Thursday, January 21, 2010

Emir Abdelkader

Commander of the Faithful: The Life and Times of Emir Abd el-Kader (1808-1883) by John W. Kiser

President Lincoln, Queen Victoria, Pope Pius IX, Sir Richard Burton, and French prisoners sang his praises. A town in Iowa, United States, was named in his honor.
The man being honored was Emir Abd El-Kader, a learned and fervent Muslim who for 15 years had organized and led a jihad against a Western power, France.

The Life and Times of Emir Abd el-Kader: A Story of True Jihad, published in 2008, is the story of the path to world-wide fame that turned a pious and precocious twenty-five year old Koranic scholar into a figure admired from Iowa to Moscow. It began with a bungled occupation of Algiers in 1830 by a French army of 30,000 soldiers. Arrogance, ignorance and broken promises spawned a resistance movement from which Abd El-Kader emerged as France's most tenacious opposition leader. His strength was rooted in his moral authority,keen intelligence, natural warrior characteristics, and the loyalty of his caliphs. His most lethal weapons were his diplomatic astuteness, desert hardened horses, and his Jewish intelligence network. Abd- El-Kader intervened to save thousands of Christian lives threatened by a Turkish
instigated pogrom in 1860. Following the dictates of Divine Law to protect minorities and to resist evil, the emir converted his ample residence into a
safe house for European diplomats and thousands of residents of the neighboring Christian quarter. As he neared death in 1883, The New York Times wrote that he “deserves to be ranked among the foremost of the few great men of the century.”

“John Kiser has not just given us an absorbing and beautifully written story of a great hero, he has written an important book. The reader is bound to be moved by the life of this remarkable man who was the very opposite of a fanatical jihadist.”— Jane Geniesse, former New York Times reporter.

About the author:
John W. Kiser is the author of four books including The Monks of Tibhirine:
Faith, Love, and Terror in Algeria (St. Martins, 2002). He is a former
international technology broker with a B.A. in European History from
Columbia and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago. His articles have
been published in Foreign Policy Magazine, the Washington Post as well as
the Harvard Business Review, Marine Corps Gazette and Cistercian Studies

Sunday, January 10, 2010

U.S. Fleet fighting Rais Hamidou

On 17 June 1815, off the Algerian coast, famed frigate USS "Constellation" drove the 44-gun frigate "Meshuda", the flagship of the Algerian fleet, under the guns of Commodore Decatur's flagship,"Guerriere". "Meshuda" surrendered. Among her fatalities was Rais Hamidou Algiers' ranking naval officer. The U.S. fleet included also the frigates USS "Macedonian","Epervier" and "Ontario".

On the Way to Biskra by Frederick Bridgman

Remembrance, Algiers

Indolence by Frederick Bridgman

A Coffee House in Algeria

Crossing an Oasis

In the Courtyard, El Biar

A Bandit Queen

On the Coast of Kabylie

Le Soir

On the Terrace

Oriental Interior

Cafe at Biskra

An Interesting Game by Frederick A. Bridgman

Frederick Arthur Bridgman, an American Orientalist Painter

Frederick Arthur Bridgman (1847-1928)is now considered a doyen of the American Orientalist school of painters.
In the 1870s, Mr. Bridgman traveled from his home in Paris to Algiers. Although, he traveled to paint, his journeys so impressed him that he produced a written account that appeared in Harpers Monthly, New York, 1889. That account became the basis of his amply illustrated "Winters in Algeria" published by Gorgias Press, New Jersey, 2007 (ISBN 978-1-59333-599-1).
With the eyes of a thoroughly western sensibility, Bridgman was enthralled by the experience of traveling in historic Algeria (Tlemcen, Kabylia, Bone, Constantine, Biskra). His travelogue describes the people and customs, the layout of the towns, the celebration of the Muslim religion, the black community in an Islamic context, and the legends of the people.