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France takes another step forward in memory work on the Algerian war



President Macron took another step forward in the work of remembrance initiated on the Algerian war on Saturday, October 16. Just sixty years after the repression by the Parisian police of Algerian demonstrators which had caused dozens of deaths, the Head of State presided over a ceremony of tribute to the victims in the presence in particular of relatives or their descendants.

Emmanuel Macron did not give a speech during this commemoration, but a text was published at its end. “The crimes committed that night under the authority of Maurice Papon are inexcusable for the Republic. France looks at its entire history with lucidity and recognizes the clearly established responsibilities. “

It is not in the strict sense of a text from the president, but a statement from the Elysee Palace, formulated in the third person: the president “Observed a minute of silence”, “He recognized the facts”, etc. A form which, like the choice of words, reflects the extreme sensitivity of the subject. In 2012, François Hollande recognized the “Bloody repression”, but he had not named those responsible. The associative world and all the left and environmental parties are demanding the recognition of a “State crime”.

Emmanuel Macron was not that far, but is approaching it since he talks about “Crimes inexcusable for the Republic”. A new step which, however, left a feeling of dissatisfaction among most associations. Dominique Sopo, president of SOS Racisme, emphasizes “Welcome advances” while regretting “The reluctance of Emmanuel Macron”. The fact that only Maurice Papon’s name was cited is read as a form of denial. The press release does not mention the role of the then Minister of the Interior, Roger Frey, nor that of the Prime Minister, Michel Debré, nor, finally, that of the president, General de Gaulle.

Author of a report on colonization and the Algerian war (1954-1962) submitted to the Head of State in January, Benjamin Stora, who was present at the ceremony, understands the presidential caution. “General de Gaulle gave firm instructions but he never asked that we fire by bullets, nor did all the ministers”, explained the historian, Sunday morning on France Inter.

Emmanuel Macron had recognized in 2018 the responsibility of the State in the assassination of the communist activist Maurice Audin then, on March 2, 2021, his responsibility in that of Ali Boumendjel. Finally, on September 20, he asked ” sorry “ to the harkis and announced the vote of a law of recognition and reparation. “The president decided to lead this memorial battle in a methodical and organized manner, Benjamin Stora analysis. We have made more progress on the memorial site in a few months than in sixty years. “

A few weeks before the presidential election, Emmanuel Macron also knows that he is evolving in undermined political terrain. Saturday, October 16, the candidate of the National Rally Marine Le Pen criticized “These repetitions of unbearable repetition”, while LR deputy Eric Ciotti, running for the candidacy, lambasted “President Macron’s anti-French victim propaganda”. Next step, March 16, for the 60 years of the Evian agreements.

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