Macron asked for her forgiveness and recognized the French state’s responsibility in the death of her husband. This was followed by other gestures of recognition, forgiveness and restitution: the handing over to Algeria in July 2020-on the 58th anniversary of its independence-of twenty-four skulls of resistance fighters that were beheaded in the 19th century; the recognition in March 2021 of the French army’s 1957 torture and murder of the Algerian lawyer and nationalist leader Ali Boumendjel during the Battle of Algiers; asking for forgiveness, in September 2021, for the abandonment of the Harkis, followed by the reparation law of February 2022; the recognition on January 26, 2022, of the March 1962 massacre of pieds-noirs (people of French and other European origins, who were born in Algeria when it was Franch-ruled) in Algiers; and the President’s tribute to the nine peaceful demonstrators for Algerian independence killed by the police at the Charonne metro station on February 8, 1962. However, in this last case, Macron emphasized the responsibility of Maurice Papon - a French civil servant known for participating in the deportation of Jews during WWII and his torture strategies during the Algerian war - over that of the State itself. In continuing this duty to remember, the French President has also increased access to the Algerian War archives.
Despite these efforts, however, President Macron failed to receive a response from the Algerian government. After criticizing "the leaders of this country for exploiting Algeria’s history with France for their own political gain" and thus stalling reconciliations, Emmanuel Macron launched a new initiative, with the aim of reconciling various memories-regardless of whether those memories were pied-noir, Algerian Jew, Harki, Arab or Kabyle. On September 30, 2021, he thus invited 18 youths from families who had intimately experienced the Algerian War, to have an open discussion about the conflict.
Perhaps the President’s most important act of remembrance was the mission he assigned to the Algerian-born historian Benjamin Stora on July 24, 2020, with the aim of "commemorating colonization and the Algerian War." Published in January 2021, the Stora report laid the foundations for the future of the commemoration policy. Several of the initiatives recommended in this report were subsequently implemented by Macron.
In France, the report provoked mixed reactions. General Longuet, President of the National Union of Combatants, said the report lacked consideration for French soldiers who had fought in the war, and that "France cannot commemorate the implementation of the Evian Accords, because it did not bring an end to violence and death." An opinion piece was written by Harki women, denouncing Benjamin Stora’s bias against their community. The President, for his part, nevertheless continued to initiate gestures towards the Harkis.
Add new comment