The murderous persecution of minority communities by France is an issue that has of course been reserved in the post-war republic. Successive governments have done their utmost to undermine crimes against civilians by following traditionally toothless media.
This is the decision of President Emmanuel Macron Open the archives of torture and massacre, especially of Arab Muslims so significant during the Algeria Revolutionary War. Mr. Macron has even demanded that witnesses appear to draw attention to violations that still affect society today.
It is full 56 years since Algeria, the largest country in Africa and once the jewel in France's overseas empire, defeated its occupiers after eight years of guerrilla warfare against ruthless and well-equipped forces. However, the victory in 1962 did not end the hostilities. In France, up to five million people are from Algerian backgrounds, and they are still routinely treated with contempt. Discrimination is widespread, especially in the bleak social housing where most live, while opportunities for social advancement are low.
Algerians now in their seventies and eighties or older remember each other Crimes that took place in the center of Paris itself, Many of those who protested France's dirty war were detained in internment camps used during the Vichy regime during World War II, tortured and then beaten to death. There were cases of dead bodies hanging from trees in parks and suburban forests, In an infamous police raid in October 1961, up to 300 Algerian civilians were killed in a single night, many drowning in the Seine.
Some people responsible for the massacre were attached to the OAS, eg Secret Army Organization – a terrorist group against independence made up of ultra-reactionary army and police officers.
One of the many secret operations carried out between official tasks was the demolition of a train from Strasbourg to Paris in June 1961. A total of 28 people were killed and over 100 others injured, including women and children. The OAS also made numerous attempts to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle when he returned Algeria to his own people.
Mr Macron was so shocked when he was the first French leader to admit last Thursday that deadly "torture" was legally institutionalized during the conflict and that France had to adapt to its past.
The Torture and Murder of Maurice Audin, a communist anti-colonialist who taught mathematics at Algiers University "Disappear" after a raid on his house by the French army, Mr. Macron cited as a prime example of what was going on.
But it is crimes against hundreds of thousands of Arab Muslim Algerians who will be the most important in exploring this terrible legacy.
Mr Macron's The latest statement follows his visit to Algeria during his presidential campaign last year, when he pointed to France's 130-year colonization "Crimes against humanity", The head of state later went back to such a strong statement and tempered it, not to offend conservative voters, but his basic position remained the same.
An eerie "system of arrest and detention," sanctioned by the Paris Parliament in the 1950s, is now under investigation, Macron said, so that surviving relatives and others can try to find out the truth about hundreds of thousands of other "disappeared" people. Up to one and a half million Algerians were killed during the war, but recognizing the circumstances of many of these deaths has remained taboo in the French establishment since 1962.
No wonder, that Jean-Marie Le Pen, the far-right rioter who founded the National Front in 1972 to represent colonialists who were forced to flee Algeria after the war, called the new move "despicable" and "act of division". Both Le Pen and his daughter Marine Le Pen were runners-up in the presidential election, giving the strongest indication of the importance of the effects of forced decolonization on xenophobic French nationalists.
Mr Le Pen, who himself was accused of torturing the army, is a convicted racist and anti-Semite who was also against the way France began to recognize the atrocities of the Second World War against Jews.
In 1995, the then conservative president Jacques Chirac publicly admitted that the French police and other authorities arrested 13,152 Parisian Jews at once. Among them were more than 4,000 children, all of whom were held at the Vel d & # 39; Hiv bicycle stadium before being deported to German concentration camps such as Auschwitz.
Mr. Chirac said then: "Yes, the French people, the French state, helped the occupier with his criminal madness." Since then, pressure has repeatedly been put on the French government to officially accept the killings committed in Algeria. The war was equally barbaric.
It is hoped that Mr Macron's appeal will lead to transparency in the prosecution and criminalization of some offenders. All would be old-age pensioners, or even dead, but this has not stopped suspects accused of participating in the Nazi Holocaust conviction for judicial summonses and jail sentences at an extremely advanced age, while war criminals can also be judged posthumously.
Only by disclosing information about wrongdoing can justice be finally achieved for the victims and their descendants. With Islamophobia and other forms of racism, especially against immigrants from North Africa on the rise, and so many people still aware of this dark age of history, President Macron's initiative has not come too soon.
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