Kassaman (Qassaman)

The national anthem of Algeria, known as “Kassaman” or “the oath,” holds deep significance for the Algerian people. It represents their struggle for independence and their unwavering commitment to their nation. In this article, we will delve into the history, lyrics, and cultural importance of Kassaman.

History

Kassaman’s origins can be traced back to the turbulent period of Algeria’s fight for independence from French colonial rule. The lyrics were written by Moufdi Zakaria, a renowned Algerian nationalist poet, during his imprisonment in 1955. Zakaria, a member of the Algerian People’s Party, penned the powerful words of Kassaman in his jail cell, using his blood as ink on the walls of Barbarossa prison.

During this time, Algeria experienced a surge in nationalist sentiments, and the struggle against French oppression intensified. Zakaria’s poignant lyrics embodied the spirit of the Algerian people and their determination to achieve freedom and self-determination.

Lyrics

The lyrics of Kassaman are a testament to the Algerian people’s resilience and their unwavering commitment to their nation.

These verses evoke a sense of sacrifice and dedication, highlighting the Algerian people’s willingness to give their lives for the freedom and prosperity of their homeland. The subsequent verses of Kassaman further emphasize the Algerian people’s fight for justice, their rejection of colonial oppression, and their resolute determination to build a better future for Algeria.

Also known as“Qassaman” (English: “We Pledge”)
LyricsMoufdi Zakaria
MusicMohamed Fawzi
Adopted1962
Readopted2008
Preceded byLa Marseillaise

Arabic Original

قسما بالنازلات الماحقات
و الدماء الزاكيات الطاهرات
و البنود اللامعات الخافقات
في الجبال الشامخات الشاهقات
نحن ثرنا فحياة أو ممات
و عقدنا العزم أن تحيا الجزائر
فاشهدوا… فاشهدوا… فاشهدوا

٢
نحن جند في سبيل الحق ثرنا
و إلى استقلالنا بالحرب قمنا
لم يكن يصغى لنا لما نطقنا
فاتخذنا رنة البارود وزنا
و عزفنا نغمة الرشاش لحنا
وعقدنا العزم أن تحيا الجزائر
فاشهدوا… فاشهدوا… فاشهدوا

٣
يا فرنسا قد مضى وقت العتاب
و طويناه كما يطوى الكتاب
يا فرنسا ان ذا يوم الحساب
فاستعدي و خذي منا الجواب
ان في ثورتنا فصل الخطاب
و عقدنا العزم أن تحيى الجزائر
فاشهدوا… فاشهدوا… فاشهدوا

٤
نحن من أبطالنا ندفع جندا
و على أشلائنا نصنع مجدا
و على أرواحنا نصعد خلدا
و على هاماتنا نرفع بندا
جبهة التحرير أعطيناك عهدا
و عقدنا العزم أن تحيا الجزائر
فاشهدوا… فاشهدوا… فاشهدوا

٥
صرخة الأوطان من ساح الفدا
اسمعوها و استجيبوا للندا
و اكتبوها بدماء الشهدا
و اقرأوها لبني الجيل غدا
قد مددنا لك يا مجد يدا
و عقدنا العزم أن تحيا الجزائر
فاشهدوا… فاشهدوا… فاشهدوا

English Version

I
We swear by the lightning that destroys,
By the streams of generous blood being shed,
By the bright flags that wave,
Flying proudly on the high mountains
That we are in revolt, whether to live or to die,
We are determined that Algeria should live,
So be our witness -be our witness -be our witness!

II
We are soldiers in revolt for truth
And we have fought for our independence.
When we spoke, nobody listened to us,
So we have taken the noise of gunpowder as our rhythm
And the sound of machine guns as our melody,
We are determined that Algeria should live,
So be our witness -be our witness -be our witness!

III
O France, the time of reproof is over
And we have closed it as a book is closed;
O France, this is the day of reckoning
So prepare to receive from us our answer!
In our revolution is the end of empty talk;
We are determined that Algeria should live,
So be our witness -be our witness -be our witness!

IV
From our heroes we shall make an army come to being,
From our dead we shall build up a glory,
Our spirits shall ascend to immortality
And on our shoulders we shall raise the Standard.
To the nation's Liberation Front we have sworn an oath,
We are determined that Algeria should live,
So be our witness -be our witness -be our witness!

V
The cry of the motherland sounds from the battlefields.
Listen to it and answer the call!
Let it be written with the blood of martyrs
And be read to future generations.
Oh, Glory, we have held out our hand to you,
We are determined that Algeria should live,
So be our witness -be our witness -be our witness!

Musical Composition

The musical composition of Kassaman has evolved. Initially, Algerian composer Mohamed Touri composed the first rendition of the anthem. However, subsequent versions were created by Tunisian composer Mohamed Triki and ultimately Egyptian composer Mohamed Fawzi. Fawzi’s composition, adopted in 1962, remains the official music of the Algerian national anthem to this day.

The composition of Kassaman captures the spirit of the Algerian people, blending traditional melodies with contemporary elements. The music resonates with pride, strength, and the collective memory of Algeria’s struggle for independence.

Cultural Significance of Kassaman, The Algerian National Anthem

The Algerian National Anthem holds immense cultural significance for the Algerian people. It serves as a powerful symbol of unity, resilience, and national identity. The anthem is performed at various national and international events, including sporting competitions, official ceremonies, and cultural festivals.

When the Algerian national team competes on the international stage, the rendition of Kassaman before the match ignites a sense of pride and motivation among both the players and the spectators. The anthem’s powerful lyrics and stirring melody create an atmosphere of unity and solidarity, reminding everyone of the struggles and sacrifices that paved the way for Algerian independence.

The Algerian National Anthem and Independence

On July 5, 1962, Algeria finally gained independence from French colonial rule. This historic moment marked the culmination of years of resistance, sacrifice, and determination. Kassaman, which had served as a rallying cry during the struggle for independence, was officially adopted as the national anthem of Algeria.

The song’s enduring popularity and its connection to the nation’s fight for freedom solidified Kassaman’s position as a cherished symbol of Algeria’s independence and the resilience of its people.

Contemporary Significance

Even today, Kassaman remains an important part of Algerian culture and national identity. The anthem is a reminder of the sacrifices made by previous generations and serves as an inspiration for current and future Algerians.

The lyrics of Kassaman, with their powerful imagery and unwavering commitment to the nation, continue to resonate with Algerians of all ages. The anthem’s performance at public events and gatherings evoke a sense of unity and patriotism, fostering a strong connection between the people and their country.

Conclusion

Kassaman, the national anthem of Algeria, encapsulates the spirit of a nation’s struggle for independence and its unwavering commitment to its people. The lyrics penned by Moufdi Zakaria and the composition by Mohamed Fawzi unite Algerians in their shared history, values, and aspirations.

As Algerians proudly sing the words of Kassaman, they celebrate their hard-fought freedom and honour the sacrifices made by those who came before them. The anthem serves as a reminder of the resilience and determination of the Algerian people, inspiring generations to come to uphold the values it represents.

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