Macron on Algerian TV; The French Army's exhibition on its 130 years in Algeria

Macron calls out France’s ‘crime against humanity’ in Algeria

Emmanuel Macron is fast becoming the clown of the French election campaign, calling colonisation a "crime against humanity".

Published: February 17, 2017, 9:34 am

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    During his trip to Algeria at the beginning of the week, Macron not only pointed out the “crime against humanity” but also the “real barbarism” of it, in an interview with the Algerian channel Echorouk News, broadcast on Tuesday 14 February.

    “Colonisation is part of French history (…). This is part of the past that we must face fully by apologising to those against whom we have committed these acts,” he said without irony. In the aftermath of the interview, several political leaders of the Republicans (LR) and the National Front (FN) strongly criticised Macron’s naked race-baiting opportunism.

    During a meeting in Compiègne (Oise) on Wednesday evening, Republicans candidate François Fillon, considered these remarks “unworthy of a candidate for the presidency of the Republic”.

    “Some time ago, Macron found positive aspects to colonisation. This means that Emmanuel Macron has no spine. He simply says what those who listen to him want to hear,” Fillon told nearly 4 000 people. “It is not worthy of a Head of State.”

    Algeria today

    In October, the former Minister of Economy told Le Point that during the colonisation of Algeria “there was torture, but also the emergence of a state, wealth, middle classes. There were elements of civilization.”

    Former Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin also lambasted Macron on Wednesday night on BFM-TV: “Oppose the French, bring out these stories to divide, remobilise, I see the electoral concerns behind all that. It is not worthy of a head of state to go and open scars that are still very painful.”

    The FN also tore into the declarations of the founder of En marche! “Not content with wanting to dissolve it in the great globalist bath, Macron denigrates France abroad. And he aspires to preside? ” Marine Le Pen’s campaign director David Rachline remarked. Wallerand de Saint-Just, treasurer of the FN, accused Macron of “stabbing France in the back”.

    The journalist of the Algerian TV channel Echorouk News who interviewed him was astounded by Macron’s remarks, and even the ecologist Emmanuelle Cosse, Minister of Housing, expressed his regret: “I would not use the term ‘crime against humanity’ because it is a very special legal concept and I think we should use the right words in the right place,” she told France 2.

    A crime against humanity is defined by Article 212-1 of the Criminal Code. It applies to “acts of willful killing, extermination, enslavement, deportation, forced transfer of population, torture, rape”.

    “For all that, to reduce colonisation to a crime against humanity is a historical absurdity, as absurd as to see in it only a ‘positive role’,” says Maxime Tandonnet, a former adviser to Nicolas Sarkozy.

    In 2012, Francois Hollande denounced colonisation during his address to the Algerian Parliament as an “unjust and brutal” colonial system, recognising also “the suffering that the colonization inflicted on the Algerian people”. But Hollande never crossed the legal threshold. Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to him during his interview with Echorouk News, welcoming the efforts of the president to restore during his five-year term a “stable” and “strong” relationship with Algeria after the sixth night of migrant violence in Paris.

    2012 marked the 50th anniversary of Algeria’s independence from France. The Harkis, a group of Algerians have never found reconciliation from decolonisation, fighting on the French side during the Algerian war. Some 250 000 Harkis who defended colonial France from Algerian independence fighters were simply abandoned when France left in 1962.

    Algerians began to slaughter them and their families after Algeria was decolonised. The 90 000 Harkis that managed to reach France after the war, were still waiting for an official apology from Paris, said Fatima Besnasi, daughter of a Harki, and head of a national Harki association.

    “Above all, I want a French president to declare that France recognises its responsibility for abandoning the Harkis in 1962, and how that led to the massacres in Algeria. France must also assume responsibility for interning our parents in camps.”

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