Macron Questions Existence of Algeria Before French Colonization

French President Emmanuel Macron asked Saturday whether or not an Algerian nation existed before French colonization, attacking the 'completely re-written official history' of Algeria.

  • French President Emmanuel Macron in an undated photo | EPA
    French President Emmanuel Macron in an undated photo (EPA)

President Emmanuel Macron of France made several controversial, shocking, and unprecedented statements toward Algeria and its president, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, whom he accused of being influenced by those around him despite the good relations Macron said he has with the Algerian president.

Macron's statements came Thursday during a two-hour meeting with 18 young French youths of Algerian origin in the Elysee Palace, whose aim was to 'freely' discuss the French 'conflict' with Algeria, which saw France murdering and dismembering Algerians. The meeting was reported on by the French Le Monde.

Macron condemned what he called "hate towards France" in Algerian society, saying it is the basis of the official history of Algeria, which he denounced as "completely re-written" and "unfactual."

"The Algerian official history is not based on facts but rather on a discourse which, it must be said, is based on hatred of France."

On Algeria's political state, Macron said that he perceives a "tired Algerian regime," which was "rendered fragile by the Hirak," he said. Macron noted that he has a good dialogue with President Tebboune, but he sees that the latter "is stuck in a harsh system."

Visas Were to Pressure 'Leaders'

After France announced that it would halve the number of visas available to Algerians, President Macron said France is using that as a means to pressure the "leaders," assuring that the decision would not affect students nor the business community. "Instead, we are going to annoy those in the ruling community who used to apply for visas easily," he said.

Macron told Le Monde halving the number of visas available for Algerians is a means to pressure the "leaders" into cooperating with France. It was to tell them that "if you do not cooperate on putting away those who are illegal and dangerous, we will not make your life easier."

Once a Colonizer, Always a Colonizer

French President Macron hopes for the establishment of a French "editorial production" in Arabic and Berber to "combat" the "disinformation" and "propaganda" in Morocco, "which are spread by the Turks most of the time, completely re-writing history."

Macron projected a French superiority complex: "Was there an Algerian nation before French colonization?" He argued that there had been previous colonizations before the French one, citing the Ottoman Empire's colonization of Algeria.

"I am fascinated to see Turkey's capability of making the world completely forget the role it played in Algeria and its hegemony. To argue that we were the only colonialists, that's brilliant. The Algerians believe that," he quarreled. 

Previously, Macron admitted, "in the name of France," that the French army tortured and assassinated Algerian activist and freedom fighter Ali Boumendjel in 1957. France promoted the idea that his assassination was a suicide to cover up their crime.

Algeria's Response

Algeria responded to the French president's statements by recalling its ambassador to France for consultation in light of the mounting tensions.

"Algeria recalls its ambassador [Mohamed Antar-Daoud] from Paris for consultations," state television said, quoting a statement from the presidency.

State television said a longer statement would follow soon to explain the Algerian move.