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France profonde

Why do the French need laws to dictate the right interpretations of the past? It is because of the confusion in French minds between history and memory

By Tim King   February 2006

French men and women, white, middle-aged, return in droves to Oran and Algiers as more than tourists but less than guests. They congregate on the street corners where once they played as children, gazing at the homes from which they were expelled in 1962. NostAlgéria, a growing phenomenon in France, has now become a political lobby: witness the recent legislation “expressing the nation’s gratitude for the work done and terrible sacrifices made by French colonists,” and making it obligatory that “school programmes acknowledge the positive role of the French presence overseas, particularly in north Africa.” If it seems odd that…

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