Mohamed Harbi was born in 1933 into a wealthy family in El Harrouch, Algeria. At the age of 15, he joined the FLN. According to his later memoirs, Harbi lived underground in France and gathered support for the Algerian independence. 1954-1962 he was in a prominent position in the FLN.
After the Algerian War of Independence, he became an advisor to new president, Ahmed Ben Bella and later a member of his cabinet. According to his memoirs, Harbi tried to resist the increasingly authoritarian approach of the new government and urged Ben Bella to arm the people to avert a military coup.
In June 1965 Houari Boumedienne seized power and arrested Ben Bella. Two months later Harbi was also imprisoned. For the next six years he was transferred between prisons until he was placed in house arrest in 1971. In 1973 he escaped to Tunisia with a false Turkish passport and from there moved to Paris.
In France, Harbi began to teach political science in the University of Paris.
During his house arrest, Harbi had begun to write the history of the independence movement and in 1975 published a book The history of FLN. His inside view of the movement was not the one FLN cherished and he began to receive death threats from three sides; Algerian secret police, Algerian Islamic militants and French ultra nationalists.
Currently Harbi lives in Paris, retired from the university. The first part of his memoirs was published in 2003.
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