Algériennes: The Forgotten Women of the Algerian Revolution

Swann Meralli and Deloupy, trans. from the French by Ivanka Hahnenberger. Penn State Univ, $24.95 (120p) ISBN 978-0-2710-8623-1
Meralli and Deloupy offer a thought-provoking look into the dangers and risks women endured during the Algerian War of Independence and its aftermath. Beatrice, a French woman whose reticent father fought in the conflict, decides in the present day to dig up its buried history. She interviews Saïda, an Algerian immigrant who escaped the war-torn country when she was young, only to be confined in a French concentration camp. Now a grandmother, Saïda asks, “If you go to Algeria, could you bring back a picture of my house?” Beatrice takes on the quest. At the Martyr’s Memorial in Algiers, she meets Djamila, who tells her, “You won’t find the real Mujahidates here,” relaying harrowing tales of serving in the resistance and her torture upon capture. Beatrice travels to the countryside seeking Saïda’s home and encounters Bernadette, a French woman who refused to leave Algeria after the war, choosing neither “the suitcase nor the coffin.” With dry-brush ink textures and sepia-tinged colors, the handsome art portrays brutalities and moments of personal triumph. Each woman brings a distinct and humanizing perspective—though the frame of a white woman gaining enlightenment through encountering the pain of colonized women of color is hackneyed at best. This complicated examination of colonialism is well worth unpacking. (May)
Reviewed on : 03/12/2020
Release date: 05/01/2020
Genre: Comics
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