MIL-OSI Translation: Speech by Geneviève Darrieussecq_National day of tribute to harkis and other members of the auxiliary formations

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MIL OSI Translation. Government of the Republic of France statements from French to English –

Source: Republic of France in French

Speech by Geneviève Darrieussecq, Minister Delegate to the Minister of the Armed Forces, in charge of Memory and Veterans

You will find attached and below the speech of Geneviève Darrieussecq, Minister Delegate to the Minister of the Armed Forces, in charge of Memory and Veterans, on the occasion of the national day of homage to the harkis and other members of the additional training, September 25, 2021.

Only the pronouncement is authentic.

Media contacts:

 

Alexandre Barbé,

07 82 85 82 00

Media center of the Ministry of the Armed Forces

media@dicod.fr

09 88 67 33 33

Ladies and gentlemen parliamentarians,

Mr. Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, General,

Madam Mayor of Paris,

Ladies and gentlemen elected officials,

Mr. Representative the military governor of Paris, my general,

Mr. Governor of Les Invalides, my general,

Ladies and Gentlemen, Directors of Central Administration,

Ladies and gentlemen general officers, officers, non-commissioned officers, non-commissioned members and civilian personnel of the armed forces,

Ladies and gentlemen, presidents and representatives of associations of the fighting world,

Ladies and gentlemen, the flag bearers,

Ladies and gentlemen the harkis, and members of the additional formations,

Wives, wives, families and children of harki,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Les Invalides is the home of all those who have deserved from France and who, one day, carried its arms and its standard. In this prestigious courtyard resound the footsteps of the soldiers of Year II, the grumblers of the empire, those of 14 and 40, the heroes of Bir Hakeim, illustrious liberators, the brave of Algeria and Indochina, combatants from foreign operations.

 

You, harkis, you, former auxiliaries, are among them. In this procession of honor, you occupy a prominent place. You have been combatants for France, committed and ready to make the supreme sacrifice. You fully share this French destiny and have been its precious craftsmen.

 

Your story is that of membership in France and of a brotherhood of arms, in tragedies as well as in victories. Your story is a story of soldiers. Your ancestors and fathers, like so many North Africans, fought for France, for its ideals and for its freedom. In the battles of 1870, in the trenches of the Great War, in the glorious saga of the African army, they gave their blood for our country.

The history of the harkis is the history of France, it is our shared history.

 

It is loyalty and loyalty on the part of the French who have decided to remain so.

 

It is a pride and a dignity that transcends generations.

 

From 1954 to 1962, France could count on you during the painful hours of the Algerian War. 200,000 men, with a variety of motivations and forms of commitment, made the courageous choice of France. They were Moghaznis, riflemen, spahis, members of the regular forces, mobile security groups, self-defense groups, specialized administrative sections… They were interpreters, scouts, trackers, warriors, kept guard, held positions, secured strategic points, sometimes entire villages or immense spaces. In the Jebel, the Atlas, the Aures, in Kabylia, in town and in the countryside, everywhere in Algeria, the harkis have rendered eminent services.

As men and women of honor, proud and worthy, they risked everything: their property, their life, that of their family. I do not forget the women who served in our armies and who also accomplished their mission. I think of all the mothers, wives and daughters who accompanied the commitment of their father, husband, son and brother.

 

On this national day, exceptional after the speech of the President of the Republic, I once again pay tribute to the Nation to these daughters and sons of France who fought for it. In these places steeped in history, the Republic renews its deepest gratitude to them.

 

When almost sixty years ago the guns fell silent across the Mediterranean, a time of heartbreak and tragedy began for the harkis and their loved ones. Many of them knew the horror of retaliation and the dull terror of revenge. It was not France that carried out the massacres, but honor commanded her to protect her fighters. Apart from a few officers who fulfilled their oath, she did not.

France has procrastinated to open its doors to the harkis and their families. For those who did manage to embark, it was heartbreak and exile, a departure without resources and without ties. A thin suitcase, a baggage on the back, a baby in the arms, tears, fatigue, crying … Misunderstanding and uncertainty, lost between two worlds that move away from each other.

This is also your story. That of a tear. You left behind a beloved land, a land that sheltered your homes, your possessions, your memories and your roots. For many, it was the start of humiliations and bruises.

 

You expected recognition, you had indignity. You were waiting for brotherhood, you had marginalization. You expected hospitality, you had hostility. Half of the repatriated harkis were relegated, sometimes for years, to camps and logging hamlets. For many, it was a temporary that lasted, a temporary that dragged on. A place of banishment which has bruised, which traumatized, which destroyed.

