Macron apologies for French treatment of Algerian Harlingen Fighter
French President, Emmanuel Macron on Monday apologized on behalf of his country for abandoning Algerians who fought alongside France in their country’s war of independence.
Over 200,000 Algerians fought with the French army in the war that pitted Algerian independence fighters against their French colonial masters from 1954 to 1962.
At the end of the war — waged on both sides with extreme brutality, including widespread torture — the French government left the loyalist fighters known as Harkis to fend for themselves, despite earlier promises that it would look after them.
“I want to express our gratitude to the fighters,” Macron said at a ceremony at the Elysee Palace attended by around 300 people, mostly surviving Harkis and their families.
“I’m asking for forgiveness. We will not forget,” Macron said, adding that France had “failed in its duty towards the Harkis, their wives, their children”.
Macron has already spoken out on a number of France’s unresolved colonial legacies, including nuclear testing in Polynesia, its role in the Rwandan genocide and war crimes in Algeria.
One is the brutal repression of a demonstration of Algerians on October 17, 1961, by Paris police who beat protesters to death or drowned them in the river Seine, and the other is a signing of the Evian accords on March 18, 1962, which ended the war of independence.
Before the end of his mandate he is expected to attend ceremonies marking the anniversaries of two key events still weighing on French-Algerian relations.
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