Obit: Yacef Saadi, Abimael Guzman

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Yacef Saadi, military commander of the FLN’s Algiers Autonomous Zone during the Battle of Algiers, has died age 93.

This went almost unreported in English language media, so French language link. https://information.tv5monde.com/afrique/algerie-dernier-hommage-yacef-saadi-figure-emblematique-de-la-bataille-d-alger-423953

Saadi’s name would likely be lost to history if he had not made a place for it by bringing Gillo Pontecorvo’s film on the Battle of Algiers into the world.

Pontecorvo couldn’t get money for the project in Italy, so when he was approached in 1964 by Yacef Saadi, who was the director of the Casbah Film Company – Algeria’s first and only film production company – with an offer of money and logistical cooperation, they set to work. Saadi altered the script significantly several times during the process, and gave himself the major role of Djafar in the film – that is, he plays himself in the movie, though under another name. Pontecorvo put up with this because Saadi’s political connections with the Algerian government allowed them to film in Algiers and the Casbah zone itself, for five months in 1965. President Houari Bomedienne, who had recently taken power from Ahmed Ben Bella in a coup d’etat, made sure the film got all the necessary permissions, and loaned both troops and equipment from the Algerian Army for crowd scenes (which explains the jarring appearance of a Soviet SU-100 assault gun in the riot scene near the end of the film).

Yacef Saadi did not only rewrite the film, he rewrote the role he played in its subject. Towards the end of the Battle of Algiers a tip from a double agent led the French to Yacef Saadi’s hideout, where he was discovered with Zohra Drif, one of the women who had set bombs in the milk bar attack. Both of them talked freely, without physical coercion, and were kept prisoner until the end of the war in 1962. At the beginning of the film you see a frightened man who has just been tortured into giving up the location of Ali-la-Pointe, the last leader of the FLN in Algiers. This man never existed. In fact, it was Yacef Saadi himself who led the French paras to the hideout, because the real life equivalent of “Little Omar” in the movie was Saadi’s nephew, working as an errand boy for Ali-La-Pointe, and the boy’s mother had appealed to him to save his life.

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In other news, Abimael Guzman, leader of the Sendero Luminoso movement in Peru, has died in prison aged 86.

He had been in solitary confinement more or less continuously since his capture in 1992; I was a bit surprised he lasted this long.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-49110427

Shining Path in the classroom

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Last month Aaron Danis, a professor at the Institute for World Politics (an independent graduate school that trains students for careers in national security and international affairs) used the Vassal version of Shining Path as a classroom activity in his course “Counterterrorism and the Democracies”.

He very kindly wrote up the exercise at the following link: https://www.iwp.edu/students-alumni/2021/04/01/iwp-students-play-in-peru-counterterrorism-wargame/

There was only enough time to get through the first three turns, but he would like to return to it later and spend a half or full day on it. The students were enthused and added knowledge from their own readings or documentaries they had seen on Sendero Luminoso. He tried to get his students to play it out on Vassal by themselves, but the interface and technology was a bit of a struggle so he adopted a simple solution of setting up the game for himself, then sharing the game screen on Zoom with the students so they could discuss and direct the moves of the pieces.

I’m glad this worked out well!

Shining Path back in stock at One Small Step!

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Like the title says, you can buy copies of Shining Path again… $22.95 each.

Here is the link:

http://ossgamescart.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=20&products_id=48

Green Beret and Algeria are still marked as sold out, but that may be fixed soon as well. Meanwhile, Kandahar, Operation Whirlwind, Binh Dinh 69 and Tupamaro are all available.

OSS Games Summer Sale! 20% Off!


One Small Step Games has announced its Summer Sale!

On now through the 4th of July, get 20% off on all published items.

Amounts to five bucks off each of my folio designs with OSS.

Sale does not include items already on sale, pre-order games, or subscriptions… so Tupamaro is not eligible as it’s still in pre-order.

Use coupon code “SummerSale” at checkout.

http://ossgamescart.com/