France: commemorating the Paris massacre of 1961
Emmanuel Macron on Sunday became the first French president to attend a memorial service for the victims of the Paris massacre of 1961. He described the acts of 17 October 1961 in which hundreds of people of Algerian origin holding a peaceful pro-independence demonstration were killed by police near Paris as "unforgivable for the Republic". Can this gesture promote reconciliation?
Paris must show political courage
President Macron should finally set up the commission recommended in the Stora report, urges Pierre Hazan, senior advisor at the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, in Le Temps:
“There have never been so many reasons for the establishment of a truth and memory commission on the Algerian war as there are today, given the intensifying nationalist stance of the far right, which limits itself to France's Christian origins and anti-Islam rhetoric. It would require real political courage to set up such a commission to meet the challenges ahead: to help redefine the French identity for the 21st century in an inclusive way by acknowledging France's Algerian past.”
It takes two to reconcile
Algiers must also do its part to improve bilateral relations, Le Figaro stresses:
“The Stora report demands action from Paris, but also mentions Algeria's obligations towards the victims of the war. The maintenance of Jewish and Christian cemeteries on its territory, the facilitation of entry for the families of Algerian soldiers who supported the French army, truth about the massacres after the Evian Accords: what about all of this unfinished business? One can create new opportunities, but a reconciliation process can only take place when there are two parties involved.”