On March 18, 1962, the Évian Accords paved the way in which for Algeria’s independence from France after greater than seven years of a grotesque struggle. Sixty years on, the injuries of that bloody battle are nonetheless deep, on each side of the divide. FRANCE 24 spoke to Algerians and French nationals scarred by the struggle.
Their names are Lucien, Bachir, Marie-Claude, Serge, Roger and Djamila. They’re Algerian or French. In 1954, when the Algerian Conflict of Independence broke out, they have been barely out of their teenagers. It was a time of post-war decolonisation world wide. In Algeria, the so-called indigènes (natives) hoped for an finish to 132 years of French colonial rule.
However France didn’t see issues that means. House to greater than one million Europeans (and a few 9 million Algerians), Algeria was the one colony of the French colonial empire settled by Europeans and, as a French division, was thought of a part of France. It was additionally a land wealthy in oil and gasoline. In 1956, the French authorities of Man Mollet determined to ship within the military to keep up order within the occupied land. In complete, 1.5 million younger French conscripts have been despatched to Algeria to battle the fellaghas, Algerian guerrilla fighters.
On March 19, 1962, when the ceasefire reached within the Évian Accords got here into power, 400,000 French conscripts have been nonetheless on the opposite aspect of the Mediterranean. Their army service lasted a minimum of 18 months, typically 28 and even 30. Many discovered the expertise traumatic. For many years, speaking about what they’d lived by means of was taboo, even inside their very own households. These weren’t struggle experiences, a minimum of formally, because the “occasions” in Algeria – as they have been identified – weren’t recognised as a struggle till 1999.
We interviewed French conscripts, the spouse of a conscript, a harki (an Algerian who served as an auxiliary within the French military), a member of the pro-independence Entrance de Libération nationale (FLN, or Nationwide Liberation Entrance) and a fighter within the FLN’s armed wing, l’Armée de Libération nationale (ALN, or Nationwide Liberation Military). They informed us about colonialism, the horror of battle, torture and worry, but in addition their need for therapeutic. Sixty years after that struggle with no title, they’ve dug deep into their reminiscences and informed us their tales.
>> Click on right here for our net documentary: Algerians and French share their tales of the Algerian struggle