Abdelmadjid Tebboune put forward this proposal during an interview with historian Benjamin Stora, who had presented Emmanuel Macron with a much-criticized report in Algeria on the memory of colonization in the country in 2021.
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune proposed a “memory work” common throughout the period of French colonization in Algeria, during an interview with French historian Benjamin Stora, the latter told AFP. The interview was all the more unprecedented as Benjamin Stora’s report on the memory of colonization and the war in Algeria, presented in January 2021 to Emmanuel Macron, had just been received in Algeria.
The historian, who was carrying a letter from the French president, was received for more than an hour on Monday in Algiers by President Tebboune, on the eve of the commemoration with great fanfare of the 60th anniversary of Algeria’s independence. “It is the first time that merit has been discussed” Algerian side on these commemorative issues since the publication of the report, underlined Benjamin Stora.
The report, which Emmanuel Macron relied on for his commemorative policy, does not support apology or repentance, which has been widely criticized in Algeria, particularly by veteran associations.
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Franco-Algerian relations also suffered a severe chill when President Macron criticized the system in September 2021 “political-military” Algerian to keep a “Commemorative rent” around the War of Independence.
The interview testifies to the ongoing warming in Franco-Algerian relations in recent weeks. “I think there is a will, to relaunch I don’t know if this is the word, but to continue a dialogue”believes Benjamin Stora, noting a “change of tone” between Paris and Algiers.
President Tebboune explained to him “the great importance of a work of memory during the entire period of colonization”beyond the Algerian war alone (1954-1962), an opinion shared by the historian.
“The war of conquest was very long and very deadly. It lasted almost half a century., from 1830 to 1871, remembers Benjamin Stora. She was marked with a “Dispossession of the land and identity” – “When people lost their land, they lost their name” – and establishing a “settlement colony”with at the end one million Europeans out of nine million inhabitants.
So many traumas that persist until today in the mutual perception of the two peoples and which ones “Explain the difficulty of Franco-Algerian relations”He said. “People don’t know what happened. This is the problem of passing on to the younger generations and working together.underlines Benjamin Stora.
“Polarization in 1962”
“In Algeria, the emphasis was essentially on the war of national liberation. There was in France as in Algeria an extreme polarization on the only sequence of the war and also of the end of the war, the years from 1960 to 1962 “, he observes. With the background of “Clashes of memory groups” around the various massacres, the exodus of black feet, the power struggles within Algerian nationalism.
“We all focused on 1962”, from the Evian accords in March to Algeria’s independence on July 5, he says. But “we cannot remain prisoners of a single date, 1962, we must broaden the field of reflection”consider.
President Tebboune did not return during the interview on the controversial remarks of Emmanuel Macron, who also questioned the existence of a “Algerian nation” before the French colonization. The memorial topic could be the subject of future exchanges between the two Heads of State.
In Benjamin Stora’s letter, the French president appeals to “Strengthen already strong ties” between the two countries and reaffirms his “commitment to continue his process of recognizing the truth and reconciling memories“. Also cites a “next” visit to Algeria.
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