OULDAMER, Mezioud and RICORDEAU, Remy. Le Mensonge cru. De la Décomposition de la Presse dans l’Achèvement de l’Aliénation médiatique. Paris: SIHAM, November 1988. 123 p.; 22 x 14 cm. Cream cover
Mezioud Ouldamer is an unjustly neglected figure of the so-called “post-situationist” movement. Little is known about Ouldamer — like Debord, he shied away from the spotlight, and there is no known photograph of him. Political science scholar Nedjib Sidi Moussa made a valiant attempt at piecing together pieces of the incomplete puzzle that is Ouldamer’s life in an eulogy Some of what follows is an abbreviated and translated version of Sidi Moussa’s scholarly work, and some is the result of our own research
Ouldamer was born in Ait Saada, Algeria in 1957. In 1980, he writes l’Algerie Brule! (Algeria is Burning!) under a pseudonym. This short pamphlet offers a radical reading of the Algerian uprising and points at the advanced decomposition of the Algerian state. Ouldamer, who was a construction worker at the time, is arrested in December 1980 and receives a two-year prison sentence as a result.
Four years later, in Offense à President (Offense to President), Ouldamer doubles-down, providing a sobering account of Algeria’s authoritarian regime and its political prisons. In a letter to Floriana Lebovici dated 30 August 1984, Debord had recommended she publish this work (see Correspondance Vol 6, p. 274). The two men would first meet in September or October 1984, and then strike an immediate friendship (see Correspondance Vol 6., p. 278). It appears that Debord, through Floriana Lebovici, had tried to alleviate some of Ouldamer’s immigration troubles so that the Algerian dissident may remain in France (see Correspondance Vol 6., p. 288 and p. 355-356). Debord would heartily recommend Ouldamer’s Offense à President to his friends, including Jaime Semprun (see Correspondance Vol 6, p. 309)
In 1986, amidst a vibrant debate on immigration, Ouldamer writes Le Cauchemar immigré dans la Décomposition de la France (The Immigrant Nightmare in the Decomposition of France). In this work, the Algerian-born author attacks the myths behind both racist and anti-racist arguments. Guy Debord had provided ample input on the subject to Ouldamer in a long letter dated 22 November 1985 (see Correspondance Vol 6, p. 362-369). A few months later, in a letter dated 30 August 1986, Debord congratulates Ouldamer in an unusually eulogistic missive : “Cher Mezioud, j’ai lu le manuscrit du Cauchemar immigré avec grande admiration. Tout est juste ; et c’est bien dit. Sur ce sujet, tellement central dans la décomposition de la France, c’est exactement la scandaleuse vérité qu’il fallait écrire. On n’y peut faire, de bonne foi, aucune réserve. Reçois toutes mes amicales félicitations” (“Dear Mezioud, I read the manuscript of the Immigrant Nightmare with great admiration. Everything is right; and it is well said. On this subject, so central in the decomposition of France, it is exactly the scandalous truth that it was necessary to write. One cannot, in good faith, make any reservations. My heartfelt congratulations”) (see Correspondance Vol 6, p. 436)
Le Mensonge cru. De la Décomposition de la Presse dans l’Achèvement de l’Aliénation médiatique (A Lie believed: On the Decomposition of the Press in the Achievement Media Alienation) is Ouldamer’s fourth opus and a violent attack against journalists and journalism, both of which are seen as sheer lackeys of the prevailing socio-economic order. Published in 1988, the book received very limited press coverage. In the interim, Debord and Mezioud had had a following out (see Correspondance Vol 6, p. 488), though it remains unclear why. As a result, the opus wasn’t published by Champ Libre / G. Lebovici, as Ouldamer’s first 3 books had been.
La Naissance de la guerre sociale en Algérie (The birth of social struggles in Algeria) from 1991 is an updated criticism of the Algerian political situation and is particularly prescient, announcing that “a civil war could erupt anytime”. History would prove Mezioud right.
Mezioud published two more works of social criticism, in 1995 and 2007 respectively. He took his own life on July 12, 2017 in Saint-Jean-de-Luz. Unsurprisingly, his death was not reported by any newspaper.
- L’Algérie brûle ! (Paris: Champ Libre, 1981)
- Offense à President (Paris: Gerard Lebovici, 1985)
- Le Cauchemar immigré dans la décomposition de la France (Paris: Gerard Lebovici, 1986)
- Le Mensonge cru : de la décomposition de la presse dans l’achèvement de l’aliénation médiatique (Paris: Siham, 1988)
- La Naissance de la guerre sociale en Algérie (Paris: Hors Commerce, 1991)
- L’Économie et son trouble (Paris: Siham, 1995)
- La Cruauté maintenant (Arles: Sulliver, 2007)