Guide's Description of Kabyles, Moors, Arabs and Jews.

The Guide du Voyageur en Algerie provides numerous false notions about ethnic groups that were native inhabitants of Algeria in the “races” section of the guidebook. These served not only to portray Europeans as superior to other cultures, but also to justify European occupation of Africa.

One generalization that the guidebook makes is that Arab Algerians generally held more hostility towards foreigners than to their compatriots. The author, Quétin, attributes this behavior not to a justified suspicion of the colonizers, but instead to “lack of education.”  He then explains that only a well-organized colonial army could hope to even partially dominate the Arabs, likely because of their “imperious need for independence and freedom.” So while the author recognizes the capability of the Algerians to successfully fight against occupation, his description of them delegitimizes their claim to independence.

The “races” section also includes thoroughly biased descriptions of the cultures of Kabyles, Moors, Arabs and Jews. By disparaging the culture of the majority ethnicity in Algeria under the somewhat subtle guise of humor, Quetin is thus able to present the occupation as an almost humanitarian effort. He portrays the Arabs and Moors as belligerent (“if a leader or governor of one neighboring village makes an insult, they déclarent war on him”), arational (“An Arab must passionately love those to whom he is united [his multiple wives] for him to prefer them to his horse or his goats”), and unable to self-govern. Quétin also writes that the Arabs are incapable of scientific reasoning. The guidebook, by training its readers to view Algerians as inferior, then effectively works to create an army of colonizers who control the natives through economic and military tools.


Guide's Description of Native Ethnic Groups