By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Algerian Ambassador to Mexico Rabah Hadid and his wife Farida Hadid commemorated (belatedly) the 64th anniversary of their nation’s independence on Wednesday, Nov. 7, with a diplomatic reception at their residence.
“I want to thank all of you who are joining us on this momentous occasion,” Hadid told his guests before inviting them to savor a lavish feast of North African cuisine.
“It marks the most important celebration in the history of modern Algeria.”
Hadid went on to note that Nov. 1, 1954, not only marked the start of the Algerian uprising that opened the door for that African nation’s independence from colonial rule, but it set an example for the entire world.
He said that, arms in hand and determined to make whatever sacrifice was necessary, the Algerian people set about freeing themselves from the oppressive occupation of French colonialism and its exploitive abuse of their people and resources.
It was only through rebellion against their oppressors and the reclamation of their individual dignity and independence that the people of Algeria could regain their basic human rights and national identity, Hadid said.
To accomplish that, the ambassador said that the Algerians had no other recourse than armed revolt.
“The fight for independence, which lasted nearly eight years, was a struggle between severely unmatched forces,” he said.
“It was a confrontation between the Algerian people and their ragtag army of national liberation against a major global military power sustained by the considerable arsenal of NATO.”
Hadid said that the Algerian people knew firsthand the agony of forced displacement into military-run concentration camps and endured the legal torture and anguish imposed on them by the colonists for daring to proclaim their independence.
He said that the struggle created many martyrs of Algerians who laid down their lives for their country.
“But in the end, there was victory and Algerian independence,” Hadid said.
At the close of his speech, Hadid recalled that Mexico, from the start of the struggle, had consistently defended Algeria, offering key diplomatic support before the United Nations, a gesture that he said his people will remember always.
Also, in 1962, Mexico became the first country to recognize the newly independent Algeria.
Currently, Algeria and Mexico cooperate in many fields, including trade, technology, agriculture, justice, hydraulic energy and fishing.
Mexico and Algeria have also collaborated on multilateral issues such as United Nations reform, migration policies, nuclear disarmament, terrorism and climate change.
According to Mexican government figures, combined trade amounted to more than $116 million in 2017.
The Mexican multinational construction corporation Grupo Hermes also operates in Algeria.
After more than a century of French rule, Algeria’s insurgent National Liberation Front (FNL) began coordinated attacks on government buildings, military and police posts, and communications installations on Nov. 1, 1954.
The FNL continued waging its guerrilla war for eight years and the North African nation finally gained its independence on July 5, 1962.