Reconsilation: France and Algeria

Posted: February 2, 2015 in Discussion
  1. Daniel Leal says:

    I do not believe it is fair to expect the present French government to apologize and take responsibility for what happened under French colonial rule as those actions did not take place under the conviction of the current administration. I however do not believe the French are right in going around and boasting that they will not apologize, such approach is counter productive as it is inflammatory to the Algerian side, suggesting no wrong doings took place. While there was oppression and both sides committed questionable actions the best conduct to presently take is forging a diplomatic relationship between France and Algiers which recognizes the events that took place in Algiers and explores them as a means of learning from them in a relation that is beneficial to both countries.

    • While I agree with the assertion that both sides performed “questionable” actions during the Battle for Algiers I would like to disagree with you, Daniel. I fully believe that the Algerian government has the right to demand an apology for the gruesome methods used by the French in 1956-1957. Before coming to the conclusion that this is an unprecedented circumstance one almost interchangeable example of an apology coming from a post-colonial power for its actions as a colonial power is with the British in 2013 apologizes to the Mau Mau fighters in Kenya and paid in excess of 20 million dollars in reparations. That is not the only precedent for France duty to apologize, Belgium also apologized to the Congolese for the atrocious crimes committed under its rule, even the heavily criticized American government apologized to the native Americans. There is no way France can feign ignorance about what happened as individuals who were committing the atrocities in France’s name have come out and apologized also.

      One final point for the apology of the French government is simply accountability, as there is no statute of limitations on War Crimes then the French government is therefore subject to full accountability under the law no matter how much it has reformed and changed over the years.

    • I agree that the present French government may not have to take ‘responsibility’ for the actions of the previous regimes, but I think it has the duty to apologize, as many other previously imperial nations have already done. Pragmatically speaking, these apologies may have no meanings, for it wasn’t them who actually committed those actions, but ideally and emotionally, these mean a lot. As the video mentions, there are economic and political ties between France and Algeria that would strengthen with ameliorated relationship, benefiting both sides. As Will mentions, there are many examples of Britain, US, Belgium, and Germany that acknowledged their wrongdoings, apologized, and sometimes even compensated. These apologetic approaches bettered their ties and their standings in the eyes of the world. On the other hand, you have some other countries that refuse to apologize, for instance Japan that refuse to acknowledge their atrocious deeds in their colonies and even glorify their imperial actions. US even reprimanded this refusal for acknowledgement and its impact on the political and economic ties between Japan and Korea.
      Basically, the rules that we teach kids apply to countries and politics as well: you’ve got to apologize for your wrongdoings if you want anything out of that relationship with the other.

      • Mallak Al Husban says:

        I totally agree with Seungjing and I really liked the last part of what you said. France caused a great damage to Algeria and it still suffers from the outcomes of the war. It is something very basic and simple; apologize for what you did wrong before. Algeria isn’t demanding funds or rights, the only thing it’s asking for is “i’m sorry” I think France should stop being stubborn about it and just apologize.

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