Macron “apologizes” to the harkis

The president, who intends to reconcile memories, announced a “law of recognition and reparation”.

Recognize first; then repair; finally reconcile. This is the new philosophy which now guides Emmanuel Macron’s reflection on the Algerian war. On Monday, the Head of State therefore brought an additional stone to the memorial edifice he is striving to build at the end of his five-year term. From the Elysee Palace, where he spoke in front of some 300 harkis, descendants or representatives, the president regretted, “aloud and solemn“, the “breaches“History of the Republic vis-à-vis some of its”children». «Today, in the name of France, (…) I ask forgiveness ”, he said, committing to “heal wounds until they are closed».

This implies, according to him, to change the register. Certainly a “revaluation of allocationss “will be applied for the”first generation“. But the reflex of pulling out the checkbook and instituting repetitive compensation procedures is not the right option in his eyes. “No monetary compensation will fix what happened“, Thus judged Emmanuel Macron. Not more than the speeches, moreover, since it considers that one “cannot, in words, mend sixty years of the life of our nation».

Hence his decision to entrust the government with the drafting of a “recognition and reparation law“, Including Minister Geneviève Darrieussecq (Memory and Veterans)”orchestrate the work“. The project, which “is not intended to say what History is“, Must however underline the”singularity“And”specificity” from “the question harkie“. A national commission will therefore be set up, to “oversee the testimonial collection process“From the victims of”military abandonment” and of “the mistreatment of families on our soilAfter the conflict.

Three crucial appointments

Long claimed by the tens of thousands involved, the initiative was greeted with applause and smiles from the audience in front of it. But also through tears and a few interpellations. To the point of forcing the president to interrupt, to engage in a direct exchange with a section of the audience. After hearing the emotion expressed by some of his guests, the head of state regretted that there was “something exhaustingAlways being criticized for not doing enough. And he claimed “that anger turns into a taste for the future».

A future whose outcome remains uncertain, as the identity tension surrounding this subject remains alive in the country. And so the next big meetings on the subject could prove to be crucial. Because beyond the National Day of homage to the harkis, scheduled for this Saturday, September 25, the Head of State intends to preside over two other anniversary dates in the coming months: the ceremony in memory of “events»Of 1961, next October 17, and the 60e anniversary of the Evian Accords, March 19, 2022.

His participation in these different celebrations was suggested to him by the historian Benjamin Stora, when he submitted his report on the Algerian war last January. In his conclusions, the academic recommended not to give in to “l’excuse“, Nor to the”repentanceVis-à-vis the neighboring Maghreb. A recommendation followed to the letter by President Macron, who in doing so distanced himself from the candidate he was five years ago. So now he is far, far away, even from the one who, during a campaign trip to Algiers in 2017, thought it appropriate to describe the French colonization as a “crime against humanity”. An outrage of language that had torn the country apart, and forced it to back down.

This episode remains, since his entry into politics, one of the rare personal traumas of the Head of State, who based his political commitment on the promise of “reconcile the French“. Hence the desire, which he confides in private, to achieve a strong memorial act on the Algerian question. With the key, if successful, an accomplishment that he would consider comparable to that of Jacques Chirac and the Vel d’Hiv roundup. Path which led him in particular to the choice of the word “pardon” Monday.


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