Emmanuel Macron: French President Macron called on to set up a “truth commission” on abuses in Algeria | World News – Times of India

PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron has ruled out making a formal apology for the abuses committed in Algeriahis office said Wednesday, as a major report called for a “truth commission” to shed light on France’s colonial past.
The French presidency said there was “no question of repenting” or “apologizing” for the occupation of Algeria or the bloody eight-year war that ended 132 years of French rule .
Presidential aides said it was more important to end the culture of “denial and unspoken” surrounding France’s past in Algeria and said Macron would undertake “symbolic acts” of reconciliation.
The historian Benjamin Stora, charged by the president to assess the progress made by France in the face of its past, described Wednesday in a report a “war of endless memory” between the former colonial power and the colony, locked in “competing claims of victimization.”.
Stora made a number of proposals, including the creation of a mixed Franco-Algerian “memory and truth commission” that would hear the testimonies of people who suffered during the Algerian war and stimulate reconciliation efforts.
The atrocities committed by both parties during the Algerian War of Independence of 1954-1962 continue to strain relations between the two countries six decades later.
Macron, the first president born after the colonial period, went further than any of his predecessors in acknowledging the crimes committed by French forces.
But he drew the line in an official apology, vehemently opposed by many members of the French right who view acts of national repentance as acts of treason.
Some of the “symbolic acts” planned by Macron include attending three days of commemoration next year marking the 60th anniversary of the end of the Algerian war, said an aide to the president, who asked not to be named .
One of these days will mark the repression of a demonstration of Algerians in France in 1961. Another will commemorate the “Harkis” – Algerians who fought alongside French forces in Algeria and who were forced to flee after the war .
The commemorations were part of the proposals made by Stora, who said it was more important to acknowledge past wrongs than to apologize.
No other event in France’s colonial history has had such a profound impact on the national psyche as the Algerian War.
More than a million French conscripts participated in the conflict, which claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Algerians.
During his presidential campaign in 2017, Macron angered the right by declaring that the colonization of Algeria was a “crime against humanity”.
A year later, he acknowledged that France had put in place a system facilitating torture during the Algerian War, a rare admission in a country where the colonization of Algeria has long been considered benign.
“In French political culture, anti-colonialism has always been an extremely marginal movement,” historian Sylvie Thenault told AFP.
“There is a deep conviction that the French Republic is a force for good which thwarts the possibility of criticizing what is being done in the name of the Republic, ”she added.
France’s crackdown on the Algerian independence movement, including its liberal use of torture, has left a deep well of bitterness and resentment that Macron has linked to the issue of radicalization among North African immigrants from second and second. third generation.
But there are also long-standing grievances from other sides.
After independence, hundreds of thousands of European settlers fearing reprisals fled to France, a heart-wrenching exodus that sowed the seeds of anti-Arab sentiment that fueled the rise of the far right.
Many “Harkis” were left at the mercy of lynch mobs after the war, while those who managed to escape to France found themselves interned in WWII camps.
Speaking to Jeune Afrique magazine in November, Macron described France as being “locked in a kind of pendulum between two positions: apologies and repentance on the one hand and denial and pride on the other.
“As for me, I would like truth and reconciliation,” he said.
Some of Macron’s predecessors had also taken steps to break the wall of silence surrounding France’s past in Algeria.
Jacques Chirac recognized the massacre of civilians in the city of Sétif in 1945 and in 2012 François Hollande recognized the “suffering” caused by colonization.

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