Macron says he doesn’t have to ask Algeria for forgiveness for his countries colonialism
The French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed, in an interview published on Wednesday, that he wouldn’t ask the Algerians for forgiveness for France’s colonization of their country, but he hoped that he would receive his Algerian counterpart Abdelmadjid Tebboune in Paris this year to continue working with him on the issue of memory and reconciliation between the two countries.
In a lengthy interview conducted by Algerian writer Kamel Daoud and published by the French weekly Le Point on Wednesday evening, Macron said: “I don’t have to ask for forgiveness, that’s not the goal… The word will cut all ties”.
The French President explained that “the worst that can happen is to say that we apologize and each of us goes our own way,” stressing that “the work of memory and history is not an inventory of calculation, it is quite the opposite”.
Macron explained that the work of memory and history means acknowledging that there are things that cannot be described, things that cannot be understood, things that cannot be proven, things that may not be forgiven.
The issue of France’s apology for its colonial past in Algeria (1830-1962) is at the heart of bilateral relations and the recurring tensions between the two countries.
In 2020, Algeria half-heartedly received a report prepared by French historian Benjamin Stora, commissioned by Macron, in which he called for a series of initiatives to achieve reconciliation between the two countries.
The report was devoid of any recommendation to offer an apology or express remorse, which is what Algeria constantly demands.
In his interview, the French president said, “I hope that President Tebboune will be able to come to France in 2023 to continue developing an unprecedented friendship, after the visit that Macron himself paid to Algeria in August 2022.
In response to a question about whether this upcoming visit to Tebboune to France could include the participation of the guest president in a ceremony of honoring in front of the Algerian Emir Abdelkader monument in the cemetery of the heroes of the resistance to colonialism in the town of Amboise (southwest of Paris), Macron said that such a matter would be a moment So beautiful and so strong.
Macron considered that the holding of such ceremonies will have meaning in the history of the Algerian people, and for the French people as well, and it will be an opportunity to understand truths that are often hidden.
Emir Abdelkader (1808-1883) who was interned in Amboise with several members of his family from 1848 to 1852.
Macron doubled the initiatives in the memory issue, acknowledging the responsibility of the French army in the killing of the mathematician Maurice Audin and the national lawyer Ali Bumengel during the Battle of Algeria in 1957, and denouncing the unjustified crimes committed by the French army during the massacre of Algerian demonstrators in Paris in October 17, 1961.
However, the apologies that Algeria was waiting for its colonization never came, which frustrated Macron’s initiatives and increased misunderstandings between the two sides.
Macron’s trip to Algeria last August helped put bilateral relations back on track after the crisis sparked by statements made by the French President in October 2021, in which he accused the Algerian military political system of creating a memory rent, and questioned.
Likewise, the existence of an Algerian nation before colonialism.
In his interview with Le Point, Macron admitted that his statements were wrong.
The French president said: “It may be a clumsy phrase and it may have hurt the feelings of the Algerians, considering at the same time that these moments of tension teach us… You have to know how to reach out again.”
Macron also called for calming tensions between Algeria and Morocco, ruling out a war between the two arch-neighbors.
Algeria severed diplomatic relations between it and Morocco in August 2021, accusing Morocco of committing hostile acts, in a decision that Morocco considered totally unjustified.