Salima Ghezali

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Salima Ghezali, "a teacher-turned-journalist and winner of a string of human rights awards, wants to see action from the international community. The first people she knew who died were former students, some murdered by Islamic groups, some killed by security forces, others by militias, some died in prison. Two she remembers well: 'They were neighbours, one an Islamist, the other a secularist. They came to school, talking, debating, enjoying their differences. Suddenly the war begins, and they start to die.'

"Salima became editor of La Nation, the most widely-read weekly in Algeria. La Nation advocated political dialogue for all sides in the war, human rights and freedom of expression for all, and criticised both government and Islamic groups -- the only paper to do so. For this, the paper was seized and suspended many times, and finally banned in 1996.

"But the penalties could be more severe. Friends and colleagues have been killed. One, Esmina, worked on the evening daily, Le Soir. 'We were at university together. Like me, she was a French teacher before becoming a journalist. We worked long years together. One day she was kidnapped, and killed in a horrible way, like so many. You cannot count all the people we have lost during this war.'

"Since 1993 more than 60 journalists and media workers have been killed. Communiques signed by armed groups describing themselves as 'Islamic' have threatened to kill all journalists and claimed responsibility for the assassination of many of them. Other deaths have been laid at the door of the military and security forces. To date, no-one has been prosecuted for any of these murders.

"Salima's stand for human rights has won her the Sakharov Prize and the Olaf Palme award, but what she wants is action. 'When we go to Europe and the United States, and we talk to the politicians, they say they can do nothing. Nothing. They cannot interfere. But is it morally acceptable that 30 million Algerians are now asked to die in silence, to be tortured in silence, to kill themselves in silence, because the Algerian government refuses any international interference in its internal affairs?'" [1]

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. Algeria: Amnesty Article, 5/16/98, Amnesty International, accessed August 24, 2007.
  2. Oscar Romero Award Recipients, Rothko Chapel, accessed August 24, 2007.
  3. Previous Recipients, World Press Review, accessed January 8, 2009.