France refuses to apologize for its Algerian past
Decades and millions of deaths later, Algeria is still a dark chapter in the French history books. Even after gaining its independence, the country still did not get rid of French brutality and racism.
Six decades later, Algeria's war of independence is still unforgettable. France has made attempts to "heal the wounds" but refuses to "apologize or repent" for its 132 years of brutal colonial rule.
After a horrific eight-year war, Algeria, which Paris considered to be an important part of France, gained independence on July 5, 1962.
The Algerian war was so vehement in France that the decision to withdraw prompted some of the country's top generals to attempt a coup.
According to French historians, the conflict killed half a million civilians and fighters, the vast majority of whom were Algerians, whereas Algerian authorities say three times as many died.
French presidents ponder the past
In April 1975, Valery Giscard d'Estaing became the first French President to visit the newly independent Algeria.
During a visit to Algeria in November 1981, his successor Francois Mitterrand declared, "France and Algeria are capable of getting over the trauma of the past."
Francois Hollande described it as "brutal," and in 2016, he became the first President to declare the end of the war, prompting outrage among his detractors.
Moreover, during his presidential campaign in 2017, Emmanuel Macron, the first French President born since the war, outraged the right by labeling Algeria's colonization "a crime against humanity."
He said it was time France "looked our past in the face."
Macron also acknowledged that Algerian lawyer Ali Boumendjel was tortured and murdered in the same year, a crime that French officials had long ignored.
He believed that "symbolic gestures" could help reconcile the two countries when the state-commissioned research on colonization by Algerian-born French historian Benjamin Stora was published in January 2021.
He also begged forgiveness from Harkis who had been "abandoned" by France.
However, Macron threw away all the symbolic gestures of solidarity by rejecting calls for France to "apologize or repent" for its occupation of Algeria.
He triggered a massive schism in Algeria's post-independence "political-military system... (of) completely rewriting" the country's history in late 2021.
Macron called the 1961 massacre of Algerian protesters in Paris by French police "an unacceptable atrocity" two weeks later.
President Macron acknowledged two 1962 killings of pieds-noirs who opposed Algerian independence by French forces, as well as anti-war protesters slain by Paris police the same year in January 2022.
On the other hand, French presidential candidate, Eric Zammour, made new offensive statements against Algerians, celebrating the atrocities committed by the harsh French occupation.
Eric Zemmour, who claims to be of Algerian descent, denied this and began attacking everything related to Algeria, saying he wanted to talk "among men" with Algerian leaders and refusing to accept any French apology for the heinous crimes committed during the French occupation of Algeria, "The apology will not be a topic of discussion," he said.