Larbi Ben M'hidi PDF Print E-mail
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Mohamed Larbi Benmehidi, an Algerian activist and a legend of the Algerian revolution, was born in the Algerian city of Ain Melilla, Province of Umm elbouagi, located in eastern Algeria.

Birth

Benmehidi was born in the year 1923 in the district of Alkuahi [Ain Melilla], which was a regional province of Constantine. He was the second son of a family which consists of three daughters and two sons. He attended a French elementary school in his hometown and after one year he moved to Batna to continue his primary education.

When he obtained his certificate, he returned to his family who themselves had moved to the city of Biskra where he was accepted to take a placement exam for the School of Constantine. In 1939, he joined the ranks of Muslim Scouts "Hope Regiment" in the city of Biskra, and after a few months became the boys’ team leader.

 

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His Personality

Benmehidi was committed to his religious and national duties, but that did not stop him from falling in love with art, he enjoyed Algerian Fadhila’s songs. He loved music, particularly of Andalusia, which made him kind and loving. He also used to love watching films, especially war and revolutionary films, such as the film which talked about the Mexican revolutionary Zapata, a nickname which he adopted secretly before the outbreak of the Algerian revolution, he was also known as Alarbi Albiskri and The Wizard.

Benmehidi enjoyed the theatre and acting, he acted in the play "In the Name of the Crown", and a play which was translated into Arabic by the Egyptian writer Mustapha Lutfi Manfaloti. Who adapted into his play the Algerian character, which aims to extract the idea of nationalism and the fight against colonialism. Benmehidi was also a football player and was one of the key defenders for his team, the Islamic Sports Federation of Biskra, which was established by the national movement. He was trying to use all modern techniques and services to serve Algeria, which he ransomed with his own blood and soul to become the man who loves his homeland, who is committed to the principles of his religion and who lives his time and looks into the future and thinks of how to build it.

One of his companions wrote about him in the issue of August 20th 1957 of the Mujahid Newspaper, a newspaper which spoke on behalf of the Algerian revolution, "a young believer, loyal to his religion and his country, very far away from anything that might ruin his personality or beliefs. He was one of the major poles of national capacities, well known for his humanitarian presence which is rarely found in the youth his age, for he is a religious man who does not delinquent in delivering his religious duties, does not think of anything more than thinking about the fate of his country of Algeria, has a strong spirit in organization and good treatment of other which elevates him to the position of excellent leaders. A man who made the French occupiers suffer, with his courageous and consistent struggle.”

 

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Political activity
In 1942 he joined the ranks of the People's Party, at his place of residence, where he was very attentive to the many political and national affairs. In May 8, 1945 he was among those arrested and released after three weeks spent at a police station where he was interrogated and tortured. In 1947 he took his place among the first young people who entered the ranks of the private organization, where he soon became the most prominent member.

In 1949 he became the official head of the military wing in the province of Setif and at the same time, became deputy chief of staff of the secret organization in Eastern Algeria, which was led by Mohamed Boudiaf at the time. In 1950 he was promoted as leader of the organization after Mohammed Boudiaf was moved to the capital.

After the incident in March 1950 he left the organization and was appointed as an administrator at of the Party’s Chambers in the city of Oran until 1953. At the time of the composition of the Revolutionary Committee of Unity and Action in March 1954 he became one of its prominent members as well as an active member of the historic group 22.


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Activity during the revolution

Benmehidi played a major role in the preparation of the armed revolution, and sought to convince everyone to participate by delivering his famous saying “Throw the revolution into the streets and the people will soon adapt to it” The martyr was among those who worked really hard for the convening of the historic Alsomam conference in 20 August 1956. Right after it, he was named a member on the Committee responsible for the coordination and implementation of the Algerian Revolution (High Command of the Revolution). He led The Battle of Algiers at the beginning of 1956.

 

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Martyrdom

Arrested at the end of February 1957 and was martyred due to the torture during the third to the fourth night of March 1957, after having given a lesson in patience and perseverance to his executioners. The French General Pijar said after he and his officers were unable to take from him any information or recognition for what he and his comrades have done in spite of the gruesome torture which saw the skinning of his fully.

It was mentioned that before his execution, the hero smiled at his executioners to mock them and pity them. It was then that Pijar lifted his hand to salute the martyr as if he were his commander and said: If I had a group of people like Benmehidi, I would’ve conquered the World.”