After watching both Battle of Algiers and Bloody Sunday I have come to have a better understanding of the motivations behind these two very important revolutions. It is important to understand why the FLN and IRA decided to engage in “terrorist” activities, because analysis of the motivations behind their actions will allow us to see how “terrorists” are labeled and who is labeling them. The ways in which these groups are labeled and characterized has a large impact on the actions taken and the ramifications of these actions. In the cases of the FLN and IRA, both groups had been labeled “terrorists” and both took two very different courses of action. These actions are directly related to how they are labeled and looked upon within a society. In this paper, I will depict the ways in which the representation of “terrorist” groups constructs a particular understanding of the causes of their actions. I will also illustrate the ramifications of this construction process.
In Battle of Algiers the lifestyle of Algerians seemed to be depicted accurately and realistically. In the film, the Algerians were seen as second class citizens, if that. They were segregated from the rest of society and ostracized for their appearance and lower class status. Often, Algerian citizens could be walking down the street and would get yelled at or chased by French citizens of Algeria. Algerians did not seem to be welcome in their own country and had fewer rights and privileges than the French citizens.
The Algerian people and the FLN were driven to violence because the French made that the last option for them. The society the Algerian people were living in was dilapidated, highly crowded, and dirty. People were made fun of daily and did not have the same opportunities as the French citizens. The government would place sanctions on Algerians and the FLN to keep them from opportunities of advancement or uprising. In this film, the FLN is seen as a group of brutal people who are willing to kill and be killed for their right to freedom and self-determination. However, the film is quick to show the brutalities they had to endure, but more importantly the societal segregation they encountered on a daily basis.
For the FLN, the people of Algeria had so little choice in their future and everyday activities, they it seemed as thought they felt they had nothing to lose. Why not rise up and fight for civil rights and equality in our own country. Men, women, and children all played integral roles in the revolution. These people still led normal and productive lives, but felt they had no opportunity for advancement or betterment of themselves or their families. So, they resorted to violence and the only means they knew how, to get attention. All these people wanted, was to be heard, and they felt this could only be accomplished through violence.