September Update: An Exciting Development!

Since the beginning of the summer, I worried that my argument that the works of Harkis (particularly Harki daughters) have helped contribute to increasing recognition of the community by the French government was a bit of a stretch. However, about a week ago on the Journée nationale d’hommage aux Harkis (National Day of Harki Recognition), the French government issued a press release entitled « Aux harkis, la France est reconnaissante » (closest translation: “To the Harkis, France is grateful”).

What I believe particularly links this press release to my argument is France’s recognition of Fatima Besnaci-Lancou, a Harki daughter who is a published author (I’ll be focusing on one of her books in my thesis) and co-founder of a Harki association. As part of the Day of Recognition, President Macron bestowed honors from the Légion d’honneur to Besnaci-Lancou and about twenty other members of the Harki community, many of them being surviving first-generation Harkis who fought in the war.

As far as I’ve read, it seems that the Harki community is pleased with these recognitions, but as always, they are quick to note that it is a little too late.

In addition to bestowing such honors, the French government has also allocated a 40 million euro fund in part designated specifically to children of Harkis as reparations for the setbacks such as racism and discrimination they have faced in their lives following growing up in camps and forestry villages. This is just speculation, but I believe that in retrospect, the best testament to the conditions of these camps and forestry villages is discovered by reading the memoirs of Harki children. Perhaps some officials from the French government agree.

I’ll put some news articles on this development at the end. I’m thrilled to have such an exciting and somewhat unexpected development in the case, and I’m looking forward to seeing where these developments take my thesis.

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