Algeria: The Seesaw Summit

All week long, an Algerian army band tootled discordantly through some 60 unfamiliar national anthems. Bureaucrats frantically cabled Paris to find out what had happened to 200 new Citroën limousines ordered for the great occasion. And Des Pins, a once tranquil seaside resort where the Algerian government insisted to the bitter end that the second Afro-Asian Conference would take place this week on schedule, looked like a manic blend of Hellzapoppin and The Last Days of Pompeii.

Battalions of workers struggled to plant trees, lay pavement, erect lamp posts. Air-conditioning and simultaneous-translation...

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