Q : The Algerian Government spokesperson, Ammar Belhimer, had very harsh comments to make on Benjamin Stora’s report on the “reconciliation of memories” between France and Algeria. Given this initial reaction to the French initiative by Algerian authorities, is it useful to establish a “Memory and Truth” Commission, as announced? Do we know if it will be formed before March 19, the anniversary of the Evian Accords?
A : We refer you to the communiqué from the Elysée, issued on January 21 when Benjamin Stora submitted his report to President Macron:
“In accordance with the mission entrusted to him by President Macron on July 24, 2020, Benjamin Stora today submitted his conclusions and recommendations concerning the memories of colonization and the Algerian War. President Macron applauded the quality of his work, carried out in a spirit of openness and characterized by listening and respect for all parties.
He underscored his desire to continue this effort of memory, truth and reconciliation instituted by our country in recent years and in its ties with Algeria.
On the basis of this effort, President Macron will establish several concrete initiatives aimed at moving forward on the path to acknowledging all memories and easing tensions.
It is the President’s wish that these initiatives allow our country to take a clear-headed look at the injuries of the past, to bring about a reconciliation of memories over the long term, and to focus on the young people of France and Algeria with a view to education and the transmission of memories. A number of Mr. Stora’s proposals will require an investigation to be carried out by a “Memory and Truth” Commission composed of several figures and chaired by Mr. Stora.
Finally, the President emphasized his wish that all those whose lives were turned upside down by the Algerian War be fully represented in the commemorations of September 25 (National Day of Tribute to the Harkis and Members of the Irregular Units of the French Army in Algeria), of October 17, 1961, and of March 19, 1962.”