Harkis: the last colonial crime in Algeria

Yorgos

Ad Honorem
Jun 2010
3,582
#11
This is shameful, i must admit. However, i'm surprised that you blame solely the French and not the actual murderers of the Harkis and criminals against humaity, the Algerian FLN (who btw murdered much more Algerians than French, and civilians than soldiers).
You put words in my mouth that have never been said. I actually said in a previous post that Algerian Revolution was also a civil war. Parts of the civil war were FLN/ALN against MNA and Harkis against all of them. All parties in the civil war were to blame for crimes against humanity, FLN/ALN, the Harkis and MNA. But if you have to say who was serving a cause, that would definetely not be the Harkis.

The massacres started because one hundred european Algerians were killed first. Of course, the reaction was savage and completely disproportionate, i do not deny this, but i just wanted to mention a fact that has been (as often) ignored.
It is worth mentionning that the Sétif massacre started the 8th of May 1945, the very same day France was celebrating liberation. Algerians, who participated actively and engaged themselves in the French army against Nazism, find on that great day the perfect chance to manifestate in order to ask independence from a country. Those very same Algerians were part of French liberation, since they helped actively in his fight for liberation.

If we need to know what preceded Sétif massacres, we need to know that thousands of Algerians engaged themselves to French army and liberated France, together will all French forces. Many of them were sent to France to liberate a "motherhood" that had never seen and left their lives in Monte Cassino, Italy and in whole France. They fought village to village, and there are even statues in some villages in France commemorating the sacrifice of "Indigènes".

And, when those Algerians dared to ask for independence, Massacres of Sétif was the only answer that France had to them. And this is shame, coward and racism.

So, let us not forget that French colonial army thought that those Algerians were worthy only to fight against Nazism but not to fight for their own liberty. Fortunately, History denied French colonialism.

So, you are wrong. Massacres of Sétif did not start because Algerians were killing French. Before the 8th of May 1945, Algerians were fighting to liberate France from Nazism.

And a detail: the massacre in Sétif started when one 20-year old Algerian refused to relpy the Algerian flag. He was killed imediately and the colonial army (including Harkis) started a massacre during which 27 French died and, according to France even, 8,000 - 10,000 Algerians. There is nothing to add to that kind of crimes.
 

clement

Ad Honorem
Jun 2011
2,141
California, USA
#12
But if you have to say who was serving a cause, that would definetely not be the Harkis.
We are not talking about cause. I'm not denouncing the FLN because it fought for Algerian independence. I'm denouncing it because it was a terrorist organization that voluntarily targetted civilians (not to say that the French army did not do the same, just that it usually gets most if not all of the blame), that slaughtered tens of thousands of Algerians and that has established a form of partisan tyranny in this country. Now, the party's leaders are still blaming the French for their economy being stagnant and relatively poor. Even though they were quite happy to take control of the French railways, airports and roads (which i totally agree were not built out of love for the Algerians).



If we need to know what preceded Sétif massacres, we need to know that thousands of Algerians engaged themselves to French army and liberated France, together will all French forces. Many of them were sent to France to liberate a "motherhood" that had never seen and left their lives in Monte Cassino, Italy and in whole France. They fought village to village, and there are even statues in some villages in France commemorating the sacrifice of "Indigènes".

And, when those Algerians dared to ask for independence, Massacres of Sétif was the only answer that France had to them. And this is shame, coward and racism.

So, let us not forget that French colonial army thought that those Algerians were worthy only to fight against Nazism but not to fight for their own liberty. Fortunately, History denied French colonialism.
This is a complete simplification of history. Many of the Algerians who had fought for the French in WW II were actually on the side of the colonial forces during the Setif massacre. Most French people were simply indifferent to what was happening in Algeria. Including De Gaulle, who just asked for order to be restored, leaving the french officials do as they wished. It is also shameful, cowardly and racist to say "the suitcase or the coffin" as the FLN did to the pieds-noirs and the harkis when the conflict ended.


And a detail: the massacre in Sétif started when one 20-year old Algerian refused to relpy the Algerian flag. He was killed imediately and the colonial army (including Harkis) started a massacre during which 27 French died and, according to France even, 8,000 - 10,000 Algerians. There is nothing to add to that kind of crimes.
The 28 French were not killed by the colonial forces but by an angry mob. In the following days, some "pieds-noirs" farmers were killed too. So you see, none of the two sides was entirely blameless.


But i'm growing used to this : when a dirty war involves a western white European country and another, the former will get all the blame, and even have to beg forgiveness as if we were responsible of the misery of the whole world. After all, it is not OK to "napalmise" an Algerian or a chinese (for me, it is just a warcrime, it is as straightforward as this), but to cut a white man's penis and put it in his open throat is a perfectly sensible and defensible action, except when he's a communist of course.


