A strong gesture. This is the expectation of the harkis for 60 years towards a state which abandoned them after the Evian accords and the independence of Algeria. This is also what the Élysée promises a few days before the reception organized at the Palais on September 20, where the president should ” open the repair site “. One way, for Emmanuel Macron, ” to go beyond “Of the recognition formulated by François Hollande in 2016, who had pointed out” the responsibilities of the French governments in the abandonment of the harkis “.
Before September 25, national day of homage to the harkis and other members of the auxiliary formations, the president could thus recognize a “ breach Of the French Republic towards those who joined forces with it and of whom, according to historians’ estimates, 60,000 to 80,000 fell under the bullets of the FLN after independence in 1962.
→ READ. Memories of the Algerian war, rather deeds than apologies
In addition to the procrastination over the repatriation of the harkis, between the summer and the month of September 1962, the French State bears the responsibility for the reception which has been reserved for them. Transit camps, forestry hamlets, host cities … “No one disputes its unworthiness any more », Insists the Elysee, appalling material conditions “Deprivation of fundamental rights “. An estimated 90,000 returnees between 1962 and 1968.
Still burning questions
The report of the prefect Dominique Ceaux “To harkis, France grateful”, submitted to the Ministry of the Armed Forces in 2018, underlined that ” theyhave collectively their place in the Pantheon of our recent history “. Would the idea of a plaque in the temple of great men be relevant again?
In any case, the presidential word is all the more expected as Emmanuel Macron recently recognized the responsibility of the State in the death of those who fought for the independence of Algeria, such as Maurice Audin or Ali Boumendjel. And that the Stora report on the memory of colonization and the Algerian war, submitted to the presidency in January 2021, addresses the fate of the harkis in only one of its proposals. His recommendation of ” facilitate the movement of harkis and their children between France and Algeria », Considered insufficient and outdated, had made the associations react strongly.
Three decorated “highly symbolic memory carriers”
As for the burning issue of compensation and the possible opening of a new fund, the Élysée refers to the presidential address. It could come in addition to the 40 million euros allocated in 2019. Part of the sum made it possible to revalue the allowance paid to former harkis and their widows by € 400, the other to supplement a solidarity fund for a period of four years, intended to help the children of Harkis combatants who are in social precariousness.
On September 15, around forty associations sent an open letter to the President of the Republic. They demand, before the end of 2021, the passage of a law recognizing the responsibility of the State, creating a commission for the assessment of damages and recording a revaluation of existing allowances.
Faithful to the reconciliation of memories – which he has been calling for since the start of the quinquennium – and keeping repentance and denial at bay, Emmanuel Macron will decorate three ” highly symbolic memory bearers “. Master Corporal Salah Abdelkrim, named twice and wounded in action; General François Meyer, who organized the repatriation and reception of 350 people on the Roure plateau in Lozère; and lastly, Bornia Tarall, daughter of harki and co-founder of the Mariannes of Diversity.
Attention to the following generations
This attention to the following generations is not insignificant, at a time when the progress of science makes it possible to measure the extent of the traumas suffered by the descendants of the harkis. ” These children were put aside from the national community, they suffered the pathologies of their parents and, for some, developed what is now called post-traumatic stress., explains historian Denis Peschanski, scientific director of the Rivesaltes Memorial. The first stake remains their integration into the national community, like that of their destiny in a larger history.. “
→ DEBATE. Can the Stora report help reconcile memories?
” Many children of harkis have psychological problems linked to being locked up in the camps », Confirms Belkacem Guéroui, son of harki and founder of the association Mémoirearmée d’Afrique. He too expects a law taking into account bodily and moral injury and compensation that will finally come ” take the weight off the backs of harkis and their descendants “. But he already welcomes the word of the president, from the Elysee. Whoever is about to unveil a plaque in memory of the soldiers of Africa in the cemetery of Saint-Maximin, wants to believe in the future. ” We can’t pass a war on to our children. “