No regrets from an ex-Algerian rebel immortalized in film





Fifty years ago, when Saadi Yacef was blowing up French men, women and children in the name of Algerian independence, he never imagined Algerians would do the same to each other some day.

Yacef's ultimately successful fight against colonial France was immortalized in the 1965 film "The Battle of Algiers." He played a character based on himself in the movie, which has become a celluloid primer for revolutionaries.

The mystique attached to terrorism across the Middle East and the difficulty of combating its broader appeal have their roots in Algeria, whose war for independence is a model for other Arab movements, from the Palestine Liberation Organization to the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon.

Since 1992, Algerian Islamist insurgents have killed tens of thousands of their fellow citizens. Yacef says he is unrepentant about his role in popularizing the tactic of deliberately targeting civilians, even though the insurgents are using it in his own country for aims he doesn't endorse.

"Our methods and theirs are both cruel, but you must distinguish between an objective - ours - which was liberation, and theirs, which is just destruction," Yacef said in an interview at his home near Algiers.


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Randll Reese Besch - 6/27/2007

Saadi Yacef's reasons for liberation over colonial subdigation doesn't need to include murdering civilians.
Only if said civilians are direct collaberators then one could decide. Just think of all of those stenographers and office personell that kept the Nazi bureacracy going so effeciantly.Remember, one person's terrorist is another person's freedomfighter. Too much violence can be habitforming. Some lust for it and would otherwise be listed as violent psychopaths.What of those who merely give the orders and have others carry out bombings,missile attacks or car bombs any different?

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