How do Algerians react to the commemoration of the October 17, 1961 massacres? The unprecedented initiative comes in a context of crisis between Paris and Algiers. Macron’s comment on the “memorial rent” maintained by a “Politique-military system” stung Algerian leaders.
The ambassador to France was thus recalled at the beginning of October following these remarks. Speaking about the event, the day after Macron’s gesture, President Tebboune believes that this appalling repression “reveals the horror of the abject massacres and crimes against humanity which will remain engraved in the collective memory”. He also decreed that every October 17, from now on, Algerians will observe a minute of silence in tribute to the victims. The question of memory should be treated with “seriousness” and “sobriety”, “far from any concession”, affirms the Algerian head of state. Obviously, the time is not yet for appeasement between the two countries on this sensitive issue.
“Macron’s statements would undoubtedly have had a completely different significance outside of the prevailing tension. His errors on the theme of the Algerian nation have poisoned the diplomatic climate and mortgaged any development in the right direction. We have to wait, ”underlines Hafid Ziani, a retired senior official reached by telephone. “It is not so much the ceremony itself that is debated here, on this level, there is nothing to say, but rather Macron’s allegations. The latter has returned to the cute sin of his predecessors, that is to say clearing the French state. Like them, he charges the only Papon as if he were a maverick. He admittedly recognizes the inexcusable nature, but he does not involve the French State, as if his sinister prefect were disconnected from it. As if he had nothing to do with him. It is bewildering, even absurd. This is how things are widely perceived, ”explains journalist Noureddine Fethani. The local press, meanwhile, echoed this prevailing sentiment. “Macron did not want to go further than this formal recognition, writes the columnist of the daily Liberté, because, one can suppose, one more step in the recognition of a state crime induces compensation for the victims or their descendants. (…) A moral prejudice for the country which carries this period of its history like an obsession ”.