His speech was expected. Five days before the national day of homage to the Harkis which has been celebrated every September 25 since 2003, Emmanuel Macron received on Monday some 300 people, Harkis now very old sixty years after the end of the conflict, but also their descendants, officials associations and personalities. He asked them “forgiveness” on behalf of France, believing that the country had “failed in its duties” towards them.
“To the fighters, I want to say our gratitude; we will not forget. I beg your pardon, we will not forget ”, declared the President of the Republic, who also announced a law of“ recognition and reparation ”that the government“ will carry before the end of the year ”. “You carry the memory of the harkis in your flesh. The honor of the harkis must be engraved in the national memory ”, explained the Head of State by calling for“ heal the wounds ”which must be“ closed by words of truth, gestures of memory and acts of justice ”.
“The president considers that the work accomplished for sixty years is important but that it is necessary to take a new step in the recognition of the breach which was made to the Harkis but also to the breach of the French Republic to its own values”, explained the Élysée before the meeting. In 2016, François Hollande had recognized “the responsibilities of the French governments in the abandonment of the Harkis. “And to add:” The history of the Harkis is a history of French people and it is the history of the French; It is in this state of mind that we must approach this new chapter. “
Flashback: up to 200,000 Harkis were recruited as auxiliaries to the French army during the conflict between 1954 and 1962 between Algerian nationalists and France. At the end of this war, some of them, abandoned by Paris, were victims of reprisals in Algeria. Several tens of thousands of others, often accompanied by women and children, were transferred to France, where they were placed in “transit and reclassification camps” with undignified and lasting traumatic living conditions.
Since then, the various compensation procedures that have taken place have been deemed insufficient by the Harkis, who are asking for a “law to recognize the abandonment of the Harkis” before the end of the year.
“Sixty years of a certain hypocrisy”
“We have seen you have the courage to recognize dark pages in our history, on the Algerian war, Rwanda or the nuclear tests in Polynesia. We hope that you will be the one who will put an end to sixty years of a certain hypocrisy consisting in recognizing the abandonment of the Harkis in the speeches but to refuse it in a law ”, launched Ajir, the Association Justice Information Reparation for the Harkis.
The associations, which claim to represent a community of around 400,000 people (Harkis and descendants), are also calling for an increase in existing compensation.
In September 2018, Secretary of State for the Armed Forces Geneviève Darrieussecq presented a “Harkis plan” including the release of 40 million euros over four years to revalue the pensions of veterans and help those of their children who are living. in precariousness.
After having taken various initiatives (on Maurice Audin, the opening of the archives or the assassination of lawyer Ali Boumendjel …), Emmanuel Macron still intends to participate in two memorial days by the end of the quinquennium: repression by the police French demonstration of Algerians in Paris on October 17, 1961, and the signing of the Evian Accords on March 18, 1962, which consecrated the French defeat in Algeria.
So many politically sensitive meetings in the run-up to the presidential election in April 2022 when the Harkis represent an electorate traditionally courted by the National Rally and the right.