Algerian-French Mixed Committee: Pieds-Noirs Dominate the French Representation
After a long wait, the French side released its representatives in the Algerian-French mixed committee, which is in charge of discussing the memory file between the two countries, which was announced during the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to Algeria last August, but what is remarkable about it is that it was not announced by the French presidency, but by the newspaper “Le Monde”, quoting the historian Benjamin Stora, who led the first failed attempt in 2020.
The French team of historians consists of five members, led again by Benjamin Stora, who will head the mixed committee equally, according to the French source, with his Algerian counterpart, Mohamed Lahcen Zghidi, former director of the Mujahid Museum, and professor of history at the University of Algiers (but this last information is not confirmed by the Algerian party, because the presidential statement announced the members of the committee only without mentioning their names).
The French team consists of historians Tramor Quemeneur, who specializes in the liberation revolution or the “Algerian war” as the French historical literature calls it, in his capacity as Secretary General of the Committee from the French side, and Jacques Frémeaux, who specializes in the French occupation of Algeria from its beginnings, and Florence Hudowicz, director-curator of the Museum of History of France in Algeria then Curator of the Museum of Euro-Mediterranean Civilizations in Marseille, as well as Jean-Jacques Jordi, author of France’s Adventure in Algeria 1830/1962.
Among the five historians who are members of the committee from the French side, at least three are Pieds-Noirs, meaning that they were born in Algeria during the occupation era, and in addition to Benjamin Stora, who was born in Constantine, there is also Jacques Frémaux, who was born in Algeria and left it in 1962 while he was 13 years old, as well as Jean-Jacques Jordi, who was born in Bordj El Kiffan in Algiers “Fort de l’Eau”, previously, and was educated by a Jew of Algerian origin called Emile Tamine, which means that the word will be given to these historians who were born in Algeria under their majority in the French-Algeria mixed committee.
Returning to what some of these wrote, it can be said that some of them are from the circles dreaming of “French Algeria”, and at the head of these are Jacques Frémeaux, who considers the end of the occupation in Algeria to be a “disaster”, as stated in his book “The Birth and Destiny of a Colony”. Like Jean-Jacques Jordi, some of his writings are considered a beacon for the “pied-noirs” and “Harkis”, who republish them on their website and social media accounts.
As for the historian Tramor, he is not very well known compared to his colleagues in the committee from the French side, but looking at some of what he accomplished indicates that he is a small copy of Benjamin Stora, through some of the research he did, similar to what was related to the issue of soldiers who refused to be recruited into the army of the French occupation while trying not to be a proponent of the colonial ideology, which is still being promoted by circles dreaming of the “French Algeria”.
The nature of the selected names confirms the role played by Benjamin Stora on this level, on the one hand, and the French party wants to send a message to the Algerians, on the other hand, to the effect that those who are negotiating to resolve the memory file are those who were born in Algeria and left it for known historical considerations, and everyone realizes the extent of the hatred of the Pieds-Noirs (the French who were born in Algeria during the occupation era), and they present themselves as victims of Algeria’s independence, but they did not hesitate to demand what they consider the “property” that they left in Algeria, although they were the ones who took it from the Algerians by force with the help of an army occupation for 132 years of looting, oppression, starvation, killing and intimidation of native inhabitants (Algerians).
On the other hand, observers believe that the appointment of Benjamin Stora again as the head of the French team means a dedication to the French vision that Stora expressed in the report he submitted to the French presidency in January 2021, a report that was met with overwhelming rejection by Algeria, as it did not include any response to the demands that the Algerians have raised for decades, which are the demands that the French know well.