World News: French President Macron Freezes Out Algeria

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Engaging in a memorial policy aimed at placing the place of a state in an objective historical reality is the challenge of memorial policies. France has embarked on it and not without difficulty.

It is a fact, certainly temporary, but France and Algeria are in slightly cold. The cause? The words of the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, who, on 20 September at the Elysée Palace, affirmed the Algerian politico-military system had been based on a memorial form knowingly maintained by the various rulers who succeeded each other at the head of the North African State.

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An outcry on the other side of the Mediterranean followed by a recall of the Algerian ambassador to France and a ban on French military aircraft flying over Algerian territory. However, the words of the French president, shared by a large part of Algerians, have offended a regime that still seeks to hide its inertia and its failures by pretexting the consequences of a colonization judged, rightly, unjust and unfair.

However, after the emotion of the French president's words and the occasional quarrel that will eventually subside shortly, hides the difficult task for each state, and not only France or Algeria, to conduct a fair, coherent and in line with historical reality.

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National Novel and Questioning

The exercise can be perilous because it involves delicate notions such as those of identity, gaze, meaning and writing of history. However, Emmanuel Macron's five-year term has tried, whenever the opportunity arose, to highlight or nourish this policy of remembrance with a single objective: to put France back in its rightful place in history.

The national novel, dear to the Third Republic, has lived and can no longer serve today as a breviary let alone a founding pillar for those who wish to use the history of France as a political argument. An intelligently conducted policy of remembrance will be able to free itself from the excesses and passions that can easily invade it to the point of perverting it.

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And once again, the exercise is by no means easy because it presupposes a questioning of historical achievements that are therefore open to debate and a potential rewriting of the latter in order to propose a responsible and empowering reading of History and the facts that compose it.

Necessity and Challenge

It is in no way a question of overwhelming or venerating anyone, of minimizing this or that fact, but of recontextualizing the historical components in order to propose a space for reflection devoid of slag born of risky interpretations.

The construction site is huge but necessary. And to accept to open a reflection, however painful it may be, on the past of a nation is a challenge which, when completed, opens the field to new diplomatic relations and new social relations.

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If looking at its history in the face ensures a more serene present and future, it is also the pledge for peripheral nations or linked in one way or another, of a space of dialogue undone by all unhealthy ambiguities or unsaid cooked and annealed. And if in absolute terms, an approach of this order is salutary, it is still appropriate that it be accepted and be the subject of a similar logic in the nations involved.


Bio: Olivier Longhi an opinion columnist for, has extensive experience in European history. A seasoned journalist with fifteen years of experience, he is currently professor of history and geography in the Toulouse region of France. He has held a variety of publishing positions, including Head of Agency and Chief of Publishing. A journalist, recognized blogger, editor, and editorial project manager, he has trained and managed editorial teams, worked as a journalist for various local radio stations, a press and publishing consultant, and a communications consultant.

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