Interested in the lyrics and history of the Algerian national anthem? Read our guide for more facts & information on the Kassaman…
The lyrics of kassaman (the pledge) Algerian National Anthem were composed by Mufdi Zakariah while he was sat imprisoned by French colonial military forces in 1955. Algeria was a colony of France between 1830 and 1963 when it won it’s independence. Before Algeria became an independent state, some of it’s population was comprised of Europeans from Spain, Malta and France, although the largest number of emigres were from Malta and the nearby islands of the archipelago.
The Accidental Colonization
A French fleet, sent to Algiers to collect a debt fought and won a military battle and found themselves in control of the city and the government. While it had not been the intention of the French to colonize Algeria, they saw clear advantages in doing so and made a number of failed efforts, but by the turn of the 20th century, the introduction of wine production had finally succeeded in bringing large numbers of European settlers to the area.
During most of the first half of the 20th century, political relations between Europeans and natives remained, if not cordial, at least stable. Charles DeGualle moved his military command to Algiers following the fall of Paris in World War II and ran successful military campaigns in North Africa and Europe. At the close of the war, native Algerians became discontent with French rule and began demonstrating for independence. Terrorism became a tool in the revolution against the French and many native Algerians were imprisoned, Zakariah among them. It was in this atmosphere of rebellion and nationalism that he penned the lyrics to the kassaman Algerian National Anthem. The music was created by Egyptian composer Mohamed Fawzi.
Algeria became an independent nation in 1963 and adopted the kassaman as the Algerian National Anthem. There are quite a few verses to the anthem some of which are removed or added depending on the political climate at a given time. Following the rebellion virtually all the European colonists left Algeria and they now comprise less than 1% of the population. The official language of the nation is Arabic although many people also speak French. Algeria is a prosperous nation with good transportation and communication and a cosmopolitan air. Over the centuries it has been home to many different cultures.
Algerians seem to be a pragmatic people as witnessed by their altering of the kassaman National Anthem to suit the political climate at the time. They have a rich culture and history and maintain one of the most stable governments in Northern Africa. They are proud of their heritage and are strongly nationalistic, but friendly and happy to share their culture with visitors to the country.