Intrigued by Bullet Holes

Earlier in the week I had entered the Casbah as part of a diplomatic mission accompanied by a knowledgeable guide. Now walking alone the thousands of pock marked bullet holes which riddle most of the walls in the Casbah conjure images of Algeria’s bloody war to win independence from France. During the 1950’s Algerian freedom fighters used the Casbah as their base of operation. They often attacked the pied-nois, Europeans who had settled here and many of whom had claimed land in of Algeria. On January 7, 1957 French Paratroopers lunched a vicious attacked on the Algerian resistance in the Casbah. Over the next five years hundreds of thousands people on both sides of the conflict were killed. The Casbah became a worldwide symbol of both hope and terror. My mind continues to linger on these conflicting images as I wobble on alone through the now unforgettable Casbah.

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