Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Rabah Bitouche

We found this photo of Hamid's Father 'Rabah'. It was taken around 1954 when he was 21. He was born in a town around 150 miles from Algiers and his father owned a hotel there. He started out in business as a Salt trader going out into the Saharah desert and bringing back salt to Algiers, he must have been successful at this as in 1958 he started a furniture manufacturing company in the city.

During this period Algieria was still being occupied by the French (The colons) and they owned most of the land and businesses of any value in the country. Their policies did not allow the indigenous people of the country to be educated past the age of 14 years so it was hugely difficult for Algerians to prosper. Rabah joined the Front de Liberation National (FLN) and from 1954 until 1962 they fought against the ruling French and eventually expelled them from the country. He was imprisoned for a time for transporting documents by motorcycle between towns, it is said that he was tortured whilst in prison. Hamid was born at the time of his imprisonment.

After the successful liberation of Algeria he continued to flourish in business and the company is still in operation being run by 2 of his sons.

I have been reading an old book from the 1930s and it has some very interesting old b & w photos such as this one of The Tuareg in Algeria where the men veil themselves instead of the women

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