oa African Yearbook of Rhetoric - Emir Abd-el-Kader : the proclamation of 1836

Volume 2, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 2220-2188
  • E-ISSN: 2305-7785



The opening speech for this collection will take many by surprise. Its date, 5 February 1836. Its content, a call for liberatory jihad. Its orator, a man whose name and international prestige held at the time the same resonance as Nelson Mandela's in the late twentieth century. Emir Abd-el-Kader (1808-1883) raised the flag of the Holy War against the French who were themselves unsettling the Ottoman occupants from the coastal regencies of what would eventually become modern Algeria. An Islamic scholar, a war leader, an orator, Abd-el-Kader sought to bring to fruition an Arab sultanate in Algeria, in a balance of power between the colonising French, the Moroccan Empire, the marauding tribes that refused any form of central power, and the Ottoman loyalists. In defeat (1847) his prestige only grew and he became the embodiment, in the orientalist imagination of Europe, of the Noble Arab, the scholar-warrior, and an ally of sorts in Europe's Realpolitik of colonisation and the dismantling of the Sublime Porte. He is credited for having inspired Napoleon III with his "politique arabe", or, the integration of Algeria into France. In 1860, while living in dignified exile in Damascus, he took up arms to stop the massacre of its Christian community by Sunnis. It is hard to imagine, today, the world-wide prestige Abd-el-Kader enjoyed in the mid-nineteenth century.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error