Sudhir Hazareesingh

Liberty, Equality, Enmity

The French Intifada: The Long War between France and Its Arabs

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The relationship between France and her former colonies in North Africa is complex and multilayered. Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia all came under French control in the 19th century, but were treated and viewed differently by the metropolitan authorities: there was an exceptional force and emotional resonance to the myth of l’Algérie c’est la France, which was not matched in the other territories. France was profoundly changed, both intellectually and culturally, by her colonial experience; likewise, any visitor to cities in the Maghreb can still observe the physical traces of the French presence, notably in the architecture and the urban layout. Colonies provided vital support for the French: thousands of troops from North Africa fought for France during the two world wars (it is a little-known and little-commemorated fact that Algerian and Moroccan fighters played the decisive role in Marseille’s liberation in August 1944).

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