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Ahmed Ben Bella
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World Leader
    (December 25, 1918-April 11, 2012)
    Born in Maghnia, Algeria
    Founding member of the anti-colonial Front de Liberation Nationale (FLN)
    Imprisoned in France after his airplane was intercepted (1956-62)
    First president of independent Algeria (1963-65)
    Overthrown in a military coup (June 19, 1965)
    Kept under house arrest (1965-79)
    Exiled to Switzerland (1980-90)
    Returned to Algeria (1990)
    Founded the political party Le Mouvement pour la Democratie en Algerie
    His father pushed his birth year back to 1916 so he could drop out of school and help out on the farm.
    He robbed a post office to get funds for the FLN (1949), was caught and was sentenced to eight years in jail.
    He broke out via the cliche of sawing through the bars of his cell with a smuggled file. (Although in a slight twist on the cliche, the file was hidden in a loaf of bread instead of a cake.)
    In arming the FLN, he said he would accept guns from 'even the Devil himself.'
    As president, his rule became increasingly autocratic and eccentric.
    He said, 'I am the sole hope of Algeria.'
    His attempt to impose collective farming sent the economy into free-fall.
    He encouraged Algerians to volunteer to fight for Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War (1990-91).
    While serving in the French army, he played for the Olympique de Marseille soccer team and was offered a professional contract (1940).
    He won five awards for gallantry while serving with the Free French during World War II.
    He survived multiple assassination attempts by the French, including one in which he wounded the would-be assassin in a shoot-out.
    The French later admitted they had planned to shoot down his plane and decided to arrest him only after learning that the pilots and crew were French.
    He was a charismatic leader.
    He adopted two daughters, one of whom was handicapped.
    During the Algerian civil war of the 1990s, he tried to convince the Islamic Salvation Front to renounce violence.
    When he died, the government declared eight days of national mourning.

Credit: C. Fishel


    For 2019, as of last week, Out of 56 Votes: 50.0% Annoying
    In 2018, Out of 26 Votes: 50.0% Annoying
    In 2017, Out of 10 Votes: 50.0% Annoying
    In 2016, Out of 5 Votes: 60.0% Annoying
    In 2015, Out of 9 Votes: 44.44% Annoying
    In 2014, Out of 30 Votes: 50.0% Annoying
    In 2013, Out of 22 Votes: 45.45% Annoying
    In 2012, Out of 97 Votes: 54.64% Annoying
 
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