And to go back to the OP, don't get me wrong, i do consider the French treatment of the Harkis as shameful, cowardly and criminal. Because we failed to protect the from the savagery of the FLN, whereas we could easily have done so and were fully aware of what was happening. And yes, it was partly racist since the Pies-noirs, though ill-treated too, were at least protected.
 
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Yorgos

Ad Honorem
Jun 2010
3,582
#13
And to go back to the OP, don't get me wrong, i do consider the French treatment of the Harkis as shameful, cowardly and criminal. Because we failed to protect the from the savagery of the FLN, whereas we could easily have done so and were fully aware of what was happening. And yes, it was partly racist since the Pies-noirs, though ill-treated too, were at least protected.
We do fully agree on that. Your add about the level of "warm" acceptance of Pieds-Noirs in the Métropole is useful. In fact, De Gaule and France at that time were not at all willing to share a liberated France with second class citizens, as the Pieds Noirs. Let alone with sub-humans, as Algerian Harkis.


The 28 French were not killed by the colonial forces but by an angry mob. In the following days, some "pieds-noirs" farmers were killed too. So you see, none of the two sides was entirely blameless.
If you agree on the fact that 27 (or 28) French were killed during Massacres of Sétif, you think that this is not to be compared with 8,000 - 10,000 Algerians? When such blood on the streets, how could it be 0 casualties French side?
And, most of all, you said about one hounderd French killed before Sétif, which was, as you said, the reason of the Sétif Massacres. Do you really believe that those massacres were a response to one houndred death French or it was a brutal killing of 8,000 - 10,000 innocent civilians because their will of independance?


We are not talking about cause. I'm not denouncing the FLN because it fought for Algerian independence. I'm denouncing it because it was a terrorist organization that voluntarily targetted civilians (not to say that the French army did not do the same, just that it usually gets most if not all of the blame), that slaughtered tens of thousands of Algerians and that has established a form of partisan tyranny in this country. Now, the party's leaders are still blaming the French for their economy being stagnant and relatively poor. Even though they were quite happy to take control of the French railways, airports and roads (which i totally agree were not built out of love for the Algerians).
I share the opinion of authoritarian policy and summary executions from FLN/ALN side. This is what happens in civil wars.

But i'm growing used to this : when a dirty war involves a western white European country and another, the former will get all the blame, and even have to beg forgiveness as if we were responsible of the misery of the whole world. After all, it is not OK to "napalmise" an Algerian or a chinese (for me, it is just a warcrime, it is as straightforward as this), but to cut a white man's penis and put it in his open throat is a perfectly sensible and defensible action, except when he's a communist of course.
This is not a general reaction of mine. Whenever there are war crimes, I would defend the victims. But in most cases, European colonialism was not the victim side. And certainly, not in the Algerian war.
By the way, I have seen, when I was young, in a Le Nouvel Observateur, photos of Algerians having suffered the very same death you mention. And I know that even now, a former torturer in Algeria has a quite big audiance in France. Let's face it: France was always racist towards Algeria. And in a very alarming level, it still is.

This is a complete simplification of history. Many of the Algerians who had fought for the French in WW II were actually on the side of the colonial forces during the Setif massacre. Most French people were simply indifferent to what was happening in Algeria.
The difference is that NO French ever fought for Algeria, while many Algerians fought and died for France.


Including De Gaulle, who just asked for order to be restored, leaving the french officials do as they wished. It is also shameful, cowardly and racist to say "the suitcase or the coffin" as the FLN did to the pieds-noirs and the harkis when the conflict ended.
De Gaulle did not just left officials fire at will. He did encourage them with impunity and racist policy towards Algerians.
 

WeisSaul

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,836
New Amsterdam
#14
If all the Harki, Pieds Noirs, and Jews were moved to Tunisia afterwards, I bet the French could have kept Tunisia. All those loyal people would have been something like 40%-45% of the country. The Harki should have been rewarded for their loyalty, instead they were left to die.

Algeria was as much a part of France as Hawaii to the US, but the continental French didn't see it that way, and that idea spread to the Algerians. Such a shame that the French notions of liberty and brotherhood weren't spread to Algerians and Tunisians.
 

clement

Ad Honorem
Jun 2011
2,141
California, USA
#15
If you agree on the fact that 27 (or 28) French were killed during Massacres of Sétif, you think that this is not to be compared with 8,000 - 10,000 Algerians? When such blood on the streets, how could it be 0 casualties French side?
And, most of all, you said about one hounderd French killed before Sétif, which was, as you said, the reason of the Sétif Massacres. Do you really believe that those massacres were a response to one houndred death French or it was a brutal killing of 8,000 - 10,000 innocent civilians because their will of independance?
I never said that. Though I do suspect that if they had had the means to do so, many members of the FLN would have been glad to kill as many pieds-noirs. I'm not saying that one camp was right (war is always a complex business that appear as simple), but that to blame one of them is a fine strategy to conceal the fact that the other one was just as barbaric.






