ALGIERS, 9 February 2021 – The government of Algeria on Monday called, anew, on its former colonial power, France, to acknowledge its colonial crimes.
“France’s escape from recognizing its colonial crimes in Algeria cannot last long,” said Algerian information minister, Ammar Belhimer, in a statement published by the state-run daily El-Massa.
Two weeks ago, French historian Benjamin Stora delivered a report to French President Emmanuel Macron on colonization in Algeria from 1830 to 1962.
French media cited officials in the Elysee Palace (the French Presidency) saying of the report that it “does not mean taking a step towards an apology to Algeria.”
Algerian officials and historians have charged that French colonization led to the murders of nearly five million Algerians in a savage campaign of dehumanization and plunder.
French colonialists stole documents and artifacts from the country, some of them dating back to the Ottoman era (1515-1830).
“A criminal usually does everything possible to avoid admitting his crimes,” the statement by Belhimer added.
The most important achievement France could have working with Algeria is the moral achievement of recognizing France’s colonial crimes.
France has mouthed platitudes on several occasions on turning a new page in relations with Algeria, acting deaf and dumb when it comes to repeated demands by Algerian officials that Paris should begin by recognizing its colonial crimes.
During his campaign for president, Macron said the French committed crimes against humanity during colonization but offered no apology.
The French continue to hold over a dozen French-speaking African countries in colonial bondage wrapped under the label of cooperation but consisting of transactions that, even today, are described as a colonial tax.