Having fled Algeria, Anouar Benmalek reflects on its bloody past
The Child of an Ancient People
by Anouar Benmalek
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Algeria's "war on terror" began in 1992, when a conclave of generals canceled the country's first-ever democratic national elections to forestall an Islamist victory. Islamic extremists reacted to the brutal crackdown that ensued by taking up arms against the state for over a decade. Terrorist massacres, bombings and targeted assassinations, and the army's dirty counterinsurgency campaign of torture, disappearances, and summary executions left two hundred thousand dead and many thousands missing.
The violence galvanized a new generation of novelists; most ambitious and farreaching has been the work of Anouar Benmalek, a mathematician and journalist, who moved to France in 1992 to escape Islamist death threats. Friends and colleagues who stayed behind—novelist Tahar Djaout, reporter Said Mekbel, and many others—were
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