This chapter explores how women in rural and urban areas explain their engagement in the Front de Libération Nationale (National Liberation Front, FLN). Central to any nationalist construction of the history of the nation are, firstly, lineage and, secondly, clear dividing lines between who belongs and who does not. Lineage refers not only to the ancestors who can be traced back through blood, language and culture, but also to the genealogy of the nationalist movement: that is to say, the events, people and political predecessors which nationalist movements draw upon in order to present their existence as a historical inevitability, the logical culmination of everything which went before. These genealogies require clear distinctions between ‘us’ and ‘them’. Picking a side, especially in times of conflict, is presented as a moral decision between right and wrong, devoid of any other context, and each side is presented as a homogenous bloc. This chapter demonstrates that the complexity and ambiguity of lived experience does not preclude interviewees sharing in such an idealised vision of the war.
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