Graphic novel tells grim story of French colonial massacre


In their graphic novel 'Morts par la France' ('Killed by France'), the journalist-artist duo of Pat Perna and Nicolas Oter trace the footsteps of historian Armelle Mabon who has shed crucial new light on what is known as the massacre of Thiaroye. This took place on December 1st, 1944, when African troops who had fought for the Allies and been imprisoned by the Germans were gunned down by the French Army near Dakar in Senegal. For many years the French authorities concealed the full scale and horror of the massacre. Rachida El Azzouzi reports.

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Armelle Mabon had her life turned upside down after reading a poem. The work in question was 'Tyaroye', part of a collection of works called Hosties Noires by the poet Léopold Sédar Senghor. In the poem the Senegalese writer and politician resurrects the memory and dignity of the African colonial troops – former prisoners of war - who were gunned down by the French Army on December 1st, 1944, in the Thiaroye military camp outside Dakar in Senegal, then part of French West Africa.