The White Book on Repression in Algeria

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Date: 1995

Region: Europe

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Literature


Artist: Algerian Committee of Free Fighters for Human Dignity and Human Rights

Confronting Bodies: Jean-Loius Debré, the French minister of the interior

Date of Action: 1995

Location: France

Description of Artwork: The White Book on Oppression in Algeria tries to explain the Algerian Civil war that started in 1992. During the 90's, it was very difficult to get information about the conflict and the only available explanation came from the Algerian government. This book, written by rebels, gives details of the Algerian government killings and torture from the years 1991 to 1994.

The Incident: The book was published in Switzerland and was to be distributed in France, but the shipments were stopped at French boarders by officials. Jean-Loius Debré, the minister of the interior, stated that the book could not be distributed on the grounds that France could not officially take sides in the conflict. (In fact, the government secretly supported the Algerian government). Debré was also worried that the book's anti-French tone would lead the country's north-African immigrant population to violent acts.

Results of Incident: French publishers protested the ban, but it was not lifted. The Swiss publisher, Hoggar, published the book on its website due to popular demand.

Source: Censorship: A World Encyclopedia. Ed. Derek Jones. Chicago; London: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001.