Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

'Where is the solidarity for Somalia?'

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Liberia's presidential election: Results trickle in as observers give thumbs-up

Read more

THE DEBATE

France's Weinsteins: Watershed moment in fight against sexual abuse?

Read more

FOCUS

A shield and a target: France's anti-terrorism operation 'Sentinelle'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

#MeToo and #BalanceTonPorc expose extent of sexual harassment

Read more

ENCORE!

Musical maestro Philippe Jordan on bringing passion to the Paris Opera

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Black day for democracy': Malta in mourning after top journalist is murdered

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Has the Weinstein scandal 'freed' women from their silence?

Read more

THE DEBATE

Europe’s newest face: Kurz’s election win indicates rightward shift for Austria

Read more

France

French presidential hopeful Macron calls colonisation a ‘crime against humanity’

© Stringer, AFP | French presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron visits the European cemetery of Bologhine in Algeria’s capital Algiers on February 14, 2017.

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2017-02-16

French independent presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron described colonisation as a “crime against humanity” during a visit to Algeria this week, sparking outrage back home among conservative and far-right parties.

Macron, a centrist, unequivocally condemned France’s colonial history in an interview broadcast by Algerian television Echorouk on Tuesday.

“It’s a crime. It’s a crime against humanity,” the former economy minister said. “It’s truly barbarous and it’s part of a past that we need to confront by apologising to those against whom we committed these acts.”

“At the same time, we must not sweep this past under the rug…There’s a fitting phrase that is said about Algeria: ‘France established human rights in Algeria. It simply forgot to [abide] by them,’” he added.

Profile: Emmanuel Macron

Macron’s comments sparked outrage among conservative and far-right parties in France, which has never officially apologised for its 132-year colonisation of Algeria.

“Mr. Macron, are roads, hospitals, French language and French culture crimes against humanity? Stop this constant repentence!” Florian Philippot, vice-president of the far-right National Front party, tweeted on Wednesday.

Conservative presidential candidate François Fillon – who is currently trailing Macron in the polls – echoed Philippot’s remark at a campaign event in the northern town of Compiègne, also on Wednesday.

'He’s saying what people want to hear': Fillon

“This hatred of our history, this constant repentance is undignified for a presidential candidate. It wasn’t so long ago that Mr. Macron recognised some of the positive aspects of colonisation. This means that Emmanuel Macron has no spine. He’s simply saying what people want to hear,” Fillon told a crowd of around 4,000 people.

In October, Macron struck a different chord in an interview with French newspaper Le Point, during which he spoke of the overall impact of French colonisation in Algeria.

“Yes, there was torture in Algeria, but there was also the emergence of a state, of wealth, of a middle class. That’s the reality of colonisation. There were civilised elements and barbarous elements,” he said at the time.

Nearly 55 years after Algerian independence in 1962, France’s colonial history remains a highly sensitive subject. The closest a French leader has ever come to issuing a formal apology was in 2012, when President François Hollande acknowledged his country’s “unjust and brutal” occupation.

Algerian officials have estimated that the country’s eight-year war for independence claimed 1.5 million Algerian lives, while French historians have say that around 400,000 people were killed on both sides.

Date created : 2017-02-16

  • FRANCE - RUSSIA

    France presidential hopeful Macron restates Russia hack claims amid Kremlin denials

    Read more

  • USA

    Presidential hopeful Macron tells US climate scientists: ‘Guys, please come to France’

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    French presidential hopeful Macron shocks by speaking English

    Read more

COMMENT(S)