Nabila Ramdani: Fifty Years After Algeria's Independence, France is Still in Denial

Roundup: Talking About History

Nabila Ramdani is a Paris-born freelance journalist and academic of Algerian descent.

In 1962, Bob Dylan released his first album, Brigitte Bardot was at the height of her fame, and the James Bond film Dr No was made. It was the start of a decade which would forever be associated with creativity and entertainment.
But for Algerians of my parents' generation the swinging 60s mean something entirely different. My father remembers 5 July 1962 – exactly 50 years ago – as the day that France's last major colony became independent.
Freedom for Algeria, the largest country in Africa and the Arab world, called time on a savage period of history in which some 1.5 million Algerians died, most in aerial bombing raids and ratissages – jargon used to describe the way in which army units "combed through" cities and towns slaughtering those they came across. Hundreds of thousands more were tortured as an entire nation was made to pay for resisting the might of an overseas "master" to whom it had been subjugated for 132 years.
Such thoughts were high in my mind on a recent trip to the Château de Vincennes, the castle just outside Paris where King Henry V of England died...

comments powered by Disqus