Macron will not apologize for French colonization of Algeria
The French president alleges that offering an apology for over a century of colonization and brutal war crimes would be 'the worst option'
By News Desk - January 12 2023

(Photo credit: AFP)

French President Emmanuel Macron has said he “will not ask for forgiveness” over his country’s 132-year-long colonization of Algeria and its role in the war of independence, which saw French troops kill approximately 1.5 million Algerians.

“It’s not up to me to ask forgiveness, that’s not what this is about; that word would break all of our ties,” he said in an interview with Le Point magazine published on 11 January.

“The worst thing would be to decide: ‘we apologize and each go our own way,'” Macron said, adding: “Work on memory and history isn’t a settling of all accounts.”

French colonial rule over Algeria started in 1830 with the invasion of Algiers and lasted until the Algerian War of Independence, which began in 1954 and concluded in 1962.

The brutality of the war, which included executions and acts of torture against Algerian nationalists, has had a lasting impact on the society of both nations. Rape crimes by French soldiers are also believed to have taken place on a large scale throughout the war for independence.

In 2018, France admitted that it carried out systematic torture in its former colony in an attempt to crack down on the independence movement.

Several years before the start of the war, on 8 May 1945, as many as 45,000 Algerians were slaughtered for demanding independence, marking the most extensive carnage committed by France in a single day.

In 2017, then-presidential candidate Macron dubbed the French occupation of Algeria a “crime against humanity.” However, he has also previously questioned whether Algeria existed as a nation before being colonized by France.

During his comments on Wednesday, the French President expressed hope that his Algerian counterpart Abdelmajid Tebboune “will be able to come to France in 2023” to return Macron’s trip to Algiers last year and continue their “unprecedented work of friendship.”

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