Malley was "one of the best known francophone journalists of his generation" and a "partisan, fearless and controversial" writer who spoke and wrote easily in both French and English as well as his native Arabic, according to his obituary in The Guardian of London.
Life and career
Simon Malley was born in Cairo to a Jewish-Syrian family of modest circumstances. After graduating from high school, he became a journalist and was sent by an Egyptian newspaper to cover the United Nations. In New York City, he met his wife, Barbara, an American, when she worked for the United Nations delegation of the National Liberation Front (NLF), the Algerian independence group. Malley took up the cause of the NLF and was important in publicizing its cause.
He moved to France in 1969, where he founded the journal "Africasia" (its name was changed to "Afrique-Asie later on; he also began a second magazine called L'Economiste du Tiers Mondeand also then edited an English version which was called Africasia) and was led by his wife, Barbara Malley . The journal published reports from Third World areas which received relatively little coverage elsewhere, and its contributors included Third World economists and academics.
Malley became the "best known voice" of Third World anti-colonialist movements. He conducted a 20-hour interview with Fidel Castro, and long interviews with Yasser Arafat and Oliver Tambo. "At Non-Aligned Movement meetings other journalists had press passes; he had a delegate's pass", according to his obituary in The Guardian. One of the Third World movements that the magazine was friendly toward was the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Afrique Asie became a longtime critic of the regimes of King Hassan II of Morocco and Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire, among others. Malley was a strong critic of French foreign policy and alleged intelligence activities in Africa. In October 1980, at the end of the administration of French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, French special services police pulled Malley from a taxi and put him on a plane to New York City without his passport. In the airport at New York, an airline employee helped him avoid customs in order to take another flight, and he spent eight months in Geneva, Switzerland editing his journal until the election of President François Mitterrand, then returned to France with the assent of the new administration.
Simon and Barbara Malley's son, Robert Malley, was a national security advisor in the Clinton administration and foreign policy advisor in the Barack Obama presidential campaign. Robert Malley wrote about Third Worldism and its decline in his book, The Call From Algeria: Third Worldism, Revolution, and the Turn to Islam, described in a Times Literary Supplement review as "a personal perspective on the movement in which his father played a notable part, and an epitaph of sorts." Their other son, Richard, is a prominent pediatrician at Children's Hospital Boston where he develops affordable vaccines for use in the developing world. Simon and Barbara Malley also have a daughter, Nadia, who works in a travel clinic and is active in various political and social issues.
- Brittain, Victoria, "Obituary: Simon Malley: Journalist with rare insight into Africa's anti-colonial struggles", The Guardian, September 27, 2006. Retrieved on January 27, 2008
- Miller, Aaron David (March 9, 2008). "The Israel litmus test". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 29 December 2008.[dead link]
- Web page titled "The Call From Algeria" at The University of California Press website. Retrieved January 27, 2008