January 11, 2022

National Youth Film Festival

Welcome To National Youth Film Festival

Macron’s statements on Algeria: The French president hopes for calm

Marcon’s statements sparked widespread anger in Algeria

The French president expressed his hope that diplomatic tension with Algeria would subside and that the two sides would return to dialogue.

“I hope we can calm things down, because I think it is better that we talk in order to make progress,” Macron said.

Macron expressed his “confidence” in his Algerian counterpart, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, and stressed that relations with him are “really friendly” at a time when the two countries are going through a diplomatic crisis.

“I have great respect for the Algerian people,” Macron said in an interview with “France Inter”, attributing the current tensions to the efforts made in France about the work of memory over the Algerian war.

Macron had aroused Algeria’s wrath after he was reported by Le Monde newspaper, in which he considered that Algeria was established after its independence in 1962 on the “memory revenue” system that was dedicated by the “political-military system” in it, and said that it was this system that rewrote the French colonial history of the country, with a reference Stemmed from “hatred of France”.

Algeria has recalled its ambassador to France to protest the statements, which it described as unacceptable. The Algerian authorities then closed their airspace to French military aircraft, according to the French army.

For its part, the “National Organization of the Mujahideen”, which brings together veterans of the war for the liberation of Algeria, called in a statement, on Monday, for a “review of Algerian-French relations” after Macron’s statements, according to AFP.

The organization often calls on France to “apologise” for the “crimes” it committed during its 132-year colonization of Algeria (1930-1962), which, according to the Algerian presidency, claimed the lives of more than five million Algerians.

Since taking power, Macron has taken steps to ease tension between Algeria and France over his country’s colonial history in Algeria, and the methods it used to control Algeria from the invasion in 1830 to the exit of colonialism in 1962.

Macron admitted in 2018 that France had put in place a “system” of systematic torture during the Algerian war of liberation. In July last year, the historian Benjamin Stora was commissioned to prepare a report on the French colonial legacy in Algeria and how France dealt with it.

But Macron refused France’s apology for its colonial crimes in Algeria, as the Algerians demand, after sixty years that failed to calm the tension between the two countries.

Hosni Abedi, director of the Center for Studies and Research on the Arab World and Mediterranean Countries (SIRAM) in Geneva, told AFP that the statements were a “calculated deviation of the French president” based on “language structures developed by his close advisors.”

The expert estimates that this came as a result of Macron’s “disappointment”, especially with regard to Algeria’s “not enthusiastic response to his program for the reconciliation of memory” between the two countries.

Abidi considered that the report of the French historian Benjamin Stora, which he submitted to the French president in January, which was “supposed to calm relations”, instead contributed to the escalation of tension.

Algeria has expressed its rejection of the report, describing it as “subjective”, criticizing France’s failure to “officially recognize the war crimes and crimes against humanity that it committed during its occupation of Algeria,” according to Minister of Communication Ammar Belhimer.