Academic Inquiry in Algeria – William Zartman – Algeria 1969

In 1969, I was conducting research in Algeria for a book on government decision-making under a Fulbright-Hayes Grant as a sequel to my similar book on Morocco, “Problems of New Power.” One day, a pair of trench coats came to our house in Bains Romains to check it out and my wife refused them entry, but I gave all my papers to the US Interests section of the Swiss Embassy.

I completed my work a month later and went back to France, but I then returned, alone, to fill some holes. That night, I was visited in my hotel room and was taken to the office of the SM (Sécurité militaire) where I was interrogated, my shoelaces taken “so I wouldn’t hang myself,” put in a cell, and flew out on a plane the next morning to Marseilles. We never knew precisely why, although I had previously written a (non-critical) article in France on “L’armée algérienne dans la politique.”

I took it as a confirmation of my article’s accuracy, the inefficiency of security agencies, and the risks of research.

William Zartman – Fulbright to Algeria 1969

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