‘Democracy is the Best Solvent’: An Interview with Boualem Sansal

Posted by John Rosenthal

The Algerian novelist Boualem Sansal is the author of The German Mujahid (“Le Village d’Allemand” in the original French). The book addresses a unique theme for an Arab author: the Holocaust. Via the reflections of two young brothers in a Parisian banlieue, it tells the story of Hans Schiller: a German SS officer who immigrates to Algeria, converts to Islam, and becomes a hero of the Algerian war of independence. Boualem Sansal has said that there is only a “thin line” separating Nazism from Islamism. He has also described contemporary Algeria under the rule of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika as an “open-air prison.”

Asked why he, nonetheless, stays, Sansal once replied, “Algeria is a big and beautiful country that has come a long way: It has a long and highly interesting history, having rubbed shoulders with all the peoples of the Mediterranean….One sunny day, Algeria will rediscover its way and its land will turn green again. I would like to be there to see it happen.” I talked with Boualem Sansal about the Egyptian revolution, the threat of political Islam, and the prospects for democratic change in his native Algeria.

See the interview at weeklystandard.com here.

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