All of which compensates, at least temporarily, for the lack of official recognition they feel they have received p. In addition to highlighting what the pieds-noirs are searching for, Savarese is particularly good at demonstrating how associations successfully unified a heterogeneous population around a consciously created, homogeneous vision of the past. Both these strategies support a Halbwachsian view of collective memory as a reconstruction of the past in line with present-day objectives.
In particular, he advances the argument that this is an exclusive phenomenon predicated on competition between groups to achieve dominance for their specific memories at the expense of the memories of other groups. To Savarese this effectively represents the continuation of the War of Independence by other means. In evaluating the significance of these associations, she eschews the idea that their importance is a function of their numerical strength something that is notoriously difficult to establish with any reliability and chooses instead to base her assessment on the influence these groups are able to exert on the public powers.
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Her definitions of the motivations underpinning mobilisation are similar to those advanced by Savarese, comprising the need to recover the self-esteem lost amidst the traumas of ; the need to avoid the disappearance of the community through its dilution within French society, hence the importance attached to preserving the identity and patrimony; and the need to find ways to express this communal identity and to put forward demands in its name p.
There is thus much revealing information provided about the electoral impact of the community, or rather their ability to exploit their perceived electoral weight through highly effective lobbying. The shift in priorities away from concrete concessions designed to alleviate material hardship and towards the construction of a unifying collective discourse based on a mythified reconstruction of history is thus chronicled with equal care.
Although very much focused on the associations as entities, Esclangon-Morin never loses sight of the people who animate these collectives, yet at the same time her perspective is one of critical detachment. This is unfortunately still relatively rare in a field where studies of the pieds-noirs have been overwhelmingly undertaken by figures who possess a personal connection to, or investment in, the community. Esclangon-Morin also avoids oral history, which again makes up a substantial portion of the available material on the pieds-noirs, preferring the route of written documentation, which may help to account for the distance she maintains from her subjects.
Explaining in her introduction that she is the grandchild of pieds-noirs, albeit ones who came to France in , several years before the War of Independence broke out, Fargues sets herself up as someone who understands the mentality of her objects of study. This is something Fargues feels is otherwise denied to the pieds-noirs by the context in which empire and Algeria are discussed within France.
In reiterating this idea, Fargues somewhat problematically ignores the many forums generated within the community itself through its vibrant associational culture, but also within more mainstream vectors, such as the media, that have been regularly afforded to the pieds-noirs over the years. Divided into a standard three-part chronology of life in colonial Algeria, memories of the war, and life in France after , each section contains chapters organised thematically around key events, relationships, and facets of the pied-noir identity.
The fate of the harkis, those Algerians who served under the French flag during the war, is also accorded its usual token presence within pied-noir dedicated texts. The considerable overlap between the key elements of the association-driven collective lexicon and the ostensibly individual life stories offered here may, at least in part, be a product of the fact that several of the contributors occupy or have occupied prominent places within the associational movement.
While Fargues is very conscious of the extent to which the pied-noir community has been stereotyped by a society seeking to present a particular view of colonialism, she seems less able to appreciate that there may equally be an agenda behind the memories offered by her contributors, especially given the power of the collective memory created and embedded by the associational movement with which so many of her interviewees are intimately connected. This is not to deny the integrity of the contributors, nor the profoundly moving nature of some of their stories.
However, in a text dedicated to the memories of a population who are now distanced by many decades and many miles from the events they are describing, not to highlight the potential issues with such testimony is a little problematic. Furthermore, although the line between individual and collective memories is notoriously blurred, this is exacerbated here by the lack of an appendix giving brief biographical details for the interviewees and any affiliations.
There is a conscious attempt, for example, to broaden the traditional canon of pied-noir topics to include subjects usually avoided by associations and which are therefore conspicuous by their absence from the collective memory of the community. In some respects this is quite a perfunctory effort. There are also several chapters devoted to the recollections of people who supported Algerian independence, primarily through their membership of the Algerian Communist Party rather than by actively aiding the FLN, as well as to the minority of pieds-noirs who tried to remain in Algeria after independence.
The inclusion of such dissonant voices provides important nuances to a community that is frequently presented in only one dimension, not only by French society but also by its own members. Another author with a close connection to the subject she is writing about is Fatima Besnaci-Lancou. As the daughter of a harki, an Algerian who served under the French flag during the War of Independence, she first wrote a memoir of her own experiences, Fille de Harki in , before going on to produce two collections of harki testimony in Les Harkis adopts a chronological framework with sections on the activities of the harkis during the War of Independence; the massacres of ; life in the camps into which were placed those harkis and their families lucky enough to escape the violence of the end of the war; and an unfortunately short section on the post period charting the rise of activism undertaken by descendants of the harkis.
Each section is then divided into smaller chapters, which take a variety of forms. Although this particular chapter could have drawn this information together within a more analytical frame, this is the kind of nuanced and well-evidenced commentary that will help to dispel the myths surrounding the harkis that the editors feel persist.
There are also some new areas of research foregrounded, such as the work of Giulia Fabbiano on the Bachaga Boualem. These academic offerings are interspersed with testimony, some from harkis themselves, which take the form of paragraph length excerpts grouped together often at the end of sections, and others from those who had contact with the harkis such Patrick Jammes, a doctor who worked at the Bias Camp who is given his own chapter to recount his experiences.
There are also a lot of photographs which are well annotated and make a striking and effective accompaniment, particularly to the section on the post mobilisation of the children of the harkis.
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Haroun clearly has his own reasons for making such claims, but it is nevertheless the case that there is virtually no research into the small minority of harkis who were called upon to undertake active combat duties as part, for example, of the Commandos de Chasse that operated in the Algerian bled countryside or the Force de Police Auxiliaire FPA tasked with breaking up FLN cells in metropolitan France. However, this would be a highly sensitive area into which to venture, particularly as it would challenge certain elements of the image of harkis portrayed by activists.
Such elements jar with the ostensible purpose of the book and make for quite a muddled collection overall. Yet it is here, as the final two works of this review show, that the battle for control of the past and thus the ability shape the future has been at its most intense and where the stakes of the fight revolve not just around the politics of commemoration, but the politics of life and death. The two books in question have different premises and are aimed at quite different audiences, but work most effectively if read together.
Their areas of overlap reinforce for the reader the most important events and actors of the post-independence era, while the particular themes highlighted by each book give a sense of the multidimensional nature of this period and the number of perspectives from which it can be productively be examined. In Algeria: Anger of the Dispossessed historian Martin Evans, who specialises in Algerian history, and the journalist John Phillips, who has reported extensively from the country for various newspapers, make a great team.
This historical context is conveyed through an essentially chronological structure that begins in the 12th century and continues up to By spending time on the pre-colonial period, Evans and Phillips avoid the pitfall of implicitly rehashing the colonial-era argument that Algerian history only really began with the French invasion of Tuberculosis threatens us.
It must be defeated. A hand is holding a thread that is tied to a knife labeled "La Tuberculose" suspended over laurel branches. The snake is dripping venom. The German eagle will be vanquished and tuberculosis must be too. The eagle grabs the sword with its talon, as blood drips from its wound. A crown lies upside down next to the eagle's head.
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