The Algerian Harkis: Témoignages d’une Histoire Cachée

By Dylan van der Schyff.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

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

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp.147-156. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 599.300KB).

Dylan van der Schyff

M.A. Candidate, Humanities/Graduate Liberal Studies, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada

Dylan van der Schyff was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and immigrated to Canada in the mid 1970’s. He now makes his home in Vancouver where he lives with his wife and their two sons. For the past twenty years he has been deeply involved in the field of creative music and has appeared on over 50 recordings. As both musician and producer, Dylan works with various international ensembles and artists, and he collaborates in projects involving theatre, dance and film. Articles about his work have appeared in publications such as Downbeat, The Globe and Mail, The New York Times, The Village Voice, The Chicago Reader, and The Wire. Dylan also has wide-ranging scholarly interests in Western intellectual and cultural history––he maintains a special focus on Ancient Greece, Phenomenology, and Existentialism. Dylan currently tutors in Classical Mythology at Simon Fraser University and is in the process of finishing a master’s thesis that examines the relevance of Ancient Greek ethics and ontology in the 21st century.


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