Abbane, Ramdane

(1920-1957)
   Abbane was one of the founders of the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN) and one of the historic leaders of the Algerian Revolution. Abbane was born in the village of Azouza, in the region of Larba Nat Iraten in Greater Kabylia. Despite his modest socioeconomic background, he earned a baccalaureate in mathematics. Afterward, he served as a clerk in the colonial administration (in the city hall of the mixed commune of Chelghoum el-Aid, former Chateaudun-du-Rhumel) and as a noncommissioned officer in the French army during World War II. In 1943, he joined the proindependence party, Parti du Peuple Algérien (PPA), and in 1947, he became a party leader of the Mouvement pour le Triomphe des Libertés Démocratiques (MTLD) in the Sétif region. In 1950, Abbane was arrested in the wake of the French crackdown of the paramilitary organization Organisation spéciale (OS). He was sentenced to six years in jail, with internment in the Haut-Rhin in France. On his release in 1955, he joined the FLN and was successful in recruiting members of the Union Démocratique du Manifeste Algérien (UDMA), the Parti Communiste Algérien (PCA), and the Association des Ulémas Musulmans Algériens (AUMA) to join the liberation movement platform.
   Abbane is best remembered for his active role in shaping the Soummam Valley Congress on 20 August 1956 in Kabylia. Under his skillful and fiery leadership, the congress adopted a political platform as well as a military reorganization framework of the Armée de Libération Nationale (ALN) that members of the external delegation of the FLN (Ahmed Ben Bella and Mohamed Boudiaf) rejected. Although the Soummam framework favored collective political leadership, Abbane was, undeniably, the unofficial leader. His role in the Soummam Valley Congress as well as his stand on the principles that the external delegation should be subordinate to the internal affairs and leadership of the revolution and that the civilian and political wing of the FLN should control the military made him undesirable in several nationalist circles. In 1957, he was lured by his detractors to Morocco, where he was strangled to death by the external delegation leaders of the FLN. His murder eliminated a passionate and tireless Kabyle, who had the potential to provide a social and economic roadmap for the revolution. His death also opened the door to the military to take control of Algeria's politics and fate. His death, however, was reported a year later in the Moujahid, the FLN's official newspaper, in May 1958. Recent revisionist and official history of the Algerian revolution and its politics has reevaluated Abbane's contributions to the struggle against the French and has rehabilitated his place and legacy as a bona fide Algerian nationalist or chef historique.
   See also Berberist Crisis; Kabyles.

Historical Dictionary of the Berbers (Imazighen) . . 2014.

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