‘We've never had a voice’: memory construction and the children of the harkis (1962–1991)

Eldridge, Claire (2009) ‘We've never had a voice’: memory construction and the children of the harkis (1962–1991) French History [Special Issue on ‘Spaces and Places’], 23, (1), pp. 88-107. (doi:10.1093/fh/crn062).


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When riots broke out in the Bias Camp east of Bordeaux in May 1975, few in France had heard of the harkis, the Algerian auxiliaries who fought for the French during the Algerian War of Independence (1954-62). This began to change, however, as the rapidly spreading protests instigated by their children garnered increasing media coverage. Seeking to end their status as les oubliés de l’histoire, the children of the harkis sought recognition for the history of their parents, particularly the sacrifices they had made for France and the suffering endured as a consequence. What is particularly interesting about this campaign is that the children of the harkis were not alone in this desire and in fact were relative latecomers to the harki activist scene. The years since the end of the Algerian War had witnessed a range of representations offered by a series of self-appointed spokespeople who, in the absence of direct testimony from within the harki community and often in the service of their own objectives, took it upon themselves to speak on behalf of the harkis. This article seeks to analyse the relationship between these external narratives, put forward by actors including the Algerian and French governments, the former Muslim elite of colonial Algeria, French veterans and the pied-noir community, and those offered by the children of the harkis in order to illustrate some of the issues pertaining to the mobilization and transmission of France’s colonial past in a postcolonial context.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1093/fh/crn062
ISSNs: 0269-1191 (print)

ePrint ID: 180817
Date :
Date Event
March 2009Published
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2011 09:09
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2017 02:30
Further Information:Google Scholar
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/180817

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