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Elaine Mokhtefi: Algiers, Third World Capital

Join Elaine Mokhtefi and writer Adam Shatz as they evoke revolutionary Algiers and the dreams — and dramas — of creating a new world order it once generated.

A child of the Great Depression, Elaine Mokhtefi left the United States in the early 1950s. She was on the run from McCarthyism and from the provincialism she’d encountered as a student in segregated Georgia. After time in Paris, she moved to Algiers which, following independence in 1962, has become a beacon and safe haven for radicals all around the world. Freedom fighters, anti-fascists and political exiles flocked to it from Spain, Portugal South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and the United States. Mokhtefi, a journalist and translator, found her home here. She helped establish the International Section of the Black Panther Party, organised the first Pan-African Cultural Festival, translated for Julius Nyerere, befriended Frantz Fanon, appeared in Gilles Pontercorvo’s The Battle of Algiers, and crossed paths with the likes of Eldridge Cleaver, Ahmed Ben Bella, Miriam Makeba, Jomo Kenyatta and Stokely Carmichael.

Elaine Mokhtefi is an artist and the author of Algiers, Third World Capital (Verso, 2018).
Adam Shatz is a writer at the London Review of Books, and a visiting professor at Bard College. His essays and reporting have appeared in the New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Nation, and other publications.

In English