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Ahmed Ben Bella

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احمد بن بلة (Arabic)
Ahmed Ben Bella (English)
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Ahmed Ben Bella

Became President:September, 1962
Left Office:June 19, 1965
Predecessor:
Successor:Houari Boumdinne
Date of Birth:December 25, 1916
Place of Birth:
Date of Death:

Mohamed Ahmed Ben Bella (Muhammad Ahmad Bin Balla) (born December 25 1916, Maghnia, Algeria) was the first President of Algeria, and seen by many as the Father of the Nation. Ben Bella was born in a small village in western Algeria during the height of the French colonial period to a Sufi Muslim family.

Contents

Before Independence

During the Second World War he served in the Free French army, and was decorated for bravery. He was one of the founding members of the Front de Libration Nationale. He was arrested by the French in 1956 and spent until 1962 in prison. While in prison he was elected a vice-premier of the Algerian provisional government. Ben Bella's first language was French, not Arabic, and it was not until he travelled to Egypt while trying to gain support for the Algerian independence struggle that he actually learned Arabic. While in Egypt, Ben Bella met the Egyptian president, Gamel Abdel Nasser. When Nasser brought Ben Bella to speak for the first time to an Egyptian audience, he broke into tears because he could not speak Arabic. It has been said that he refused to teach his own daughter French because he wanted her to learn Arabic first and not be in the same position he was. Like many Arab militants of the time, he would come to describe himself as a "Nasserist" and developed close ties to Egypt even before independence was achieved. Nasser's both material, emotional and political support of the Algerian movement would come to cause him troubles, it played a major role in France's choice to wage war on him during the 1956 Suez Crisis.

Algerian Independence

After Algeria's independence was recognized, quickly became more popular, and thereby more powerful. In June 1962, he challenged the leadership of Premier Benyoucef Ben Khedda; this led to several disputes among his rivals in the FLN, which were quickly suppressed by Ben Bella's rapidly growing support, most notably within the armed forces. By September, Bella was in control of Algeria by all but name, and was elected as premier in a one-sided election on 20 September, and was recognized by the United States on September 29. Algeria was admitted as the 109th member of the United Nations on 8 October 1962. Afterwards, Ben Bella declared that Algeria would follow a neutral course in world politics; within a week he met with U.S. President John F. Kennedy requesting more aid for Algeria, with Fidel Castro, expressing approval of Castro's demands for the abandonment of Guantanamo Bay and returned to Algeria requesting that France withdraw from its bases there. In November, Ben Bella's government banned the party, providing that the only party allowed to overtly function was the NLF.

Recent Activities

Later he became Prime Minister, and was later elected President. He was deposed by Houari Boumdinne in 1965, and put under house arrest until 1980, when he went to exile to Switzerland. He lived 10 years in Lausanne, he was allowed to return in 1990. He remained outside politics until 2003 when he was elected President of the International Campaign Against Aggression on Iraq at its Cairo Conference. Ben Bella has described himself numerous times in interviews as an Islamist of a mild and peace loving flavor. Despite his former one party state he now vocally advocates for democracy in Algeria. He has described the militant voice rising in the Islamic world as having developed from an incorrect and faulty interpretation of Islam. Ben Bella is the author of many articles including Islam and the Algerian Revolution.

External link

de:Ahmed Ben Bella fr:Ahmed Ben Bella zh:艾哈迈德·本·贝拉

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