20, 1955. A number of Muslim families even left town in advance of the coming massacre.

But no one warned the French Algerians.


Shortly before noon, four groups of fifteen to twenty Muslim men attacked the village, taking it completely by surprise. They were led by Muslim mineworkers who knew each house and their neighbors. Intimately.

Telegraph lines were cut, the emergency radio transmitter was found to be “out of order” and the village constable who was equipped with warning rockets had “disappeared.”

The Muslim attackers went from house to house, slaughtering all the European occupants: men, women, children, and infants. All the time egged on by Muslim women with their eerie ululations. From the Mosque came exhortations to slit the throats of women and their nurses in the cause of jihad.

It was not until two o’clock in the afternoon that a French Para unit managed to reach the town. An appalling sight greeted them. In houses literally washed with blood, European mothers were discovered with their throats slit and their bellies slashed open by billhooks. Children had suffered the same fate. Infants had had their brains dashed against the wall. A young mother was disemboweled, her five-day old baby slashed to death and replaced in her open womb.

Four entire families had been wiped out to the last member; only six who had barricaded themselves in a house in the center of the village and had held out with sporting rifles and revolvers had survived.

Men returning from the mines had been ambushed in their cars and hacked to pieces. Altogether thirty-seven Europeans had died, including ten children under fifteen, and another thirteen had been left for dead.

Not surprisingly, Pontecorvo did not include the Philippeville massacre in his film. Dramatically, it would have shredded his carefully constructed thesis.

According to Horne, the reaction of the French army was immediate. Out in the streets they found:

“…bodies literally strewed the town. The Arab children, wild with enthusiasm–to them it was a great holiday–rushed about yelling among the grown-ups. They finished off the dying. In one alley we found two of them kicking in an old woman’s head. We had to kill them on the spot: they were crazed…”

The reprisals were severe. The Algerians claim that as many as 12,000 were killed by the French. The French claim, 1,273. We will never know the truth.

But the Philippeville Massacre had its intended impact. The polarizing effect of which Marighela spoke immediately took place. The Battle of Algiers went on for eight long bloody years. The brutality on both sides was unspeakable for there was a burning river of blood between the French and the Algerians after Philippeville.

Next Week, Part II, The Jews of Algeria


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