“Was there an Algerian nation before French colonization? That is the question”

Mikhail Kotlyar

The French president, during a meeting with the descendants of the veterans of the Algerian war, questioned the Algerian statehood and accused the authorities of the former colony of rewriting history. In Algeria, these words were called interference in internal affairs and attempts to hide the genocide of local tribes, which was carried out by the French colonial troops. The African Republic recalled its ambassador from Paris and banned French aircraft from flying in its airspace.

A diplomatic scandal fla-res up between Algeria and Paris, which has already led to real consequences. It all began last Thursday during a meeting between President Emmanuel Macron and the descendants of the fighters for the independence of Algeria (the former colony declared sovereignty in 1962 after an eight-year bloody war with French colonial troops).

On September 30, Macron held a dinner at the Elysee Palace, which was attended by 18 young people whose ancestors personally participated in the Algerian war. As the newspaper Le Monde writes , during a conversation with the descendants of the veterans, the president said that after gaining independence, Algeria “completely rewrote official history, which is now based not on truth, but on the rhetoric of hatred towards France.”

Macron added that after 1962, Algerian statehood was built on a “memorial foundation,” and the rewriting of history results in a distance between Paris and its former colony. “The creation of Algeria as a nation is a phenomenon worth wa-tching. Was there an Algeri-an nation before French colonization? That is the question, ”the president said.

Macron’s words sparked a harsh reaction in Algeria. The authorities of the African country said that such statements are an exa-mple of unacceptable interference in internal affairs. “These words are an unbea-rable attack on the memory of the 5,630,000 brave martyrs who sacrificed their lives in heroic resistance to the French colonial invasion and the glorious revolution of national liberation,” the Algerian presidential administration’s press service said in a communiqué, quoted by the local news agency APS …

In the cabinet, the head of state noted that “the cri-mes of colonial France in Algeria are countless,” they are a demonstration of gen-ocide and cannot be justified.

The Algerian authorities called French nostalgia for colonial times as attempts to hide the plunder of the country, destruction of settlements, the eradication of local tribes and the “massacre”.

“At the same time, superficial and tendentious asses-sments of the construction of Algerian statehood are part of the hackneyed hegemonic concept and are in no way compatible with Algeria’s firm conviction of the sovereign equality of states,” the message says.

In this regard, President Abdelmajid Tebbun decided to recall the ambassador to France to his homeland for consultations. However, Algeria’s reaction did not end there. According to Reuters , citing its own sources, Algeria has closed its airspace to French military aircraft.

Al Jazeera, citing an official representative of the Fr-ench Armed Forces, Pascal Yanni, on the morning of O-ctober 3, the country’s Mi-nistry of Defense made an application for two flights through Algeria and recei-ved a reply that the Alge-rians had banned the French air force from flying over their territory. French military bases are located in G-abon, Senegal and Djibo-uti, in addition, the republic’s soldiers are stationed in Mali, Chad, CAR, Somalia and Cote d’Ivoire. The army of the European country has already stated that the clos-ed skies over Algeria will n-ot affect France’s military o-perations in the Sahel region.

Tensions between Alge-ria and Paris began to intensify even before Macron’s remarks: on September 29, the French authorities deci-ded to halve the issuance of visas to Algerians. 30% fe-wer visas began to be issued to residents of Morocco and Tunisia.

The French Foreign Ministry explained this step by the desire to induce these countries to accept their citizens deported from Europe, among whom there are radical Islamists.

In response to the decision to reduce the issuance of visas, the Algerian Fore-ign Ministry summoned the French ambassador on We-dnesday and handed him a note of protest. The decisi-on of Paris in Africa was c-alled unprecedented and unjustified.

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