Algeria pans Macron over Harki honouring

Algeria pans Macron over 'honouring' of Harki, colonial-era Algerian collaborators
2 min read
23 September, 2021
Algeria's Ministry of Independence War Veterans has stressed respect for the country's 'history, identity and national memory' after France's president pledged to honour colonial-era collaborators.
President Macron's remarks came ahead of National Harki Day on 25 September [Getty] 

French President Macron's recent honouring of colonial-era Algerian collaborators, known as Harkis, at the Elysee Palace "does not concern Algeria", Algeria's Ministry of Independence War Veterans said on Wednesday.

The ministry made the comment two days after the French president asked for the Harkis' "forgiveness" on behalf of France for abandoning the Algerians that fought alongside their colonial masters in Algeria's war of independence. 

Macron's remarks came ahead of France's commemoration of National Harki Day on 25 September.

The Algerian ministry said Macron's statement and promise to draft a law recognising France's responsibility towards Harkis and the need for "reparations" was purely a French issue.

"Algeria is the country of one million and a half martyrs ... the liberation revolution separated the martyrs and fighters from the Harkis and traitors", the ministry was quoted by The New Arab's Arabic-language service as saying.

"What matters to Algeria is the preservation and protection of national memory, the revival of [Algeria's] legacy and the protection of her [national] identity", the ministry added.

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Over 200,000 Algerians fought with the French army in the war, which pitted Algerian independence fighters against their French colonisers, from 1954 to 1962.

After France left Algeria it abandoned its Harki auxiliary fighters, despite promising to look after them.

Many of the fighters remained in Algeria and were massacred following the war, while thousands of others escaped to France, where they lived in camps.

"[France] failed in its duty towards the Harkis, their wives, their children", Macron said in the meeting.

The Algerian ministry stressed that "Algeria's relationship with other parties is built on a principle of respect for [our] history, identity and national memory".