In January 2021 the French historian Benjamin Stora delivered a report commissioned by President Emmanuel Macron that is aimed at “reconciling memories” between France and its former colony Algeria. The French head of state said he would follow a recommendation in the report and establish a “memories and truth” commission to address the history of France’s colonial past in Algeria, but he stopped short of issuing an official apology. The report itself has attracted criticism in both France and Algeria. Mediapart has asked two Algerian historians, Afaf Zekkour and Noureddine Amara, for their views of the document and of Franco-Algeiran relations in general. The pair criticise Stora for what they call “soft revisionism” and for prioritising France's needs for a united view over the recounting of history. Rachida El Azzouzi reports.
The commission was a central recommendation of a report presented to Mr Macron last week by historian Benjamin Stora that marks another attempt to try to come to terms with one of the most sensitive periods of French history.
The skulls of 24 Algerian fighters who were shot and decapitated by occupying French forces during the 19th-century campaign to colonize the country, and which had since been kept in a Paris museum until their return to Algeria this weekend, were buried amid an emotional ceremony at a cemetery close to the capital Algiers on Sunday.
France is returning to Algeria the remains of 24 combattants killed in the 19th century during the early French colonialisation of the North African country which finally won independence in 1962 after a bitter eight-year war.
The North African country’s new president has put shale gas back on the agenda, an unpopular, short-sighted move that has added to the complaints of a restive population whose protests brought about dramatic regime change last year. Rachida El Azzouzi reports.
Mathilde Panot, a senior Member of Parliament for France's radical left opposition party La France Insoumise (LFI) ('France Unbowed'), travelled to Algeria to show her solidarity for the people taking part in the 'Hirak' or popular movement against the regime there. But after two days she and her delegation were arrested and taken to the capital Algiers where she was effectively placed under house arrest in an hotel. After an intervention by France's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mathilde Panot was eventually put on a plane back to France. Mediapart's Rachida El Azzouzi, Pauline Graulle and Khedidja Zerouali report on events which highlight the continuing repression of opposition voices in Algeria.
by Rachida El Azzouzi, Pauline Graulle and Khedidja Zerouali
Franco-Algerian economist El Mouhoub Mouhoud has talked to Mediapart about the economic and social origins of the current Algerian revolt. He criticises the inertia of the regime under President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, which has put off structural reform and driven the country into an economic and social dead end. Rachida El Azzouzi reports.
Authorities in the French city of Bayonne are struggling to cope with the number of migrants coming from across the nearby Spanish border. Mediapart met Joseph and Moriba, 'blood brothers' who are seeking France's protection after nearly dying at sea crossing to Europe from Morocco. After a legal battle, Joseph has now been recognised as a minor by the French courts while Moriba's request will be heard on appeal shortly. Mathilde Mathieu reports.
Seven Trappist monks who were murdered in Algeria in 1996 were among 19 Catholic clergy killed in the country during an insurgency by hardline Islamists to be beatified on Saturday by the Vatican – the first step in the Church's process to award a person sainthood.