France’s colonial rule in Algeria, as well as the war that brought it to an end, remains an open wound in French historical memory despite ending more than 50 years ago. For the French, it’s a dark era of its history that, like the country’s collaboration with the Nazi Germany under Vichy rule, many seem anxious to forget. Few French leaders have been willing to acknowledge France’s colonization of Algeria, nor the brutal measures employed to suppress revolts against its rule, let alone apologize for it.

But this week, French President Emmanuel Macron came close to doing just that. In a statement Thursday, Macron formally acknowledged the culpability of French authorities in the torture of Maurice Audin, a French mathematician and anti-colonial activist who disappeared after being arrested by the French army in Algiers in 1957, during Algeria’s bloody campaign for independence. Though his wife, Josette Audin, pressed the French government for answers about what happened to her husband, Audin’s disappearance, like that of thousands of others during the war, was never investigated. Before Macron’s revelation Thursday that Audin had been subject to torture by the French army, France hadn’t acknowledged its use of state-authorized torture in that war at all.

“His disappearance was made possible by a system … which allowed law enforcement to arrest, detain, and question any ‘suspect’ for the purpose of a more effective fight against the opponent,” Macron said of Audin in a statement, noting that he is believed to have died in the army’s custody. He added that “there is the duty of truth that lies with the French Republic, which … cannot, therefore, minimize or excuse the crimes and atrocities committed on both sides during this conflict. France still bears the scars, sometimes badly closed.” To that end, he called for the …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Global


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