As modern historians become more subjective, events such as the independence of Algeria on the 5th of July 1962 become more polemic. Stepping aside from the debates, one forgets that Algeria was different when it came to de-colonisation.
50 years after the independence of Algeria, a mélange of people from different backgrounds still look back with a certain outlook. Furthermore, a range of social, economic and political factors complicate the emotional attachment to de-colonisation. Should this be the point where we question the idea of identity: whether it be to the soil or to the idea?
The act of granting Algeria an independent status involved much more than the forces of WWII (1939-45). A combination of the onerous nature of the economy, a political transfer of power and a strong demographic change resulted in a struggle to keep French roots growing. The outcome? A cultural renaissance whereby indigenous peoples had to re-think their history and extremist nationalism was certainly not the answer.
The ‘Algerian’ debate is divided up in infinite pieces. On one side, the argument of a prise de conscience (realisation) after the independence correlates to the metaphysical sense of identity; without the use of official words on a piece of paper. Another side presents the idea of ‘flag independence’ and questions the extent of false hopes. Paul Ricoeur is a historian who poses an over-riding issue: the impossibilities of decolonising a mindset.
If you are interested in finding our more about the on-going debate, multiple materials are available:
And, of course, a selection of the free resources on Culturethèque:
Until next time...