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Abdelmadjid Chikhi, director of the Algerian Archives, has been appointed by President Abelmadjid Tebboune to act as an interlocutor for historian Benjamin Stora, charged by Emmanuel Macron to deliver a report, expected in January, on the memorial reconciliation between France and the ‘Algeria.
In an interview with World, Mr. Chikhi reiterates the Algerian request for a restitution “Integral” of “Originals” archives repatriated to France after independence in 1962 while admitting that certain documents relating to the ” security of France “Can be discussed” case by case “.
How do you see the outline of memorial reconciliation between France and Algeria?
The two countries, through their president, have decided to put this memory problem on the table. It’s a very good initiative. We cannot prolong situations which prevent the two countries, the two peoples, from looking each other in the face. We must try to overcome this situation, regardless of the pain felt on both sides. You still have to know what is meant by “memory” and “memory management”.
On our side, our position may be political, a little psychological, but nothing in our behavior allows us to erase history. And we can’t. The story is there. She challenges us and questions us. However, there are ways of managing this heritage, if we can use the term, so that the two countries begin a new vision of things, that is to say, project themselves into the future without forgetting history and trying to bring it to life.
Our history has been erased for a while. They tried to make us wear a dress that is not ours. And the fate of things is that, when we chase the natural, it comes back at a gallop. The Algerian people have been mistreated, repressed, violated in their rights. It leaves traces. What to do ? We are not going, every moment, to unearth the hatchet and start fighting again through words and media campaigns. We must try, with Benjamin Stora, to trace ways of understanding and cooperation. Much work remains to be done in France. It must be done in French society as a whole. We are subjected to sometimes very harsh campaigns based on slogans that no longer have their raison d’être.
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