The work of memory in Assia Djebar's Les 'Nuits de Strasbourg'

Monash Univ, School European Languages & Cultures
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Journal Of French Studies, 2008, 45 (2), pp. 125 - 135
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The Franco-Algerian War (195462) was a long, tremendously hard-fought, dirty war of decolonisation, with profound consequences for the millions of people caught up in it. It caused deep division in France as, amongst other things, it was virtually a civil war (one in a long line of guerres franco-françaises)1 opposing those who aimed to keep what was then known as French Algeria (lAlgérie française) at all costs such as members of the Organisation Armée Secrète (OAS), generals involved in the 1961 putsch, much of the professional army, or European settlers against those who wanted an end to the conflict and colonial rule in Algeria for instance, porteurs de valise (French who aided the Front de Libération Nationale), some conscripts, and in time General de Gaulle. Algeria had actually been three French départements.2 The French defeat in the war effectively signalled the end of the once mighty French Empire. Millions of French men were drafted to fight in Algeria, for up to twenty-seven months, in a sale guerre characterised by terrorism, massacres, and torture. Close to one million settlers fled from Algeria to France in dramatic conditions at the end of the war, while some of those who remained were murdered or abducted. It is estimated that tens of thousands of Harkis (Algerian soldiers who fought in the French army during the conflict) were massacred in 1962.
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