Lalla Fatma n’Soumer, the embodied Algeria

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We conclude our Algerian review with one of the figures that best represents the soul of this incredible country. Lalla Fatma n’Soumer was a Kabylian rebel who led her country to the anti-French resistance, so devoted to the house that she preferred to fall rather than submit.

She who speaks to the saints

Fatma n’Soumer was born in Werja in Kabilia, around 1830. His family had always belonged to the Rahmaniyya Sufi brotherhood, which was present throughout the region at the time. The closeness to religion was felt at an early age in little Fatma, who imposed on the family her will to study the Quran from a young age, despite this being frowned upon by local traditions. Her tenacity will become even clearer with the refusal of a forced marriage, and she preferred to become a hermit rather than submit to the will of the family.

Lalla Fatma
Probable portrait of Lalla Fatma

In this period it seems to have had the first visions, which led her in a very short time to become one of the most influential mystical figures in the region. Its legendary beauty, combined with the great wisdom that distinguished it, immediately contributed to spreading its history throughout the country, reaching up to French ears.

Love and war

The transalpines had in fact arrived in Algeria in 1830 and, after years of conquests, had subdued almost the whole country, except for Cabilia, an impregnable blockhouse of resistance. In 1847 the Lalla Fatma family sided definitively against the European invaders, 2 years later his life changed forever.

Lalla Fatma
Lalla Fatma and Bou Baghla

On that date, Bou Baghla, one of the lieutenants of Emir Abdelkader, arrived in Cabilia, determined not to surrender despite the terrible defeats. Such a charismatic figure will immediately breach the heart of the heroine, who mobilized the entire region, giving the leader a more aggressive and motivated army than ever. It is said that this love was also reciprocated but, due to its previous renunciation, never consumed, which will forever cover this union of legend, thanks also to the great military results. The duo succeeded in triumph in several battles, putting the French army in great difficulty and also risking to capture General Randon, the mastermind of the transalpine expedition.

Never on your knees

On December 26, 1854 Bou Baghla was killed, possibly by a friendly hand, and Lalla Fatma was elected to lead the revolt. After several months of battles, the saint’s refuge was besieged and on 11 July the resistance was extinguished and the heroine captured. According to legend, Randon was so impressed by the courage and beauty of this warrior, to offer her a wedding, offered naturally sent back to the sender.

Lalla Fatma
Lalla Fatma by Rori

Later, Lalla Fatma was sent to the internment camp of Beni Slimane, a place that immediately became the destination of pilgrimages for hundreds of faithful, determined to celebrate a figure that she had given so much to the country. He died in 1863, due to an inflammation in the lower abdomen which then led to paralysis of the legs, never on his knees, until the end. Even today, this figure is often used to represent Algeria, an indomitable and extremely beautiful woman, both Muslim and Berber, determined to give life rather than let herself be submissive.

After the Algerian review, we will start the one dedicated to Nowruz, the Persian New Year. Between today and tomorrow we will explain the programming in detail. Follow us on our facebook, YouTube and Instagram page, every like, sharing or support is welcome and helps us to dedicate ourselves more and more to our passion: telling the Middle East.

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