Algerian-French relationships are heading towards a new crisis, and the reason is two prominent events, of course, that characterize the scene during this week.
The first is Algeria government’s decision to resubmit a new draft law criminalizing the practices of the French occupation, and the second is the President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s pledge to bring the remains and skulls of the Algerian martyrs that are imprisoned in French museums.
After nearly ten years from burying the proposed draft law that criminalizes the French occupation, a group of MPs of the National People’s Assembly initiated a proposal for a new law criminalizing the practices of the French army, a development that also coincided with a decisive promise by the President Tebboune to revive a memory-related issue that exploded during the former regime’s era (Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s long reign) but failed to solve it.
Tebboune wrote in a post on his personal Facebook page on the occasion of the National Marty’s Day: “I renew my promise and fulfil the martyrs’ message, to retrieve our memory and our martyrs’ skulls from the former colonial country (France), the martyrs of the popular revolutions that paved the triumphant and victorious November revolution”.
The two initiatives are not new, as they were previously presented during the era of the former president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, but their resumption this time came in a circumstance that is different from the previous stage, as it is supposed that the practices of the previous regime changed due to the “popular movement” (Hirak) that rearranged many things in the house of Power and the State”.
Bouteflika’s regime confused the administration of the state with narrow personal considerations, which mortgaged the interests of the country by neglecting the memory of the martyrs and the sacrifices of Algerians, in exchange for political concessions, including buying the former colony’s silence because it supported it to continue in power at any cost.
Because of this background, the government interfered during the era of the former president, to cut off the proposed bill to criminalize the French colonial rule in the cradle, on the pretext that it harms Algeria’s foreign relations, which remain according to the description of some observers, that it is within the jurisdiction of the Presidency of the Republic, which is the justification that withdrew all attempts that were aimed at holding the former colony accountable for its crimes in Algeria and treating it based on the same acts it did in its former colony.
The justifications that were put forward by “Bouteflika’ Authority” to prevent all that harms France, is that the Evian agreements do not allow the reopening of the wounds of history, but it turned out later that those justifications were only a cheap commercial record which the “gang” system was trading with the Paris politicians.
Parliament’s Initiative (Criminalization of Colonialism) and the President’s promised to retrieve the martyrs’ skulls meet at one goal, which is to place the former colony in the corner, and make it stop escaping forward and obeying the History Court, which proved that what the French army did in Algeria, is not different from the Nazi crimes and cannot be compared to the sacrifices of an entire people, who were struggling for emancipation from a hateful settlement occupation.
This fact did not exist during the previous period, because the will of the strongest was with turning a blind eye to the crimes of the “friend” who is not “honest”, and, surely, the president Tebboune is aware of these details … but nevertheless, the criterion of the reliability of this awareness depends on how should Algeria’s Parliament handle the file of criminalizing colonialism.