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The Harkis

First, who are they?

Before the war Algeria, there were already more than a term for those whom the French found in 830: Indigenous, Aboriginal, Arabs, Berbers, ...
Then we had recourse to the adjective "Muslim" with a capital M to differentiate it from the adjective "Muslim" designating him the practitioners of Islam. There was thus French Muslims, we continued to call "Muslim" even when they were converted to Catholicism, the Algiers court having settled the debate by this formula without appeal: "The Muslim is a Muslim even if no longer Mohammedan! "
Later, French Algerian soil becoming administratively, he had to find a legal description: it was entitled to French-born North African (ANSF) as opposed to native French European (ESF).

During 8 years harkis fought alongside the French. For some their situation was difficult because they were separated between Algeria and France and submitted to pressure.

During the war in Algeria, they were more than 180 000, considered traitors to their country of origin.

For Harkis who took refuge in France after the ceasefire of 19 March 1962, it was something they did not fail, what are the appellations of origin, uncontrolled! Harkis, auxiliaries, French of Muslim faith, Repatriated from North African, French Muslim returnees (FMR). Irony of the language, FMR will last ...
But today, the term harkis comeback, claimed by the children. There is talk of a second generation of Harkis as if it was a hereditary trait, reflecting a real discomfort. Because we are not born Harki. We grew between 1954 and 1962!
Harkis brings together today not only supplementary but all who had to leave Algeria because of their behavior deemed pro french by the FLN.

supplementary Why?

Interest in France the use of residual forces "indigenous" was multiple:

1 / first advantage of the perfect knowledge of the field by the auxiliaries in their areas. Combatants, "mujahedin" or "fellaghas" few, without heavy equipment or bases secure escape (except in Tunisia and Morocco) acted mainly by ambushes and by rapid acts of terrorism. Their assets were mobility, knowledge of the field, using spontaneous or under compulsion of the population. The harkis, including those forming part of the commandos hunting, proved valuable to find caches and insurgents scattered and hidden in nature. Farmers and hunters, their region had few secrets from them. Furthermore, among the harkis, 3000 were former prisoners of the ALN and "returned" or fled denial of atrocities they have seen practicing against civilians. These guys were familiar with the habits and ways of acting "fellaghas" and were thus able to contribute effectively to counteract their action. They were excellent soldiers.

2 / Then cut the "fellagas" of the population. In any subversive war, and that was one of Algeria, the population is really at stake. By conviction or by violence, it must take a stand, choose a side. To the FLN, the popular support it needed to legitimize its actions but it is also vital for the physical survival of its combat troops. They in fact do not benefit from the logistics of a state army. Few and appear only fleetingly and exceptionally the day, fighters need to ALN, usually at night, help villagers to organize sabotage (destruction of bridges, electricity poles, orchards, etc ...) and also to be fed and cared for. To deprive the FLN of this support, the French army had recourse to two strategies: - first "empty" areas of its people, moving people to assembly centers, and destroying villages. The principle was simple and summed up by the military, "the guerrillas are among the population like fish in water, emptied the water ..." The implementation of the principle was less simple because it was not possible to empty all the campaigns and the forced uprooting were often not experienced by the villagers. Furthermore, when the FLN infiltrate these groups, the work of propaganda was easy. - Secondly, to prevent those "mounted maquis access to villages by organizing village self-defense (GAD).

3 / questioned the representativeness of the FLN. The commitment of Muslims against the guidelines of the FLN, the multiplication of residual training and the positions of the Anglicized elite, was to show that part of the population was with France, thereby refuting the claim of the FLN to be the sole representative of all "Muslims" in Algeria.

4 / Limit the number of conscripts in Algeria. We know that part of French opinion was not in favor of sending the contingent to Algeria. Actions called especially in stations and ports, initiated or supported by the Communist Party, the CGT or the extreme left, had attracted media attention. But this kind of war against terrorism requires more men and planes or tanks, because of the obligation to crisscross the country to find information and track down the rebels hidden in nature or among civilians. Protect villages, buildings and public places against terrorism also required a lot of people. Under these conditions, the use of surrogates, in addition to the advantages mentioned above, helped to limit the number of conscripts in Algeria.

Why fight for France?

long time commitment Harkis was seen only with glasses ideological Patriots French for some, accomplices of colonialism for others, passion prevails over reason. We rewrote the story, embellishing it at times, but the caricature often blackening still. It is true that the silence of concerned themselves made the explanation more difficult.
It shows the commitment of Arab-Berber elite Anglicized differs from those of the auxiliaries. But even within the category of residual (Harker, moghaznis) commitments are diverse, complex, marked by the sociology of Algeria and the French presence secular. The reasons why these men chose France rather than their own country, are killing their families by Algerians, hoping to live in peace in France, to protect their village or patriotism, Algeria was French.

After the war

In their commitment to France, the Harkis felt betrayed when De Gaulle granted independence to Algeria in his famous speech in which he said: "Algerian Algeria. "March 18, 1962 by the agreements of Evian. Moreover, despite their valuable assistance, when the French left the country, they were left behind, helpless and lost in the midst of them Algerians who hated each other without limit. This gave rise to numerous arrests (when they were supposed to be protected by the Evian) and especially numerous massacres (60 000 run). If they wanted to be repatriated to France, they were able to complete records request for repatriation but most were illiterate. Seeing that the situation deteriorated to their old men, some officers who were punished for it by the Minister of Justice, repatriated.
So for those soldiers abandoned the prevailing uncertainty, confusion and particularly the fear of settling.

Finally, in 1962, 40,000 harkis and their families will arrive officially in France and 45 000 others who illegally left everything in Algeria.
Later 1,000,000 Harkis arrive in Marseille, they are too numerous to be accommodated, they are shut because of a painful past and finally speaks French badly so poorly integrated except in a few municipalities in the South of France support them.
Thus, the current government created transit camps where they are housed, not where the output is set up a military regime. They were then forgotten for 13 years ...
In 1976, the truth comes out about his camps, therefore, will be closed. In his years, unemployment and the crisis raging and harkis and their families have thus a difficulty finding a job.

Despite the behavior of France, they continue to love this country home as they were driven to where they came from. They consider themselves French to forget their roots and language.
Today in Algeria, there is still reluctance vis-à-vis Harkis as evidenced by the statements of President Bouteflika during his visit to France in 2000: "[...] It's like asking a French resistance to reach out to a collaborator [ ...] "

Work done by Aurelie, Emilie, Loïc and Delphin

Sources: Documentary film by Jean-Charles Deniau from 2003

Benjamin STORA, The War of Algeria edition Discovery

various other websites ...


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