The most unskakeable of colonies


Potlatch #12, 28 September 1954

According to our sources, it was a tremor with a magnitude of 8, classified as destructive, or perhaps even 9, classified as disastrous. In this case, the most solid buildings are partially or totally destroyed.
The Press, September 10

Orleansville, home of the Algerian Division of the Lettrist International, the "most Lettrist city in the world" (according to the maxim that explains the support of an advanced sector of its Algerian population for our program) was wiped off the map by the September 9 [1954] earthquake and the tremors of the following days.

Among the thirteen hundred killed and the thousands of wounded, we regret to say, was the greater part of the Algerian Division. Mohammed Dahou, our on-the-spot correspondent has so far been unable to provide us with exact figures, owing to the scattering of the populace.

Actualites Francais, even more eloquent than usual, has marked the event with a short film showing only Europeans, with their coffins, crucifixes, priests, bishops -- a slanted burlesque trying to show Algeria as an area with a French Catholic population and a high standard of living when the ground doesn't shakes.

On the other hand, in its September 19 issue, Le Monde mentioned the actions of unnamed "agitators" among the natives still remaining in Orleansville, which is now under military control.

The issue of the reconstruction of Orleansville does in fact pose some serious problems.

Regardless of the opposition of the Algerian Lettrist group and the elements influenced by them to the construction of vaguely neo-Corbusier barracks-housing blocks, it is undeniable that, at the present stage of our program, we cannot maintain a serious criticism of that particularly disastrous form of architecture while forty thousand people are waiting for the Government to provide them with whatever sort of shelter they can.

We must, however, resolutely oppose the official project for reconstruction of native housing outside the town while the devastated site is reserved for the future construction of a new and exclusively European town.

The Algerian Division will untiringly denounce this discriminatory plan and will prompt unanimous opposition to this premeditated ghetto.



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