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إدارة الموقع

Collective Memory! France Honors Its Victims, Ignores Algerians Once Again

Mohamed Moslem / English version: Dalila Henache
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Collective Memory! France Honors Its Victims, Ignores Algerians Once Again

The French presidency published a statement on Monday, on the occasion of the “(French) National Day to honour those who died for France during the war in Algeria and the fighting in Morocco and Tunisia,” which included a bomb message that may not be welcomed by the Algerian authorities, at a time when the French president Emmanuel Macron, appears keen to reconcile memory between Algeria and Paris.

The statement reads: “Every December 5, France honours the memory of those who died for France during the war in Algeria and the fighting in Morocco and Tunisia, by dedicating a national day to them. This year, as we have just commemorated the 60th anniversary of the end of the Algerian war, this national day has a particular echo”.

“In recent months, our nation has been able to take a look at the history of colonialism and war in Algeria, and embarked on a journey of enlightened recognition through the necessary and permanent work of historians,” the French presidency added, referring to the development of some proposals included in the report of historian Benjamin Stora, on the memory of the French colonialism in Algeria that was limited, as is well known, to the recognition of the occupation army’s liquidation of both the fighter and rebel for the Algerian cause, Maurice Audin and the fighter and lawyer for the liberation revolution, Ali Boumendjel, which remains, in the opinion of historians, much less than what the Algerian people expect”.

The statement conveyed recognition by the French state to everyone who sacrificed for it in its war on the Algerian people but without reference to the main party affected by this war, which has destroyed everything over 132 years of occupation, killing, looting and systematic destruction of the fundamentals of Algeria and the capabilities of its people; “Those who have gone through these difficult times, bearing often painful living memories, are all recognized as such by the nation, in their diversity. All stem from the same history and shared memory. It is up to us to acknowledge their efforts, their glories and their sorrows”. The French presidency also spoke of a promise to transmit “an enlightened and peaceful memory that is the mark of the vitality of our nation”.

The most dangerous of all of this is what was included in the last paragraph of the statement and what it carried of vague and suspicious messages, which may not pass without leaving a debate in Algeria due to the sensitivity of the memory file and its direct effects on bilateral relations. The statement combined various events in terms of objectives that occurred during the liberation war, some of which are still shrouded in mystery.

The statement spoke of the French nation’s honouring of civilian victims who fell in each of Algiers Milk Bar in the previously called La rue d’Isly (currently called Larbi Ben M’hidi street, and in Oran…; “Today, everywhere in France, in front of our war memorials, the representatives of the State will lay a wreath in the name of the President of the Republic. Civilian victims at the Milk Bar, rue d’Isly, in Oran and elsewhere, soldiers called up from the contingent, auxiliary or engaged in a career, killed in action or missing, all deserve the homage of the Nation”.

It is known that the bombing of the “Milk Bar” is considered, in the eyes of Algerians, a heroic act carried out by the fighter Zohra Drif, against the remnants of French colonialism and those who encourage colonization, and under the directives of the leadership of the National Liberation Front, as the only legitimate representative of the Algerian people at that time, and it is a political position in the form of legitimate revolutionary act.

As for linking this incident to another incident that occurred on July 5, 1962, in Oran, it is considered, in the eyes of many, incomprehensible, because the Oran incident is still shrouded in a lot of mystery, although some French tried to place responsibility on the National Liberation Front, while the evidence is absent. In addition, logic does not support that trend, because Algeria at that time was witnessing the transfer of power from the French to the young state, and therefore it was not in its interest to violate the ceasefire documented in the Evian agreements.

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