On the 18th of March 1962 a deal was signed at Evian in France that was to lead to Algerian independence. However, that was not to come before a final hurrah by the “Organisation Armée Secrète” and an orgy of killings and bombings that left thousands of innocent Muslims dead; any small chance that there might have been for the “pied noirs”,* to reach some sort of accommodation with the indigenous population had been effectively snuffed out. On the 5th of July 1962 Algeria was to declare its independence under a revolutionary government, the FLN (“Front de Libération Nationale”) was to exact its revenge on thousands of Muslim “harkis” who had remained loyal to France and more than one million “pied noirs” were to leave their livelihoods behind and flee to ‘Metropolitan France’.(1)
If there are lessons to be learned from history, it would appear that our modern day “pied noirs” in their settlements on the West Bank and the IDF bully boys have not learned them. Their racist philosophy is aways going to make a compromise with the indigenous population difficult. However, it is when I read of that final hurrah that saw the OAS “bombing and murdering at random, detroying schools, libraries and hospital facilities. attacking florists’ stalls and grocery shops, determined to leave behind nothing more than ‘scorched earth'”(2), my mind drifts to the the ethnic cleansing of Palestine that began in 1948, the relentless theft and the orgy of murder that continues to this day, and when I read how the slim hopes at reconciliation between the ‘pied noirs’ were snuffed out in 1962, I wonder if there remains any hope of reconciliation between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East. The evidence would appear to suggest that there isn’t. Nevertheless, it is worth at least appealing to the citizens of the oxymoronic “Jewish Democracy”, the racist philosophy of Zionism has to be abandoned, international law has to be respected and, perhaps, you have a future in the region. Otherwise, while there is no historical inevitablility, the evidence would appear to suggest that history will indeed repeat itself and that “our” colonists in the Middle East will suffer the same fate as their spiritual predecessors , the “pied noirs”.
* French nationals, including those of European descent, Sephardic Jews and settlers from other European countries, mainly Malta, Spain and Italy, who were born in Algeria
1 Martin Meredith, ‘The State of Africa’ London 2006, p74