Although largely unknown, the story of the Algerian Harkis is arguably the greatest political and social scandal to occur in France over the last forty-five years. At the end of the Algerian war the indigenous Muslim force that fought on the side of France was abandoned by the French and massacred by the FLN––between 50,000 and 150,000 were killed. The survivors were placed in French work camps; and once released, they faced the seemingly impossible task of integrating into a culture that misunderstood and despised them. Because the story of the Harkis has been repressed in the memories of those who lived through it, and because much of the official documentation of this history is trapped within the bureaucracy of the French government, it is only recently that the events and their effects have begun to be pieced together into a cohesive history. With the intention of providing an introduction to this important but neglected part of 20th century history, I consider two témoignages that are representative of the Harki experience of the war, the camps, and the search for identity.
|Keywords:||Harki, France, Algerian War, Refugees, Unacknowledged Atrocities|
M.A. Candidate, Humanities/Graduate Liberal Studies, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada
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