Kassaman

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قَسَمًا (Arabic) / Tagallit (Berber)
English: We Pledge
Kassaman / Tagallit
Algerian national anthem, page 1.jpg

National anthem of  Algeria
Also known as Qassaman
Lyrics Moufdi Zakaria, 1955
Music Mohamed Fawzi
Adopted 1962
Audio sample
Kassaman (instrumental)

Kassaman[1][2] or Qassaman[3] (Arabic: قَسَمًا‎, "we pledge";[1][2] Berber languages: Tagallit, "the oath" or "we swear"[3]) is the national anthem of Algeria. Moufdi Zakaria authored the lyrics, while the music was composed by Egyptian composer Mohamed Fawzi. This was adopted as the national anthem in 1962, when the country gained independence from France.

Lyrics

Arabic lyrics Arabic transliteration English translation
First stanza

قسما بالنازلات الماحقات
و الدماء الزاكيات الطاهرات
و البنود اللامعات الخافقات
في الجبال الشامخات الشاهقات
نحن ثرنا فحياة أو ممات
و عقدنا العزم أن تحيا الجزائر
فاشهدوا... فاشهدوا... فاشهدوا...

Qasaman bi-n-nāzilāti l-māḥiqāt
Wa-d-dimāʾi z-zākiyāti ṭ-ṭāhirāt
Wa-l-bunūdi l-lāmiʿāti l-khāfiqāt
Fi-l-jibāli sh-shāmikhāti sh-shāhiqāt
Naḥnu thurnā fa-ḥayātun ʾaw mamāt
Wa-ʿaqadnā al-ʿazma ʾan taḥyā l-Jazāʾir
Fa-shhadū! Fa-shhadū! Fa-shhadū!

We swear by the lightning that destroys,
By the virtuous and fragrant blood,
By the shining, fluttering banners,
In the steep and majestic mountains,
That we have risen to revolution in life or death
and we have resolved that Algeria shall live
So bear witness, bear witness, bear witness!

Second stanza

نحن جند في سبيل الحق ثرنا
و إلى استقلالنا بالحرب قمنا
لم يكن يصغى لنا لما نطقنا
فاتخذنا رنة البارود وزنا
و عزفنا نغمة الرشاش لحنا
وعقدنا العزم أن تحيا الجزائر
فاشهدوا... فاشهدوا... فاشهدوا...

Naḥnu jundun fi sabīli l-ḥaqqi thurnā
Wa ʾila stiqlālinā bi-l-ḥarbi qumnā
Lam yakun yuṣğā lanā lamā naṭaqnā
Fa-ttakhadhnā rannata l-bārūdi waznā.
Wa-ʿazafnā nağamata r-rashshāshi laḥnā
Wa-ʿaqadnā al-ʿazma ʾan taḥyā l-Jazāʾir
Fa-shhadū! Fa-shhadū! Fa-shhadū!

We are soldiers in the name of righteousness have revolted
And for our independence through war have risen.
None would listen to us when we spoken up
So we have taken the drum of gunpowder as our rhythm
And the sound of machine guns as our melody,
and we have resolved that Algeria shall live –
So bear witness, bear witness, bear witness!

Third stanza

يا فرنسا قد مضى وقت العتاب
و طويناه كما يطوى الكتاب
يا فرنسا إن ذا يوم الحساب
فاستعدي وخذي منا الجواب
ان في ثورتنا فصل الخطاب
و عقدنا العزم أن تحيا الجزائر
فاشهدوا... فاشهدوا... فاشهدوا...

Yā Faransā, qad maḍā waqtu l-ʿitāb
Wa-ṭawaynāhu kamā yuṭwā l-kitāb
Yā Faransā ʾinna dhā yawmu l-ḥisāb
Fa-staʿiddī wa-khudhī minnā l-jawāb
ʾInna fī thawratinā faṣlu l-khiṭāb
Wa-ʿaqadnā al-ʿazma ʾan taḥyā l-Jazāʾir
Fa-shhadū! Fa-shhadū! Fa-shhadū!

