Top French Historian Slams Macron's Hardline Stance on StatuesHistorians in the News
tags: France, colonialism, racism, statues, public history
A leading historian attacked French President Emmanuel Macron's stance on disputed statues linked to the country's colonial past Wednesday, saying he had "hugely confused" history and memory.
Macron all but ignored the wave of Black Lives Matter protests in a major television address last week except to warn that France would not take down statues of controversial historical figures.
"The Republic will not wipe away any trace or any name from its history... but lucidly look at our history and our memory together," the president said.
But historian Nicolas Offenstadt pulled him up sharply, telling French radio that Macron had a made a "hugely damaging confusion between history and memory that will not help public debate in France."
His intervention comes after Oscar-nominated black filmmaker Raoul Peck accused France of being in denial of its racism, its colonial past and its wealth "built on the misery of others".