Blurring the boundaries between perpetrators and victims: Pied-noir memories and the harki community
Memory Studies, 3, (2), . (doi:10.1177/1750698009355675).
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This article seeks to trace the evolving relationship between the collective memories of the pied-noir community, the former settler population of French Algeria, and the harkis, those Algerians who fought for the French during the Algerian War of Independence (1954-62). Although regarded by many as at best complicit in, and at worst the perpetrators of, a system of colonial domination, the pieds-noirs view themselves as innocent casualties of a destructive and erroneous historical force, decolonization. In light of this, the article will focus on the ways in which pieds-noirs, primarily through their strong associational network, have attempted to retrospectively redeem themselves by converting their status from that of perpetrators into that of victims by grafting their collective memories onto those of a clearly identified ‘victim’ population, the harkis with whom they feel a special affinity. The reaction of the harki community to this process and the implications for the development of their own memories will also be examined.
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