O France, the time of reproach has passed
And we have closed like a book;
O France, the day of reckoning is at hand
So prepare to receive from us our answer!
In our revolution is the end of empty talk;
and we have resolved that Algeria shall live –
So bear witness, bear witness, bear witness!

Fourth stanza

نحن من أبطالنا ندفع جندا
و على أشلائنا نصنع مجدا
و على أرواحنا نصعد خلدا
وعلى هاماتنا نرفع بندا
جبهة التحرير أعطيناك عهدا
و عقدنا العزم أن تحيا الجزائر
فاشهدوا... فاشهدوا... فاشهدوا...

Naḥnu min ʾabṭālinā nadfaʿu jundā
Wa-ʿala ʾashlaʾinā naṣnaʿu majdā.
Wa-ʿala ʾarwāḥinā naṣʿadu khuldā.
Wa-ʿala hāmātinā narfaʿu bandā.
Jabhatu t-Taḥrīri ʾaʿṭaynāki ʿahdā.
Wa-ʿaqadnā al-ʿazma ʾan taḥyā l-Jazāʾir
Fa-shhadū! Fa-shhadū! Fa-shhadū!

From our heroes we shall make an army come to being,
and on our dead we build glory,
Our spirits shall ascend to immortality
And on our shoulders we shall raise the standard.
To the National Liberation Front we have sworn an oath,
and we have resolved that Algeria shall live –
So bear witness, bear witness, bear witness!

Fifth stanza

صرخة الأوطان من ساح الفدا
فاسمعوها واستجيبوا للندا
و اكتبوها بدماء الشهدا
وأقرؤوها لبني الجيل غدا
قد مددنا لك يا مجد يدا
و عقدنا العزم أن تحيا الجزائر
فاشهدوا... فاشهدوا... فاشهدوا...

Ṣarkhatu l-ʾawṭāni min sāḥi l-fidā
Ismaʿūhā wa-stajībū li-n-nidā
Wa-ktubūhā bi-dimāʾi sh-shuhadāʾ
Wa-qraʾūhā li-banī l-jayli ğadā.
Qad madadnā laka yā majdu yadā
Wa-ʿaqadnā al-ʿazma ʾan taḥyā l-Jazāʾir
Fa-shhadū! Fa-shhadū! Fa-shhadū!

The cry of the Fatherland sounds from the battlefields.
Listen to it and heed the call!
Let it be written with the blood of martyrs
And be read to future generations.
Oh, Glory, we have held out our hand to you,
and we have resolved that Algeria shall live –
So bear witness, bear witness, bear witness!

History

Moufdi Zakaria (left) authored the lyrics to "Kassaman", while Mohamed Fawzi (right) composed the music.

The French invaded Ottoman Algeria in 1830 and made it an integral part of Metropolitan France within its colonial empire.[4] For the next century, the native population endured oppression and were given no political rights.[5] Consequently, a nationalist movement began in the 1920s and gained traction after World War II,[6] when a commitment by the government to grant French Algeria autonomy failed to materialize.[7] A prominent member of this movement was Moufdi Zakaria,[8] a Mozabite Berber[9][10] poet affiliated with the Algerian People's Party (PPA).[11] He was jailed and tortured on several occasions between the 1920s and 1962.[8] It was during one of these experiences, in April 1955,[12][13] that he penned the words to "Kassaman".[1][2] Since he did not have access to paper or writing instruments while incarcerated in Barberousse Prison,[12] Zakaria reportedly wrote the lyrics with his own blood on the walls of his jail cell.[12][14][15] The musical portion of the anthem was subsequently composed by Mohamed Fawzi,[2] who was asked to undertake this effort after two earlier submissions by other composers – one of which was by Mohamed Triki – were rejected.[12]

Both the lyrics and music were officially adopted in 1962;[1][2] in that same year the Évian Accords were signed paving the way for a referendum in which Algerians overwhelmingly voted in favour of independence, which was duly granted.[4] Although "Kassaman" was only intended to be a provisional national anthem, it has endured to this day.[16]

