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what the French presidents have already said

“Yes, our two peoples have a common history, with its shadows and its tears, but also with its pages of life and harmony. My thoughts, today, also go to these millions of women and men, so different by their religions, their origins, their culture, who lived under this same Mediterranean sky, and together shaped this land to which they were so attached. This past, complex, still painful, we must neither forget nor deny. Marcel Proust wrote: “Some memories are like mutual friends, they know how to make reconciliations. “ Let our memories complete ours. On one side as on the other, let us know how to look this past in the face. Recognize his wounds, his tragic dimension. Let us welcome together memories, all memories. Let us respect all the victims of the Algerian war, all those who fought in the sincerity of their commitments. Those who could not see the days of Independence dawn, like those who had to go into exile. (…) We must organize our community of destiny, at the service of peace and stability in the Mediterranean. The destinies of Algeria and France intersect. The souls of our two peoples mingle intimately. We have so many assets available to achieve this. Let us give priority to what unites us, by heart and by reason. ”

(Speech delivered on March 3, 2003 in Algiers, before the Algerian Parliament.)

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” In this city [Constantine], which I did not choose by chance, the stones still remember that day in 1837 when a free and proud people, exhausted after having resisted to the extreme limit of their strength, were forced to renounce their freedom . The stones of Constantine still remember that terrible day of August 20, 1955 when everyone shed blood here, for the cause which seemed to him the most just and the most legitimate. The surge of violence, the outburst of hatred that that day overwhelmed Constantine and its entire region and killed so many innocent people were the product of the injustice that for more than a hundred years the colonial system had inflicted on the Algerian people. Injustice always stirs up violence and hatred. Many of those who had come to settle in Algeria, I want to tell you, were of good will and of good faith. They had come to work and to build, with no intention of enslaving or exploiting anyone. But the colonial system was inherently unjust and the colonial system could only be experienced as an enterprise of enslavement and exploitation. (…) On both sides there has been pain, there has been suffering, there has been sorrow. These pains, sufferings and pains, no one in Algeria or in France has forgotten them. I do not forget those who fell with arms in hand so that the Algerian people may once again be a free people, I do not forget the innocent victims of a blind and brutal repression, nor those who were killed in the attacks and which never hurt anyone, nor those who had to give up everything: the fruit of a life of work, the land they loved, their parents’ graves, the familiar places of their childhood. “

(Speech given on December 5, 2007 to students at Mentouri University in Constantine.)

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“Nothing is built in concealment, in oblivion, and even less in denial. The truth, it does not damage, it repairs, the truth, it does not divide, it brings together. So history, even when it is tragic, even when it is painful for our two countries, must be told. And the truth, I will tell it here in front of you. For 132 years, Algeria has been subjected to a deeply unjust and brutal system, this system has a name, it is colonization, and I recognize here the sufferings that colonization has inflicted on the Algerian people. Among these sufferings, there was [en 1945] the massacres of Sétif, Guelma, Kherrata, which, I know, remain anchored in the consciousness of Algerians, but also of the French. Because in Setif, on May 8, 1945, the very day when the world triumphed over barbarism, France was failing in its universal values. The truth must also be told about the circumstances in which Algeria got rid of the colonial system, about this war which, for a long time, did not speak its name in France, the Algerian war. There you are, we have respect for memory, for all memories. We have this duty of truth about violence, injustices, massacres, torture. Knowing, establishing the truth is an obligation, and it binds Algerians and French people. This is why it is necessary that historians have access to archives, and that cooperation in this field can be initiated, continued, and that gradually, this truth can be known to all. “

(Speech delivered on December 20, 2012 in Algiers, before the Algerian Parliament.)

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“Yes, in Algeria, there was torture, but also the emergence of a state, wealth, middle classes, this is the reality of colonization. There have been elements of civilization and elements of barbarism. “

(Interview at Point, November 2016.)

“I think it is inadmissible to glorify colonization. Some, a little over ten years ago [la loi du 23 février 2005 mentionnait le « rôle positif » de la colonisation], wanted to do that in France. You will never hear me say that kind of thing. I have always condemned colonization as an act of barbarism. I did it in France, I do it here. (…) Colonization is part of French history. It is a crime, it is a crime against humanity, it is a real barbarism. And it’s part of this past that we must face in the face, apologizing to those to whom we have committed these acts. (…). There were terrible crimes, torture, barbarism (…) but at the same time, I do not want to fall into the culture of guilt on which we do not build anything. It’s this ridge path that I want us to take together.

(Interview with journalist Khaled Drareni, February 15, 2017 on Echorouk News).

“Maurice Audin’s disappearance was made possible by a system which successive governments have allowed to develop: the system called“ arrest-detention ”. This system was the unfortunate breeding ground for sometimes terrible acts, including torture, which the Audin affair brought to light. Of course, torture did not cease to be a crime under the law, but it then developed because it went unpunished. (…) It is important that this story be known, that it be viewed with courage and lucidity. It is about the appeasement and the serenity of those whom it has bruised, whose destinies it has upset, both in Algeria and in France. Recognition will not cure their ailments. There will undoubtedly remain the irreparable in everyone, but recognition must be able, symbolically, to relieve those who still bend under the weight of this past. It is in this spirit, in any case, that it is conceived and formulated today. It is also the honor of all the French who, civilians or soldiers, have disapproved of torture, have not engaged in it or have avoided it, and who, today as yesterday, refuse to be assimilated to those who instituted and practiced it. “

(Declaration of September 13, 2018 on the death of Maurice Audin.)

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