Middle East

Apr 13, 2012

Richardson: death of an Arab nationalist

Ben Bella represented a type now largely extinct in the Middle East -- the left-wing, authoritarian secular nationalist, of which Egypt's General Nasser was the most influential.

Charles Richardson — Editor of The World is not Enough

Charles Richardson

Editor of The World is not Enough

Some obituaries come as a surprise not because a death is sudden or unexpected, but just because one hadn’t realised that the person was still alive. So it was with the death this week at the age of 95 (some sources say 93) of Ahmed Ben Bella, the founding president of Algeria.

Ben Bella was famous around the world in the 1960s but later faded almost completely from view — which is a pity, because the story of Algeria’s early years is not only interesting in its own right (Alistair Horne’s A Savage War of Peace recounts it vividly) but still relevant for understanding the complexities of today’s Middle East.

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One thought on “Richardson: death of an Arab nationalist

  1. AR

    Charles – thanks for that. I too had assumed him long dead so your potted history, and its comparison with today’s sorry state of affairs, was well done.

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