Algeria is celebrating its independence today. On July 5, 1962, after 132 years of French colonization, the million and a half Algerian martyrs, and their brothers in struggle, liberated the country.
The Algerian revolution is the war of independence both the most tragic and the most heroic of African colonial history. For Algerians, the date of July 5 is an important moment: it is the moment when the country has succeeded in shedding the French yoke. A French colonization which, despite everything, will remain indelible. During the 132 years of French control, Algeria was the scene of so many crimes against humanity, then of atrocious war crimes, that the thought of all the Algerian people remains marked by the events, sixty years later.
If the Algerians gave a lot, in terms of human lives in particular, to free themselves from the stranglehold of colonial France, they never felt that they had reached the end of the process: indeed, Algeria still and always demands an apology from the French state for the barbarism shown by its colonists, soldiers and agents. And, despite some semblance of remorse and gestures of French appeasement, the absence of official apologies on the part of the French authorities, for 59 years, remains a trauma in Algerian memories.
Algeria is also a land of known and recognized heroes. From Emir Abdelkader to Lalla Fatma, via Larbi ben M'hidi, Abande Ramdane and the sons of All Saints' Day, many fighters have given their lives to liberate Algeria. All Algerians who rose up against colonization were united by the same sovereign conviction, despite their ideological differences. This same unwavering desire for independence still exists today.
The will of a people
From 1830 to 1962, each Algerian independence initiative was illustrated on the battlefield against the colonists. Let us also remember that the French colonization of Algeria was more violent than elsewhere. Between concentration camps, mass executions, the use of prohibited weapons and racial segregation, the suffering of Algerians has sparked a reaction that is both political and intellectual.
However, the Algerian anti-colonial struggle took a turn in the 1950s. France's repressive measures against Constantine and Kabylia, against the backdrop of attacks by the FLN, were at the origin of the uprising of all. a country. And even the divisions between the leaders of the "Algerian war" never affected the motivation of the combatants.
Between 1952 and 1957, the interference of Charles de Gaulle and Pierre Mendès France in the Algerian case caused dissension within the FLN. The two French statesmen, respectively supporters of two ambiguous colonial regimes, more political or more military, could not however change anything in the will of independence of the Algerians. The French army then engaged in an all-out war against the FLN and the fellagas. And the prison sentences then turned into political assassinations, torture and other crimes.
French strategy in Algeria, the origin of chaos
The war of independence in Algeria also generated a lot of resentment. That the leaders could not contain. For the French, the Evian accords in 1962 were supposed to ensure a peaceful withdrawal of the settlers. But the latest actions of Charles de Gaulle, who had given up on his French Algeria project, took too long to materialize. And instead of leaving Algeria to the Algerians, when the opportunity presented itself in 1960, France attempted to "divide and conquer", believing it could stop the momentum for independence.
This approach divided the Algerians, and the resentment due to the Constantine massacre and the hijacking of the FLN plane crystallized during the Battle of Algiers. For months, the FLN and the French death squads (the Red Hand) waged an urban war that caused too many deaths.
On the one hand, there was no doubt about the rise of French colonization since 1956. Especially since the independence of Morocco and Tunisia. On the other hand, pitting Algerians against Algerians was France's exit strategy. Consequently, a large majority of analysts consider that the events of 1962, especially the massacre of the Harkis and the confrontation of the leaders of the revolution, fall more to the subversive activity of the French intelligence (the bleuite) than to a simple regulation. of accounts.
Terrorism by the Secret Armed Organization (OAS) in 1961 and 1962 targeted all Algerians in favor of independence. The OAS has murdered hundreds of Algerian intellectuals and carried out waves of large-scale attacks against Muslims. A large number of Pied-Noirs had supported the OAS. And the amalgamation between the latter, the Harkis and the colonists destroyed any hope of a peaceful outcome of the war of independence.
This context was aggravated by the constraints of the Evian agreements, which wanted to impose the continuity of the French presence. And after the declaration of independence, the war has never been so violent. Thousands of Algerians died under French bombardment, and thousands of Harkis were executed by elements of the FLN. In total, French colonization caused a million and a half deaths, between civilians, the guerrillas of the FLN and the fellagas. The number of French dead fluctuates between 100 and 000, according to studies. The debate over the number of victims is still a hot topic.
However, and despite the uncertainty over the figures, the results were bloody. This prompted the Algerian elites to continue the spiral of violence as soon as colonization ended. And this is also the reason why relations between Algeria and France have remained insoluble. Since then, the armed war has given way to a war of memory, fueling a certain hostility between the two countries. If, on the Algerian side, the war for independence is a unifying factor, on the French side, a "policy of oblivion", in the words of Guy Pervillé, has been put in place. The geopolitical ramifications of French crimes in Algeria continue to this day. And in the absence of a real desire for reconciliation, they will most likely govern future relations between France and Algeria, over several generations.