On Jewish Community and Identity in Jacques Derrida’s Algeria

Peter Salmon at Literary Hub:

The question of where the Juifs d’Algérie, the community into which Jackie was born, fitted into Algerian society was, inevitably, a complex one. Derrida’s family were Sephardic, and claimed roots from Toledo in Spain. In 1870, Algerian Jews were granted French citizenship by the Crémieux Decree, which brought their rights in line with the rest of the pied-noir (black foot, i.e. wearing shoes) population of Algeria. The majority Muslim population had no such rights, and were subject to the Code de l’indigénat, which gave them, at best, second-class status before the law. Although tensions had not reached the scale that would lead to and accompany the Algerian War, they were already present. At the same cinemas where Aimé and Georgette had watched Chaplin, Algerians “clapped and cheered when the hero made stirring speeches about Swiss independence in William Tell and when the Foreign Legionnaire heroes in Le Hommes Sans Nom(The Men with No Name) were shot by Moroccan insurgents.”

more here.

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