This is not a general reaction of mine. Whenever there are war crimes, I would defend the victims. But in most cases, European colonialism was not the victim side. And certainly, not in the Algerian war.
European colonialism was a process of conquest. Conquest is just as old as humanity. However, unlike some other such phenomenon, it was also a process of construction. The conquest of Algeria was brutal, but in the end, the algerians were also happy to have our doctors and railways. Overall, I can understand though that the Algerians mau have flt bad being treated as outsiders in their country and second-rate citizens for so long, and they should understand that Europeans may have felt bad being taken captive and reduced to slavery in this country too.

My point is not that the Europeans are nicer than other people. It is that they are no worse, still they get a significantly worse reputation than all the others, who are happy to take advantage of our inventions (electricity, cars, airplanes etc.). Mind you, antisemitism and islamophobia are much more scandalous than anti-white racism, even for Europeans.

By the way, I have seen, when I was young, in a Le Nouvel Observateur, photos of Algerians having suffered the very same death you mention. And I know that even now, a former torturer in Algeria has a quite big audiance in France. Let's face it: France was always racist towards Algeria. And in a very alarming level, it still is.
Alright, French are racists towards Algerians, but Algerians are lovers of al things French ? No sir. Algerians, especially those in important positions, have the very nasty habit of blaming the French whenever something goes wrong (quite often I must say) in their country. Are they racist or do they have a complex of inferiority ? I don't see what is alarming right now ? We are not going to nuke Algeria, they are one of our most important partners in the med, and whatever insult they may throw at us, they will never do anything actually damaging to our vital interest.
 

Yorgos

Ad Honorem
Jun 2010
3,582
#16
I never said that. Though I do suspect that if they had had the means to do so, many members of the FLN would have been glad to kill as many pieds-noirs. I'm not saying that one camp was right (war is always a complex business that appear as simple), but that to blame one of them is a fine strategy to conceal the fact that the other one was just as barbaric.
It is nice to see that you finally aknlowledge the reason and the dimension of the Sétif massacres.

European colonialism was a process of conquest. Conquest is just as old as humanity. However, unlike some other such phenomenon, it was also a process of construction. The conquest of Algeria was brutal, but in the end, the algerians were also happy to have our doctors and railways. Overall, I can understand though that the Algerians mau have flt bad being treated as outsiders in their country and second-rate citizens for so long, and they should understand that Europeans may have felt bad being taken captive and reduced to slavery in this country too.
The so called "positive aspects" of colonialism is a very controversial issue that has to be discussed in a separate thread. I already sense that we would not agree, since all those works are paid by 'indigènes' with hard work, taxes, the best fields given to colons and so on. But, let us just disagree and leave it for another thread.


My point is not that the Europeans are nicer than other people. It is that they are no worse, still they get a significantly worse reputation than all the others, who are happy to take advantage of our inventions (electricity, cars, airplanes etc.). Mind you, antisemitism and islamophobia are much more scandalous than anti-white racism, even for Europeans.
Actually I see no reason to put this in a thread where I just wanted to show out two major French colonialist crimes: Sétif and the faith of Harkis. But, if you find it relevant, I agree that there is no comparison to do. Nobody is better than everybody else. Algerians and French are just equal. My initial question still stands though. In fact, and there I would ask you not to be offended, your reaction to generalise warcrimes is showing the (general, not personal) traumatism that I always feel when I discuss with French people about everything that has to do with Algerian wars. I believe, as an observer very close to French society, that the commun historic conscience of French about their past, especially in Algeria, has to be viewed in a less emotive point of view. There is nothing to blame French in general, there is no need to defensive opinions. But, when it comes to atrocities as Sétif and Harkis faith, there are a lot to say.

Alright, French are racists towards Algerians, but Algerians are lovers of al things French ? No sir. Algerians, especially those in important positions, have the very nasty habit of blaming the French whenever something goes wrong (quite often I must say) in their country. Are they racist or do they have a complex of inferiority ? I don't see what is alarming right now ? We are not going to nuke Algeria, they are one of our most important partners in the med, and whatever insult they may throw at us, they will never do anything actually damaging to our vital interest.
Again, I am glad that you aknowledge the latent racism against Algerians that is visible in France. I also agree to generalisations again: Algerians too and so on.
 

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