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The Memory of the Civil War in Algeria: Lessons from the Past with Reference to the Algerian Hirak

Faouzia Zeraoulia


The Algerian Civil War during the 1990s is considered to be one of the violent wars in the Arab world. For one decade, isolated from the international community, the country and its civilians suffered from extremism, radicalism, torture, and assassinations. Today, it is arguable that the memory of the Algerian Civil War played a pivotal role in producing the legitimacy of the political system and framing the citizens’ perceptions of the postwar regime before the current manifestations. Nevertheless, no field research has explored how that memory is represented and recalled by the people. Through analyzing the public narrative, surveying and examining the public platforms, and conversations dealing with the past civil war in Algeria, this article seeks to demonstrate how that violent past is remembered in the public arena, the emotions that have been accumulated from such experience and the lessons that have been learned by the people. In doing so, we use many examples from the Algerian manifestations after 22 February 2019, or what is called “the Algerian Hirak.”

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pp. 25–53

Keywords: Fear, impunity, civil war, national reconciliation, trauma, Algeria