Ali La Pointe

Ali Ammar (Arabic: علي عمار‎; 14 May 1930 – 8 October 1957), better known by his nickname Ali la Pointe, was an Algerian revolutionary fighter and guerrilla leader of the National Liberation Front who fought for Algerian independence against the French colonial regime, during the Battle of Algiers.

Ali Ammar
Ali la pointe.jpg
Born(1930-05-14)14 May 1930
Died8 October 1957(1957-10-08) (aged 27)
Other namesAli la Pointe
OccupationFreedom Fighter
OrganizationArmée de libération nationale (ALN)
Known forBattle of Algiers
MovementFront de libération nationale (FLN)

Ali lived a life of petty crime and was serving a two-year prison sentence when the Algerian war (1954 to 1962) began. Recruited in the notorious Barberousse prison by FLN militants, he became one of their most trusted and loyal lieutenants in Algiers. On 28 December 1956, he was suspected of killing the Mayor of Boufarik, Amédée Froger.

In 1957 French paratroopers led by Colonel Yves Godard systematically isolated and eliminated the FLN leadership in Algiers. Godard's extortion methods included torture. In June, la Pointe led teams setting explosives in street lights near bus stops and bombing a dance club that killed 17 people.[1]

Saadi Yacef ordered the leadership to hide in separate addresses within the Casbah. After Yacef's capture, la Pointe and three companions, Hassiba Ben Bouali, Mahmoud "Hamid" Bouhamidi and 'Petit Omar', held out in hiding until 8 October. Tracked down by paras acting on a tip-off from an informer, Ali La Pointe was given the chance to surrender but refused, whereupon he, his companions and the house in which he was hiding were bombed by French paratroopers; 20 Algerians were killed in the blast.[2]

BiographyEdit

Ali Ammar was born on 14 May 1930 in Miliana, Algeria to a poor family.[3] The family's financial situation did not allow him to attend school.[4] His nickname "La Pointe" comes from the Point district in Miliana. While being imprisoned for the first time at the age of thirteen, he learned masonry.[5] In 1945, he became known in Algeria for playing tchi-tchi, a type of gambling game scam, then as a pimp and acquired a sort of prestige.[6][7] {{citation needed span|text

In 1954, when the Algerian War broke out, he escaped from the Barberousse prison (Prison de Barberousse) where he was serving a two-year sentence for attempted murder. FLN, Front de libération nationale (National Liberation Front), militants explained to him that Algeria was a victim of colonialism and recruited him to their cause.[6] He later escaped again after being transferred to a prison in Damiette, now known as Aïn Deheb. [8] He returned to Algiers and made contact a few months later with Yacef Saadi.

Activity within the FLNEdit

 
From left to right, at the back: Djamila Bouhired, Yacef Saâdi, Hassiba Ben Bouali. front: Samia Lakhdari, Petit Omar, Ali la Pointe with a gun in his hand and Zohra Drif.

In late 1955,[9] Ali la Pointe was introduced to Yacef Saâdi, who was the deputy of Larbi Ben M'hidi, the head of the FLN for Algiers (aka Zone autonome d'Alger (autonomous zone of Algiers) during the Algerian War.[10] Yacef Saâdi "decided to test him", trusting him with the execution of a snitch on the evening of their meeting.[9][11] Recruited, according to Marie-Monique Robin for his "formidable qualities as a killer",[10] he became, according to Christopher Cradock and M.L.R. Smith, "the chief assassin" for FLN.[12]

He was notably responsible for what was referred to as a "line up of the Casbah underworld with the nationalist terrorist movement" from an article by The New York Times.[13] After some figures of the local underworld suspected of being informants were executed, such as Rafai Abdelkader, Said Bud Abbot and Hocine Bourtachi,[9][11][14][15] he "sowed terror" in the casbah, according to Marie-Monique Robin by applying "revolutionary instructions, such as not allowing drinking alcohol or smoking".[10]

