With the current situation in Egypt, we tend to forget these movements have had a history and, for all intents and purposes, a recent one. Recent, in the sense that in the past fifty or so years (which in terms of nations is pretty recent) the entire region has undergone a series of independence movements brought about as the result of former colonial rule.
Algeria is a case in point, since there have been flare-ups of late indirectly connected with Tunisia and, in fact many other Arab nations. Both countries, if you remember were French colonies who received independence around the same time but have been struggling with military-backed governments, corruption and class structure.
In 1957 though, Algeria was still very much under French rule and the war for Independence had been escalating since 1954 and had been fomenting since the end of World War 2 and wouldn't be finally resolved until 1962.
This documentary, Algeria Aflame, was produced for CBS Radio on October 1957 and outlines the intense struggle that was going on and how it was affecting the French people.
It's interesting to look at this to get a better understanding why the entire region is so volatile right now and how these things don't just happen overnight. In retrospect, independence for them is a relatively recent thing.
And when you think about it, we went through the exact same situation a couple hundred years ago.
We just didn't have cable then.