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إدارة الموقع

Macron’s New Step Towards the Pieds-Noirs

Mohamed Moslem / English version: Dalila Henache
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Macron’s New Step Towards the Pieds-Noirs

After he ended the case of the French state with Harkis by apologizing to them, allocating special grants to them and their families, and enacting a law that restores their consideration, the French President, Emmanuel Macron, turned to another category “damaged” by Algeria’s independence, namely the Pieds-Noirs, those who seized the bounties and property of the Algerians during the hateful colonial era.

In a statement, the French presidency said that Emmanuel Macron will take a “step” today, Wednesday, during a meeting with the associations of the repatriated from Algeria (rapatriés d’Algérie), or known as Pieds-Noirs, at the Elysee Palace.

The Elysee Palace’s statement didn’t provide more details and the French presidency clarified that “one of the prominent points in the statements of the President of the French Republic will focus on what happened on March 26 in Algiers” and specifically on Algiers’ Isly Street, which is currently called Larbi Ben M’hidi Street.

On this date and this street, bloody events occurred only a week after the signing of the Evian Accords on March 19, 1962, which stipulated a ceasefire between the Liberation Army and the French state, which was not welcomed by the colonisers and the Europeans who did not expect this earthquake, who felt that they lost the Paradise of French Algeria.

Their reaction to the cease-fire and the independence of Algeria was violent against the colonial authorities, so they came out in hundreds to demonstrate in Larbi Ben M’hidi Street (Isly Street), demanding that Algeria remain French, heading towards the neighbourhoods of Bab El Oued, and a bloody altercation occurred between the protestors and the French army, which led to dozens of victims at a security checkpoint, while the occupation army accused the protestors of shooting at them and the response was self-defence, the protestors said that they went out in peaceful demonstrations, but they were surprised by the shooting against them.

According to some testimonies, the shooting, which lasted for more than a quarter of an hour, according to various sources, resulted in the deaths of at least fifty civilian demonstrators. Many historians said this tragic incident constituted a defining moment in the relationship between the French occupation army and the Pieds-Noirs or the colonizers as the Algerians like to call them, so many of them had to flee Algeria because they lost those who were defending them against the Algerians who own the land over many decades.

The expected step from the French President comes within a series of steps related to memory, which he has taken since he was elected President of France, and he started on September 14, 2018, when he admitted, in the name of the French Republic, that the fighter supporting the National Liberation Front, and mathematician Maurice Audin, had been tortured until death by the French army in 1957, contrary to what was officially promoted by the colonial authorities, as they did in the case of the FLN’s lawyer and fighter, Ali Boumendjel, who was in turn tortured and assassinated on March 23, 1957, by the French army.

On September 20, 2021, Macron apologized to Harkis for what he considered were neglected by the French state, while this apology is codified through a law understudy at the level of the French Senate, which includes moral and material reparation for the damage inflicted on this category after the Evian agreements.

If the French president tried to give the impression to Algeria that he is moving at the same pace on both sides, by denouncing the tragic events that took place in the French capital, Paris on October 17, 1961, when the French police threw Algerian protestors handcuffed and feet cuffed into the Seine, but this step remains without the hoped-demands of the Algerians.

While the Algerians are demanding that there must be an apology for the French crimes in Algeria from 1830 until independence, Macron seeks to dilute these demands by focusing on a particular small part, ignoring the main issue, which is the crimes of colonialism that cannot be omitted with a statute of limitations.

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