The Question by Henri Alleg

Henri Alleg's, The Question, provides afirst hand yet'unsentimental' account of (Pg.vii) of the torture inflicted upon him in Algeria as a result of his involvement with the Algerian National Liberation Movement. The candid and unembellished nature of Alleg's account allows it to transcend the question of French treatment of the Algerians and all who stood in their favor and moves on to question the very nature of humanity; which is why the power of the account still resonates. Torture is after all an act of imposing pain, be it physical or psychological and takes its toll on both the tortured and the torturer. It is hard to decide which is more devastating, the brutality described in The Question or the apathy mixed with misplaced admiration for the ability to withstand torture-instead of the appropriate response of sympathy-within the French Army.
Because Alleg only narrates his experience without interweaving any political argument he allows the readers the liberty to form their own conclusions on the political situation in Algeria. He appeals to the readers' humanity, eliciting a stronger response, that of outrage. Furthermore, this sentiment of outrage is compounded by the disbelief that comes with knowing that the very people who have become torturers were tortured only fifteen years prior. That the very people who had been tortured and persecuted by the Gestapo were now the people who proudly called themselves the Gestapo to establish the intensity of torture they perpetrate. (Pg. 47) This only adds to the value of the book and explains the impact it had in France it appeals to each and every person with the slightest sense of clemency. More than anything, he argues that employment of torture as a means of'interrogation' is wrong and that this statement stands regardless of one's socio-political beliefs.
The Question is a particularly valuable source of information because it …


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