Between Algiers and Paris, things get complicated! After the postponement of the visit of Prime Minister Jean Castex, scheduled for Sunday, anti-French slogans have multiplied during the Hirak demonstrations.
An anti-French feeling, already omnipresent in Algeria, is growing in recent days. The Hirak slogans bear witness to this. The postponement of the 5th session of the Franco-Algerian Intergovernmental Committee (CIHN), due to the absence of French Prime Minister Jean Castex, shows that relations between the two countries are not really warm.
For several months, another subject has continued to weaken Franco-Algerian relations: the work of remembering the million and a half martyrs who died during the time of colonization. The national memory "will not be the object of renunciation or of bargaining", declared Abdelmajid Tebboune during an interview.
Macron's symbolic acts do not seem to satiate Algerians' appetite for justice. And the sending of 24 skulls of fellagas killed at the beginning of colonization to Algiers, the admission of the existence of torture during this period or that of the assassination of Ali Boumendjel do not represent any real excuses, according to Algiers, for the horrors committed by French soldiers during the war for independence and during colonization.
Algerian dignity cannot be negotiated
Relations between Algeria and France have never been so bad. The fact that Jean Castex apologizes for the postponement of his visit has only fueled these tensions. In addition to the breach in the decorum of diplomatic relations, or the cancellation of the only concrete "friendly" event between the two countries, advocating the context of a pandemic sounds like an insult to Algeria.
Matignon even tried to blame Algeria, to try to save face. "The Committee is postponed to a later date, when the health context will be more favorable", announced the entourage of Jean Castex.
In a burst of pride, and in a more elegant approach, Algiers replied: "The size and format of the French delegation were not up to the challenges." Indeed, the CIHN has not been held since 2017. This is a double observation: that France does not intend to reconcile with Algeria and release ballast, while Algiers is not decided to let it go.
The Hirak and the anti-French grumbling
On the Algerian side, the Hirak movement, which brought down Abdelaziz Bouteflika in 2019, is the same which today calls for a more humble attitude from France. A slogan made the rounds of the media, the one coming out of the mouth of a caricature of Macron: "You are not welcome in the land of the martyrs". Or the one which indicates that "there is no place for France at home". Anti-French placards abound in Algeria, and with them the manifestation of the anger of a whole people.
The Hirak is inherently a movement calling for national political change. However, Algerians consider that French policy is inherent in the regime they want to see disappear. We can therefore assume that President Tebboune, the Military Council and the dignitaries of Bouteflika are ultimately only an internal affair. What Algeria wants to drive out as a priority is indeed entryism, infiltration ... and French arrogance.