This will be their first meeting. A commission of French and Algerian historians set up to work on French colonisation and the war is due to meet in Algeria on Wednesday for the first time since its creation in August 2022, according to a source familiar with the matter. The meeting will be held on Wednesday and Thursday in the eastern city of Constantine, said the source, who requested anonymity.
The creation of this ten-member body was announced in August 2022 in Algiers by French President Emmanuel Macron and Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune. For the two countries, it is a question of "looking together at this historical period" from the beginning of French colonization (1830) to the end of the War of Independence (1962). The idea is to approach the subject "without taboos, with a desire (...) full access to our archives," the head of state said at the time.
It met in April by videoconference. The five French historians who are part of it are Benjamin Stora (also co-president of the commission), Florence Hudowitz (curator at the MUCEM), university professor Jacques Frémeaux as well as historians and university teachers Jean-Jacques Jordi and Tramor Quemeneur, the Elysée said.
It is co-chaired on the Algerian side by historian Mohamed Lahcen Zighidi. In November 2022, the Algerian presidency appointed Zighidi and historians Mohamed El Korso, Idir Hachi, Abdelaziz Fillali and Djamel Yahiaoui to be part of the commission. Its implementation is part of the policy of appeasement decided by Emmanuel Macron during his first five-year term, after the recommendations of Benjamin Stora's report on the memorial conflict between Algeria and France on the colonial past. But the relationship between the two countries remains difficult and marked by misunderstandings and unspoken words.