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How Algeria still haunts France today


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This is a classic French version of the end of the Algerian conflict:


There are still deep divisions in French society betweeb the pieds noirs  some of whom, such of the Mayor of Béziers have risen to prominent positions but are still anchored in their vision in a way that is very unfamiliar in the UK, and others often from the left.

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A nasty, nasty period of French history.  I can well understand the sense of betrayal and abandonment, and how it carries on down the generations.

"Je vous ai compris!"

The choice of 19 March is worse than simply provocative.  It smacks of a desire to be deliberately cruel and insulting.

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Another piece of history I know little about.

I've just been reading that at the end of the war 2.5 million immigrants came to France (?1962) Pieds Noir, Muslims and Jews. Many of them were placed in poor conditions at Rivesaltes.

Sounds familiar?

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"La valise ou le cercueil..." was the choice offered to the pieds-noirs by certain Algerian nationalists.

The first pieds-noirs who chose the valise rather than cercueil were classified as 'vacanciers' by the government when they arrived here. Most arrived with nothing, having been forced to leave all their worldly goods behind. Even their official papers, such as birth and marriage certificates, so important to do anything in France, were left in the ownership of the Algerian government. So they debarked with nothing, not even proof of identity or qualification, into a society which classed them as rich, pampered racists - even if most of them were actually simply 'bakers, butchers and candle-stick makers'.

But, with the possible exception of the Harkis, no-one comes out well of the story. Not the pieds-noirs, not the French government, not the French army, not the French people, not the Algerian nationalists nor their government.

No wonder France still has troubles dealing with it.
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