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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 21, No. 2. March 27, 1958


page 7


Not so long ago the world was shocked to learn that the French had bombed a small Tunisian village at great cost to human life. The incident is particularly detestable in that it occurred on market day when the streets were packed with innocent natives from the interior. This is just one example of the criminal acts which the French are perpetrating in an effort to hang on to part of North Africa.

In the issue of "Universities and Left Review" for summer 1957 we find the following description of a massacre of Algerian prisoners of war: "At Tebessa, the courtyard of the Negrier barracks saw, one day, an army truck filled with Algerian prisoners. . . . The prisoners, tied up, had been piled between the racks lying one on top of the other like coal sacks. A certain number bad already succumbed to asphyxia and the rigours of the road. The convoy, soldier, reservists of the 60th, began to unload the truck. It pulled the inert bodies by the feet and let them fall to the ground from the full height of the truck. . . , The wounded, who hadn't been able to flee, were often wounded in the legs, and therefore could have recuperated, in spite of the loss of blood and the nocturnal cold which had made their flesh blue. They were massacred in odious conditions, which surpassed a normal imagination, but not the Algerian reality. The European cadre of the G.M.P.R., who were directing the mopping up, distinguished themselves particularly. They kicked the wounded violently, till the unfortunate victims almost suffocated with pain. Finally, taking out the kitchen knife, they sharpened it for a long time on the rock under the eyes of the condemned prisoners. The execution was maladroit and slow; they cut into the neck, avoiding the jugular vein. As a last precaution, a bullet fired at blank-point blew out the face, transformed it into a horror which has no name in the language of savagery."

Now we learn that Mr. Mohammed Khemisti, the General Secretary of the Union Generale des Etudiants Musulmans Algerians (UGEMA) was arrested in Montpellier, France, where he was enrolled at the University. No official charge has been brought against him. Yet we learn that he is to be handed over to the Military Tribunal in Algeria, even though he has been absent from that country for the past five years. Since a number of other prominent Algerian scholars and leaders have in recent years been taken into custody and simply "disappeared", it becomes evident that his life is in grave danger. On behalf of the International Union of Students "Salient" editor requests all readers to send protests to the French Embassy.