 

This truth is cruel. It must be remembered over and over again: France’s promise was not kept, just as the very essence of our republican motto was not there. President Emmanuel MACRON said it with humanity and infinite respect on September 20, 2021.

 

No one should ignore the living conditions in the camps or in certain forestry hamlets.

The arbitrariness, the barbed wire, the confinement, the cold, the nutritional deficiencies, the promiscuity and the lack of privacy. Yet the harkis weren’t guilty of anything.

The bullying, the abuse, the misuse of services, the boredom, the trauma… Yet the harkis were not guilty of anything.

Several thousand children have been dropped out of school, badly received and badly educated. France did not live up to the most beautiful of Republican promises, that of school and education.

 

It was in France. It was yesterday.

 

It is a dark page in our history, the Republic has abandoned its children. France let go of their hand and turned its back on them. In the face of those who had served it loyally, our country has not been true to its history or its values.

 

Last Monday, following in the footsteps of his predecessors, the President of the Republic was at the rendezvous of truth and honor. He renewed the recognition of the failings of France and recalled the singularity of this French tragedy. However, during this solemn and memorable ceremony at the Elysee Palace, Emmanuel MACRON wished to go further, by announcing the inscription, in stone of our laws, of the recognition and reparation with regard to the harkis. I will bring this project to Parliament before the end of the year and thus, by law, the Republic will recognize the conditions unworthy of the reception of harkis and their families.

 

If nothing can change the mistakes of the past, if nothing can heal the wounds or erase the traumas, the time of forgiveness opens the way to justice.

Ladies and Gentlemen, for several years, the Republic has been working alongside you to recognize your sufferings and the sacrifices made, to overcome denials and taboos. This national day is also the expression.

 

The state has acted, passed laws, initiated specific mechanisms for first and second generation harkis and continues to update them. The first recognition was the granting of veteran status in 1974. Allowances were created and are still in effect. Measures have been put in place over the years in the areas of housing, training, solidarity and access to employment.

 

I know how much you are attached to the work of memory. I am too. It is essential that your career, that your destinies, be better known and better understood throughout France. For there is no recognition without knowledge. This is the reason why the state is by your side to teach your history and pass on your memory.

 

The memory of the Harkis is now remembered on the sites where they lived. Likewise, significant work on archives and the collection of testimonies has been carried out. The exhibitions produced by the National Office for Veterans and War Victims are available to everyone and form a central part of the testimonies organized in schools. 2,000 pupils per year are thus sensitized.

 

Since 2017, we have intensified this work. This five-year term will continue to be marked by significant progress in favor of the harkis and their children. By following the guidelines of the President of the Republic, we will pursue them.

 

In accordance with the commitments made, we have implemented in recent years the largest increase in recognition and lifetime allowances since their creation. For the second generation, we have created a support device. It helps an ever-increasing number of children of harkis to meet the costs of integration, health or housing. Almost 2,000 children of harkis have been helped in this way.

We have worked to recognize the most painful memories and I am thinking particularly of the work done around cemeteries. The House of History and Memories of Ongles, the only place of memory dedicated solely to the history of the harkis and their relatives, is supported by the Ministry of the Armed Forces. Thus, we have made it sustainable.

 

The Republic will continue its work by passing the law before the end of the year. It will be a question of allowing a fair recognition and reparation to the first and second generations of harkis. It will also be a question of continuing the work of collecting archives and testimonies.

 

As such, I am happy to announce the posting on the national portal FranceArchives of a page dedicated to harkis. It lists all the testimonies and audiovisual sources allowing a better knowledge of the history of the harkis. A page on written sources will be published in October.

We encourage historians, researchers and students to embrace it and advance our knowledge.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, France looks its history in the face and embraces the demand for truth. She does it with confidence, she does it sincerely, she does it for those who have never ceased to be her children. And I tell you, greatness will always be on the side of those who repair and act, rather than those who separate, who divide and who instrumentalize. The President of the Republic has stated it very clearly: to insult the “harkis” is to insult a fighter, it is to tarnish a French soldier, so it is unbearable for every Frenchman, unbearable for the Nation.

To insult the harkis is to insult France.

 

The truth is that the harkis, their children and their grandchildren made France. And they still make France. By their success, by their dedication, by their personal merits, they give their best to our country and are fully integrated into the national community.

 

Dear Harkis compatriots, through the voice of the President of the Republic, France has expressed its affection to you. She told you of her thirst for justice towards those who embody a French hope and an exemplary French destiny.

I can only conclude with the verses of Messaoud GADI.

“We must remember,

support us, and with the ink of the past,

on a forgotten page,

of the history of France,

write down our hope. “

 

Long live the harkis!

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

MIL Translation OSI