French intellectuals and the war against Algeria: the marginalized narrative

One of the strange paradoxes of history is that after the revolution of 1789, France called on Algeria to save it from a looming famine by providing it with wheat and enabling it to obtain interest-free loans.

A few decades after this date, France, which refused to pay its debts, besieged Algeria for 3 years before its occupation, after the signing of the document of surrender on July 5, 1830 by Dai Hussein.

France’s dream at the time did not depend on controlling some strategic sites on the southern shores of the Mediterranean and monopolizing Algerian coral fishing and trade, or even simply turning Algeria into a “backyard” that stores its wheat stores. and filled his pots. His dream in that new colonial era was rather to establish a surplus of its inhabitants and ensure permanent residence abroad for them, meaning that Algeria would be a “new America”.

We need terrible hordes of French and European centenarians, and to bring them you have to give them fertile lands whose crows do not fly so that they become their owners and masters, and whose first masters will be forgotten. That was one of the orders of General Peugeot to the government of his country a few years after the invasion of the country which saved it from famine.

Between 1830, the year of the occupation of Algeria, and the year 1962, the date of the restoration of its sovereignty, much blood was shed, honors were enslaved, lands were expropriated, towns and tribes were exterminated, and France had the “scorched earth ”policy and systematic strategy to eradicate the identity of the Algerian people.The new ones, including exposing them as test rats to the effects of nuclear explosions in the south of the country.

The epics of the Algerian people in defending their country and their courage in defending their dignity were the subject of many narratives and documented historical writings still being issued consecutively after 60 years of independence.

As school books celebrated the lives of heroes, it was passed down from generation to generation. Only the story of the French of the educated elites and the French who sided with the justice of the Algerian cause and defended it to the point of sacrificing life, as in the case of the communist journalist Maurice Audan, not enough shed light on it.The role they played in condemning the successive governments of their countries for the crimes they committed against the Algerian people, and in their material and moral support for the FLN revolution.

The French writer and researcher of Indian origin, Ter Tankerchanda, researched the biography of some of those who saw in it the icons of the Algerian revolution among the free people of France, who saw themselves as representatives of the true spirit of France, France of considered freedom. , equality and brotherhood.

The reluctance of the French intellectual and militant front began to take shape after the events of May 1945 in the city of Setif, in which some 42,000 Algerians died.

The memory of the Nazi barbarism that invaded France was still clear in the mind, so it was no coincidence, as the author of Indian origin explains, that the most prominent books were written about the cruel torture by drowning prisoners in electrified water and the artistry in its derivative forms, and on Their cries that break the silence of the long night, and on the songs of hope emanating from the crumbling bodies, was published by Edison de Minoy, written by Jerome Lyndon during World War II was sent. .

Lyndon enabled Free France’s voices of historians, journalists, writers and Algerian militants to speak the truth, stir consciences and mobilize support for the Algerian cause, especially with the introduction of the Liberation Front in its organized armed resistance. About the crimes of torture that affected him, some of them in the prisons of the French occupation, entitled “The Question”, a book that brought the torture scandal to the French arena and warned French public opinion about the lies of the occupation army.

The famous historian Pierre Vidal Naquet also published his book “The Case of Maurice Auden,” the communist professor of mathematics at the University of Algeria who was assassinated by the French treason machine in 1958, dozens of other books published in “Midnight” Publications “and other publishing houses whose owners and writers believed that” the victory of The National Liberation Front would be a victory for the left, “Sartre said.

However, the front of the anti-war French intellectuals expanded to the non-Christian left, and the political right-wingers, thus circumventing the traditional Manichean confrontation between right and left that firmly ruled the French cultural scene at the time.

The just cause of Algeria and the expression of the French conscience were twofold, and the dispute remained more personal than ideological, as Ter Tancarchanda notes.The dispute raged between Sartre and Albert Camus, who refused to sign a letter stating was initiated by Sartre, André Malraux. , and Roger Martin de Gard, who appealed to the President of the Republic to condemn the torture inflicted on the Algerian people.

But the owner of the “foreigner” who came from colonial Algeria, where his mother still lived, and where he spent half his life, believed in “only Algeria for all”, but in the bosom of France, and Sartre did not forgive him for his ambivalence or his saying “between justice and my mother I am.” Choose my mother.

Camus died in a tragic car accident in 1960. Perhaps he had previously realized that the winds of history had made him a stranger in the constellation of great French intellectuals.

France’s identification with Nazi Germany and its barbaric history became clearer when Justice Minister François Mitterrand on that date passed the “Military Justice” Act in 1956, that all heads should fall if their owners revolt against the idea that “Algeria is French”.

And so did the heads of Algerian militants and French supporters of the cause, and at the head of this was the French young man, Fernand Afton, with communist tendencies, who placed an unexploded bomb in a gas factory.Or to mitigate the punishment , but rather on the way to immediate and forced execution without the bat of an eyelid.

At that time, the French press was moving and a sense of shame was spreading in its corridors, which is why Claude Bourdier wrote an article in the columns of France Observateur entitled “The Gestapo of Algeria.”

And about the dirty missions of the French soldiers in Algeria, the great writer Francois Mauriac wrote in the newspaper “Express” about the same Nazi spirit that invaded France.

The reactions of the French authorities to even the peaceful protests carried out by the Algerian community in France were not far from this spirit. On 17 October 1961, they fired live ammunition at the protesters in the streets of Paris, killing dozens the Seine .. About this massacre the historian Jean-Luc Einaudi wrote a book “The Battle of 17 October 1961 in Paris.” The historian Pierre Vidal Nakier also wrote his book “October 17, 1961, the day that Paris did not shake. . ”

Paris was not shaken, but the conscience of the French elite was shaken even years before this tragic incident and in turn stirred the conscience of the world.

Who among us has not seen the statement of 121 intellectuals published by the magazine “Modern Times” founded by Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir in 1945, but the magazine was confiscated and the statement was considered a incitement for the French soldiers to disobey, but the statement was published in the magazine “Truth – Freedom” sponsored by the author Morris Blancheau, and the statement was signed by many writers, philosophers, artists, directors and actors , such as Raymond Aron, Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, André Breton, Piervidale Naquier, Marguerite Duraseau, François Mauriac, director Alain René, actor Francois Truffaut and others.

This statement was entitled “The right to disobedience”, the disobedience of the French soldiers who took up arms in the faces of the Algerian people, the disobedience of the French who condemned this war, so that they were executed or imprisoned is, has been tortured. , separated from their workplaces and the confiscation of their newspapers and magazines, a disobedience that restored their honor and established their concept of truth And justice, regardless of the context in which such values ​​are violated, is a disobedience that paved the way for Algeria’s freedom, to which men and women contributed to the financial and moral support of the Algerian Liberation Front.

They were the “pocket bearers” who led Johnson’s secret network to hand over weapons and money to the fighters of the front, especially a group of men from the Catholic Church, his writers and journalists, writers and journalists from the left, union members and businessmen who represented the living conscience of France.

It is a history that cannot be forgotten, the history of solidarity and human brotherhood, but Algeria’s memory has not recovered and its wounds have not healed, even after 60 years of independence. How can that be, and the voice of General Demontaniac still comes to mind: “We used to kill just for fun and we used to cut off heads to drive out sad thoughts.

French politicians, from de Gaulle to Macron, did nothing to heal the wounds of a wounded memory, nor to apologize for a dirty and shameful war in which lives were taken in cold blood to pass the time.

This article expresses the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Irm News

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