“My father did not want me to display my Algerian origins”

The Franco-Algerian actor, Kad Merad, whose real name is Kaddour Merad, once again confided in his origins by revealing that his late father who had left Algeria to join France in the 1950s did not want that he displays his Algerian origins. In an interview with a French magazine, Kad Merad went so far as to say that his father was against his children having Algerian first names.

Kad Merad, one of the most famous comedians in France, has been showing since September 14 in “Honorary Citizen”, a film telling the story of Samir Amin, an Algerian writer, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature who resided in France before deciding to return to Algeria. This film sparked controversy in Algeria even before its release. Algerian director Mohamed Hamidi is criticized by many netizens for choosing Morocco as the filming location while the film tells an Algerian story.

“Honorary Citizen” is above all a nod from Kad Merad to his own journey, which he returned to in an interview granted, Thursday, September 15, to the French magazine Society. An interview through which the French cinema star has never denied the Algerian origins inherited from his father, Mohamed Merad. Yet, as the actor reveals born in 1964 in Sidi Bel Abbes, in western Algeriahis late dad was against his children displaying their Algerian origins.

“It is thanks to mother, Janine Béguin, that I still have an Algerian first name”, says Kad Merad

Kad Merad confides in the columns of the French magazine that his father, who died a year ago, had himself changed his first name when he arrived in France in the 1950s, opting for Remy instead of Mohamed. The actor says he’s still proud of where he comes fromwhile his father preferred him to keep quiet: “He yelled at me. He always said ‘Stop saying that I am Algerian’ and explained to me that when he arrived in France in the 1950s, at 17 or 18 years, he had French nationality,” said Kad Merad.

The actor revealed that it was his mother, Janine Béguin, an ethnic Frenchwoman, who insisted that he and his two brothers and his sister bear a first name of Algerian origin. “It was she who insisted that we have Algerian first names,” he says. “My father did not want him – and all his brother’s children, who have the same story as him, are called Pierrick, Régis, etc. We are Reda, Karim, Kaddour and Yasmina. And that, It’s thanks to my mother, the Berrichonne! She was very brave at that time, especially since her mother, Paulette Béguin, was not the most welcoming with my father, “he reveals.

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