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Title:Commemorating the 'disappeared': maternal activism and the Algerian civil war in Fatima Bourega-Gallaire's 'La beauté de l'icône'
Author:Mehta, BrindaISNI
Periodical:Research in African Literatures (ISSN 0034-5210)
Geographic term:Algeria
Subjects:women writers
civil wars
political repression
About person:Fatima Gallaire (1944-)ISNI
External link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/research_in_african_literatures/v045/45.2.mehta.pdf
Abstract:This essay examines the 'dangerous' role of women's theatre, as highlighted in 'La Beauté de l'icône,' Fatima Bourega-Gallaire's play on the Algerian civil war of the 1990s. The play exposes the violence of the 'black decade' and highlights the gendered aggressions that have scarred Algeria's postcolonial imaginary in a radicalized economy of fear, terror and censorship. La 'Beauté de l'icône' is an intense enactment of another chapter in the history of the civil war - the numerous abductions and an estimated 7,000 arbitrarily 'disappeared' civilians during a reign of terror initiated by armed militias and government security forces. The play adds another dimension to the civil war through two concomitant perspectives - the state's role and culpability during the war, on the one hand, and the revolutionary activism of the 'mothers of the disappeared' that inscribe their voices in a disavowed history. The plot demonstrates how colluding political and religious patriarchies violate their civic duties toward the people. The author further analyses the intersections between state terror and maternal power by examining the role of theatre in exposing human rights violations to determine whether the aggressed can be given a public voice and visibility. 'La Beauté de l'icône' thereby embraces an anti-war ethic, at the same time advocating a politics of peace through the suffering and courage of dissident mothers, who refuse to accept the disappearance of their loved ones. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract, edited]