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Behind every kabyle man, a strong woman

  Fadhma Si Ahmed Ou Meziane, known as Lalla Fadhma(Fatma) N'Soumer (1830 - 1863) is a Kabyle woman and a brave fighter who resisted the conquest of Algeria by France in the 1850.She is from a conservative marabout (where man dominated and still dominates) family that was connected by its social and religious conduct to the brotherhood of Rahmanya, from the village of Ouerja. Her father is Sidi Mohammed Ben Aïssa, the head of a Quranic school and her mother is Lalla Khadidja. She had four elder brothers. She received a religious education at early age that what distinguished her from the girls of her generation, including exceptional beauty and refined education. When she reached the age of sixteen, her father married her to her cousin. But on the day of her marriage, she pretended to be ill, and her husband sent her back to her parents, refusing the divorce. She remained under his tutelage throughout his life. She opted for a life of asceticism and devoted herself to prayer and devotion, deepening her theological knowledge and taking over the affairs of the zaouia Rahmanya in Ouerja village. After the death of her father, she left her native village and went to Soumer where her elder brother Si Tahar resided. Lalla Fatma N'Soumer was influenced by his elder brother who mastered the various religious and objective sciences. She acquired from him the various theological necessary knowledge and her reputation spread throughout all the regions of Kabylia. She was considered as a Berber prophetess or a Muslim druid.

    Fadhma N'Summer is the heroine of the kabyle resistance to French occupation by the armies of Marshal Randon, over the years1850-1857. Since his youth, she had grown up in hatred of colonialism and resistance against him. Her resistance to colonialism, in which she displayed exceptional courage and heroism, was unusually violent. When French troops entered the region of Djurdjura (mountain range north of Kabylia), Cherif Boubaghla, initiated a great movement of popular Kabyle revolt. Fadhma joins him immediately, firstly in collecting the useful food for the insurgents, then actively taking part in the defense of the country. Without arms, she exhorted, rallied, and inspired the troops, which she led to the combat. She participated in the men's assemblies, winning the title of Lalla, honorary title reserved for women because of their age or rank, like the title Sidi for men. During one of the battles she showed exceptional courage to save Sherif Boubaghla who had remained in the village of Soumeur during the first confrontation that took place in the village of Tezrouts between the troops of General Maissiat and the inhabitants. However, the latter were forced to retreat after a fierce resistance because of the imbalance of the relationship of forces materially and humanly. She provided Sherif Boubaghla with the necessary care when he was wounded during the battle.

   After the death of Sherif Boubaghla (1854), she continued the struggle and recorded several victories against the enemy to her credit. As an example, in 1854, in Oued Sebaou, Fadhma(at the age of 24) gave to the French army a lesson of determination and courage. Thus, Fadhma proved that the conduct of the Algerian resistance was not the exclusive domain of the men but that even the women participated. 

The French then demanded reinforcements, and in 1857 the Kabylian insurgents found themselves facing an army of 35,000 men. Fadhma calls her troops to fight till the end to protect the country's freedom, but she loses the battle. She was arrested on 27 July 1857 in Takhlijt Ath Atsou village near Tirourda, and imprisoned. The trial of her imprisonment, the frustration of not being able to lead his people to victory and the insults which she undergoes, affects her and deteriorates her health. She died in captivity at the age of 33 in 1863

   Lalla Fadhma N'Soumer proved to be a force to be reckoned with, a girl with her own way of thinking and in later years a woman that was revered by others and became a legendary figure. Lalla Fadhma N'Soumer became synonymous with the Kabyle Resistance Movement and was a key figure in the fight against the French invasion. Her bravery is still alive in songs and depictions in the country, especially among kabyle people. In 1995, her remains were moved from the cemetery of Sidi Abdellah and reburied in El Alia (in Algiers), the martyrs ' cemetery.

Behind every kabyle man, a strong woman (Written by ARAB Sabrina)


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