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First "International Alexander Langer Award" to Khalida Messaoudi
The guarantee committee of the association "PRO EUROPA lentius, profundius, suavius", meeting June 7, 1997 in Bologna, deliberated unanimously to assign the "Alexander Langer Prize" 1997 to Khalida Messaoudi.
The motivation was:
Today there is great urgency to direct international attention and that of willing people on what is happening in Algeria. We can not ignore the serious attacks of which the civilians in this country are victims, a country so close to us. In assigning the "Alexander Langer Prize" for 1997 to Khalida Messaoudi, the guarantee committee for the Pro Europa Association does not only want to underline the courageous acts already accomplished by this woman, but above all how much must still be done in Algeria, as a woman and a democratic person, to defend and reaffirm the principles of freedom, equality, coexistence, dignity, religious tolerance and equality between sexes which we consider universal and were already part of the ideals of many Algerian women and men during the fight for colonial liberation.
Khalida Messaoudi, 39 years old, historic protagonist of female civil rights movements in Algeria, is a primary figure of the democratic resistance who fights not to be smashed between Islamic integralism and military power.
Since 1993 she has lived semi-clandestinely in her country because she has been formally sentenced to death by the Islamic integralists. She already miraculously escaped two assassination attempts. She shares her fate with other fellow citizens, known and unknown, that work on the same project for society and to whom the advocates of a totalitarian project negate the primordial right to life and to public commitment. In 1992 she collaborated with the Algerian president Boudiaf, assassinated in June that same year in circumstances that are still not clear. She is one of the main life giving spirits of "RACHDA", co-founder of "SOS Femme en Detresse", and director of the political party "Rassemblement pour la Culture et la Democratie" (RCD) for which she was elected into Parliament in June 1997.
At the centre of her present commitments is a campaign "A million signatures" to amend the family code in existence since 1984 in favour of civil rights for Algerian women.
The guarantee committee hopes that awarding the prize to Khalida Messaoudi on October 19th, 1997 will only be the beginning of help, attention, and solidarity to the women and men in Algeria who are fighting for those principles which were among those that fundamentally absorbed Alexander Langer and today involve the association Pro Europa.