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Why does the French president now doubt the existence of an Algerian nation before the French colonization of Algeria?

The French President receives the report of the French historian in charge of the presidency, Benjamin Stora, on colonialism and the Algerian War (1954-1962).

Relations between Algeria and France seem to be moving from crisis to crisis, during the recent period. As for this latest crisis, it was triggered by statements attributed to French President Emmanuel Macron, which were reported by the French newspaper “Le Monde”, which did not stop at criticizing the regime. The Algerian political, but extended to affect the entity of the Algerian nation and its history, with all the controversy it contains about the colonial era, in which it was subjected to French colonialism.

The French president had questioned the existence of an Algerian nation before the French colonization of the country in 1830, asking: “Was there an Algerian nation before French colonialism?” hostage to a ossified regime, adding that he “has a good dialogue with the Algerian president” and “I see that he is stuck in a very rigid regime.”

Doubting the existence of an Algerian nation

Far from Macron’s criticism of the Algerian political system and its style of governance, the statement that sparked an uproar and reactions, both at the official and popular levels in Algeria, was related to his questioning of the existence of an Algerian nation before the French colonization of the country.

In his speech, which was reported by “Le Monde”, Macron said, “Was there an Algerian nation before French colonialism? This is the question,” referring to the existence of “previous colonization processes.” “I am intrigued to see Turkey’s ability to make people completely forget the role it played in Algeria and the hegemony that it exercised,” he added, in a sarcastic tone, referring to the Ottoman Empire.

As for the official Algerian reaction, it came after the publication of statements attributed to the French president. On Saturday, October 2, Algeria announced the recall of its ambassador to France for consultations, describing the French president’s statements as “irresponsible.”

A statement issued by the Algerian presidency said that Algeria categorically rejects any interference in its internal affairs. “.

Not the only escalation

This is the second time that Algeria has summoned its ambassador to Paris, since May 2020, when it summoned its ambassador, Salah Al-Badiwi “immediately”, after broadcasting a documentary about the anti-regime movement in Algeria, on France 5 and the parliamentary channel, and relations are witnessing Political and diplomatic relations between Algeria and Paris have been tense and lukewarm for a while, accompanied by the exit of many French companies from Algeria, after the Algerian authorities refused to renew their contracts.

On Wednesday, September 29, the Algerian Foreign Ministry announced the recall of the French ambassador to Algeria, to protest against Paris’ recent decision to reduce the number of visas granted to Algerians. The ministry said that Ambassador Francois Goyet had received “an official protest from the Algerian government, against the background of a unilateral decision by the French government, which affects the quality and smoothness of the movement of Algerian nationals towards France.”

France’s announcement on Tuesday, September 28, of its intention to restrict visas to citizens of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, which “refuse” to issue the necessary consular permits for the return of deported migrants from France, sparked widespread anger among the citizens of the three Maghreb countries, but the official response was uneven between The three countries, while in Algeria summoned the French ambassador to protest, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita described the French decision as “unjustified”, while Tunisia chose not to respond officially despite its citizens expressing their anger at the decision.

Macron’s crisis

Some observers believe that the French President’s recent statements regarding Algeria, as well as the recent decision, regarding restricting the granting of visas to the three Maghreb countries, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, is part of the President’s efforts to court the French voters for the extreme right-wing parties, ahead of the upcoming presidential elections, which are expected to Macron will nominate himself, scheduled for April next year.

According to a report published by the British newspaper The Guardian, some far-right parties in France consider that the decision to restrict visas is aimed at attracting their voters in the upcoming elections. Press statements “The government is scrambling at the moment to show greater strictness and authority.”

Some consider that the French president is facing internal dilemmas related to unemployment and the economy, and that he has not achieved much of what he promised the French, and therefore he is seeking to flirt with the electorate, with issues that tickle their feelings, regarding the colonial period, and exploiting the issues of immigrants to France, in the hope of winning the votes of voters Far-right parties, whose discourse has traditionally focused on these issues.

However, on the other hand, some observers believe that the Algerian political system is experiencing the same crisis as Macron, and that it greatly exaggerates its reactions, especially with regard to issues in dispute with France, in an attempt to export its internal crises, and to cover up the weakness of support for him, before The Algerian street, a large part of which is still a large part, believes that the popular movement demanding change has not ended yet, and in light of what was represented by the severe weakness, in the turnout for the parliamentary elections, which the country witnessed last June, amid repeated complaints by a large segment of Algerians unemployment, high prices, and the deterioration of infrastructure, despite the country’s richness in natural resources.