Context of lyrics

The lyrics of "Kassaman" are reflective of a war song. This is because it promotes nationalistic ideals and principles on the front line, glorifies the actions of the National Liberation Front (FLN), as well as espousing armed uprising and how it is the sole route to attaining independence.[16] It is also noteworthy in that it alludes to another country – France – specifically concerning the violent struggle against them for independence. The song foreshadows how "the day of reckoning" will befall Algeria's former colonial ruler.[14][16] Some commentators, however, have complained about the anthem's repetitive nature.[15]

Legal protection

Even though "Kassaman" was adopted in 1962, it was not until November 2008 that an amendment to Article 5 of the Constitution of Algeria was made declaring the anthem as "immutable", given its association with the country's revolution.[16] It also confirmed that the national anthem comprises all of the song's verses, thus ending the deliberation over whether it was still appropriate to include the unfavourable reference to France in the present day.[16]

References

  1. ^ a b c d "Algeria". The World Factbook. CIA. 8 May 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e DiPiazza, Francesca Davis (1 January 2007). Algeria in Pictures. Twenty-First Century Books. p. 69. Retrieved 29 May 2017. 
  3. ^ a b Hadjab, Warda (2016). "Algiers–Paris Round Trips: Diasporic Pathways of a Public Civil Dissidence". Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies. 14 (3): 322. doi:10.1080/15562948.2016.1208315.  (registration required)
  4. ^ a b Brown, L. Carl; Zaimeche, Salah (21 April 2017). "Algeria – History". Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 30 May 2017. 
  5. ^ "Algeria – History". Worldmark Encyclopedia of Nations (12th ed.). Thomson Gale. 2007. Retrieved 30 May 2017. 
  6. ^ McDougall, James (2007). "Algeria". In Benjamin, Thomas. Encyclopedia of Western Colonialism since 1450 (1st ed.). Macmillan Publishers USA. Retrieved 30 May 2017. 
  7. ^ "Algerian War". Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 30 May 2017. 
  8. ^ a b Africa since 1914: a historical bibliography. ABC-CLIO Information Services. 1985. p. 66. Retrieved 30 May 2017. 
  9. ^ Marks, Jon (14 December 2015). "Chapter 4: Opposing aspects of colonial rule in this century to 1930: the unusual case of the Beni Mzab". In Joffé, George. North Africa: Nation, State, and Region. Routledge. p. 68. Retrieved 30 May 2017. 
  10. ^ Proglio, Gabriele, ed. (7 March 2017). Decolonising the Mediterranean: European Colonial Heritages in North Africa and the Middle East. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 70. Retrieved 30 May 2017. 
  11. ^ Aissaoui, Rabah (30 March 2009). Immigration and National Identity: North African Political Movements in Colonial and Postcolonial France. I.B. Tauris. p. 31. Retrieved 30 May 2017. 
  12. ^ a b c d ""Kassaman," Anthem to the Glory of Algerian Revolution". Algiers. Algeria Press Service. 5 July 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2017.  (registration required)
  13. ^ Naylor, Phillip C. (7 May 2015). Historical Dictionary of Algeria. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 553. Retrieved 30 May 2017. 
  14. ^ a b Marshall, Alex (28 August 2015). "Alex Marshall: Flower of Scotland nation's choice". The Scotsman. Edinburgh. Archived from the original on 30 May 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2017. 
  15. ^ a b Burnton, Simon (9 June 2014). "Every 2014 World Cup national anthem reviewed by a pop star!". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 30 May 2017. 
  16. ^ a b c d e Branche, Raphaëlle (2011). "The martyr's torch: memory and power in Algeria". The Journal of North African Studies. 16 (3): 432, 441. doi:10.1080/13629387.2010.550138.  (registration required)

External links

  • Streaming audio, lyrics and info
  • Lyrics in Arabic
  • The musical score, the text in arabic and french, on the Presidency's Website
  • Watch the Algerian Anthem, with arabic lyrics and war pictures archives
  • Watch the People's National Army singing the Algerian Anthem
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