Algiers and Paris agree on the memorial minimal | EUROtoday

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VSt was in a sparse parliamentary enclosure that the National Assembly accredited, Thursday March 28, a proposed decision condemning the bloodbath of October 17, 1961 of Algerians in Paris, below the authority of the police prefect on the time Maurice Papon, throughout which between thirty and greater than 200 peaceable demonstrators died, in line with historians.

The decision handed, which has above all a symbolic significance, “condemns the bloody and murderous repression of Algerians committed under the authority of the police prefect Maurice Papon October 17, 1961” in Paris, and in addition “wishes” “the inclusion of a day of commemoration” in “the agenda of national days and official ceremonies”.

Descendants of the victims of the repression of October 17, 1961 had been current within the hemicycle and had been applauded by deputies after the vote. Supported by the ecologist Sabrina Sebaihi and the Renaissance deputy Julie Delpech, the decision was accredited by 67 deputies (left and Renaissance), whereas 11 deputies from the National Rally (RN) voted towards. “I see a desire to destabilize our country through lies, fake news,” responded RN deputy Frank Giletti. The latter attacked a textual content based mostly, in line with him, on “lies based on FLN propaganda of the time”, whereas qualifying the National Liberation Front as a “terrorist” motion, “like Hamas [palestinien] is today.”

Algiers expected an “official apology”

On October 17, 1961, thousands of Algerians demonstrated at the call of the FLN in Paris against the curfew imposed “on Algerian employees” in the capital and its suburbs, “significantly between 8:30 p.m. and 5 a.m. 30 within the morning”, in line with the press launch from the Paris prefecture. Measure justified by the authorities on the time as a result of FLN assaults in Paris, which notably focused law enforcement officials. The response of the police and the remedy of these arrested represent, in line with historians, a “massacre” because the historian described it. Jean-Luc Einaudi. The latter reopened this file, which had remained closed for many years, along with his work The Battle of Paris, revealed in 1991. That similar yr, the primary commemoration organized by Franco-Algerians befell. But it was solely in 2001 that the City of Paris, with the socialist Bertrand Delanoë at its head, formally acknowledged these occasions by inaugurating a stele on the Saint-Michel bridge.

On October 17, 2012, President François Hollande revealed a press launch : “On October 17, 1961, Algerians demonstrating for the right to independence were killed during a bloody repression. The Republic lucidly recognizes these facts. Fifty-one years after this tragedy, I pay tribute to the memory of the victims. » Algiers had welcomed “the good intentions” of Paris, whereas ready for an “official apology”.

Since Thursday's parliamentary vote, Algeria has not but formally reacted. But the federal government day by day El Moudjahid he feedback enthusiastically in a big headline on the entrance web page this Saturday: “A step towards refoundation”. “The recent decisions taken by the French Parliament augur a new stage in the rebuilding of bilateral relations and things are being put in place positively, slowly,” writes the official media, which recollects that Emmanuel Macron “had already takes a first step in this direction, by declaring, in October 2021, that “the crimes committed on October 17, 1961 under the authority of Maurice Papon are inexcusable for the Republic”. Already in October 2021, Macron was the first French president to pay an official tribute to these Algerian victims of repression and had placed a wreath of flowers on the Bezons bridge, which had been taken by the demonstrators that rainy evening of October 17, 1961. This commemoration had been recommended by the report Stora, handed over a few months earlier to Macron, on the memory of colonization and the Algerian war.

This same October 17, 2021 took place another ceremony passed almost unnoticed but heavy with symbols: the former police chief Didier Lallement had laid a wreath of flowers near the Seine, with bells ringing for the dead and a minute of silence “in memory of the deaths of October 17, 1961”.

Exit the time period “state crime”

But this initiative from Parliament – ​​preceded by a earlier one from the Senate in October 2021 which remained a useless letter – will not be unanimous, significantly amongst historians. In the Algerian day by day life Echourrouk this Saturday, the historian Olivier Le Cour Grandmaison believes that the decision voted on “restricts only to the prefect of police [Papon] responsibility for the massacres. An approach, according to him, “wanted by the president [Macron] more concerned with internal politics and diplomatic considerations, in order to reestablish acceptable relations with Algeria and prepare the visit of Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, at the expense of historical truth.

In fact, MP Sabrina Sebaihi, who carried the resolution, declared to AFP that it was a “first step” in “work for the recognition of this colonial crime, for the recognition of this crime of 'State “. According to the AFP, “the term 'crime of'Etat'' does not appear in the proposed resolution, resulting from meticulous writing work with the presidential party and the Élysée to reach a consensual text. The text was thus “chiselled word by word”, defined to AFP the previous Renaissance deputy Philippe Guillemard, who had labored on this textual content with Sabrina Sebaihi earlier than passing the baton to Julie Delpech. The writing of the textual content was the topic of “rewriting work down to the comma” with the presidency to reach at a model that suited the manager, MP Sabrina Sebaihi advised AFP. Finally, “we landed on a text where there is no notion of state crime,” she provides. Furthermore, the Minister Delegate answerable for Local Authorities, Dominique Faure, expressed, through the vote on Thursday, reservations relating to the institution of a day of commemoration, stressing that three dates exist already to “commemorate what happened happened during the Algerian War.

The question of the responsibility of the French State, beyond that of Prefect Papon, is posed as a prerequisite, by several historians, to full and complete recognition of the massacres of October 17. The historian Fabrice Riceputi reacted – while pointing out in the explanatory statement of the reasons for the resolution “proven inaccuracies and serious voluntary omissions, as had already been the case in the Élysée press release in 2021” –, estimating that “the major inadequacy of this resolution is mainly due to its presentation of responsibilities […] She clearly refuses to go beyond that of Maurice Papon. The latter constitutes, as already for Emmanuel Macron in 2021, a sort of ideal memorial fuse for the Republic.” And to recall that “all the institutions of the Republic, and not just Papon, were indeed, to varying degrees, involved in the crime of October 17, 1961”.

READ ALSO Massacre of October 17, 1961: for Algiers, Maurice Papon didn’t act alone

These reservations and criticisms don’t appear to upset Algiers, no less than via the writings of the official media. “The prospect of visit of Tebboune to France and the concern of Algiers and Paris to find symbolic, consensual memorial “moments”, can clarify the involvement of the Élysée within the formulation of the textual content to go it on to the face and the unusually benevolent angle of Algiers. , notes an Algerian editorialist. A minute of silence on the Bezons bridge is much less problematic than a go to by the 2 presidents to the Château d'Amboise, a symbolic however sophisticated station, on condition that the query of the results of the emir stays topic to legal-administrative blockages. Especially since October 17 is devoted to “National Emigration Day” in Algeria and Algiers is growing initiatives in the direction of its diaspora in France, each a lever of strain and a possible electoral purse, with its help – admittedly oblique – on the very latest World Congress of the Algerian Diaspora, launched by former elected official Karim Zéribi.