On 30 September 1956, two bombs exploded in two public places in Algiers, the Milk Bar and the Cafétaria, killing four and wounding fifty-two. They were planted by Zohra Drif and Samia Lakhdari respectively, while a third bomb, planted by Djamila Bouhired at the Air France terminal, did not explode.[16] These events mark the beginning of the “Battle of Algiers”.[17] These three women were, along with Djamila Bouazza, the ones who planted a bomb on 26 January 1957 at the Coq Hardi brewery, part of the “bombs network” headed by Yacef Saâdi, assisted by Ali la Pointe.[18]

LegacyEdit

He was portrayed by Brahim Haggiag in the film The Battle of Algiers.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Randall Law Terrorism: A History section "French Success in the Battle of Algiers and Beyond" John Wiley & Sons 2013 ISBN 978-0745640389
  2. ^ Universite Hassiba Ben Bouali (in French), archived from the original on 20 February 2008, retrieved 2 February 2011
  3. ^ Karim 0. (12 October 2011). "L'hommage à "Ali La Pointe"". Le Soir d'Algérie. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  4. ^ Horne, Alistair (9 August 2012). A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954–1962. Pan Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-4472-3343-5.
  5. ^ Taraud, Christelle (1 October 2008). "Les yaouleds : entre marginalisation sociale et sédition politique. Retour sur une catégorie hybride de la casbah d'Alger dans les années 1930-1960". Revue d'histoire de l'enfance " irrégulière ". Le Temps de l'histoire (in French) (Numéro 10): 59–74. doi:10.4000/rhei.2917. ISSN 1287-2431.
  6. ^ a b Massu, Jacques (1971). La vraie bataille d'Alger (in French). Plon. p. 291.
  7. ^ Yves, Courrière. "La bataille d'Alger". FranceArchives. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  8. ^ Crozier, Brian (1960). The Rebels: A Study of Post-War Insurrections. Beacon Press. p. 172.
  9. ^ a b c Delmas, Jean (21 March 2007). La bataille d'Alger (in French). Larousse. ISBN 978-2-03-585477-3.
  10. ^ a b c Robin, Marie-Monique (19 March 2015). Escadrons de la mort, l'école française (in French). La Découverte. p. 94. ISBN 978-2-7071-8668-3.
  11. ^ a b "Ali-la-Pointe. Souvenirs de la Bataille d'Alger 1956". www.marxists.org. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  12. ^ Cradock, Christopher; Smith, M. L. R. (1 October 2007). ""No Fixed Values": A Reinterpretation of the Influence of the Theory of Guerre Révolutionnaire and the Battle of Algiers, 1956–1957". Journal of Cold War Studies. 9 (4): 68–105. doi:10.1162/jcws.2007.9.4.68. ISSN 1520-3972. S2CID 57558312.
  13. ^ Brady, «, Thomas F. (13 October 1957). "French Step Up Algeria Fighting: Army Indicates a Recent Increase in Surrendering by Nationalist Rebels Three Actions During Day Casualties Are Listed". The New York Times. Ali la Pointe [...] had lined up the Casbah underworld with the nationalist terrorist movement.
  14. ^ Bromberger, Serge (1958). Les rebelles algériens (in French). Plon. p. 147.
  15. ^ Duchemin, Jacques C. (2006). Histoire du FLN (in French). Éditions Mimouni. p. 215.
  16. ^ Hitchcock, William I. (26 November 2008). The Struggle for Europe: The Turbulent History of a Divided Continent 1945 to the Present. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. p. 186. ISBN 978-0-307-49140-4.
  17. ^ Robin, Marie-Monique (19 March 2015). Escadrons de la mort, l'école française (in French). La Découverte. p. 114. ISBN 978-2-7071-8668-3.
  18. ^ Naylor, Phillip C. (7 May 2015). Historical Dictionary of Algeria. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-8108-7919-5.