French President Emmanuel Macron disappointed Algerians earlier this month when he failed to apologize for his country’s colonialist past in the North African country, said a study by the Carnegie Middle East Center.
The study said that the Macron was the first French president to visit Algeria who was not part of the generation that witnessed the colonialism.
Similar to his predecessors, however, he has to deal with the dark legacy of that era with neither Algeria nor France having healed from it.
France colonized the north African country from 1830 to 1962.
Many Algerians wondered if Macron would respect the announcement during his presidential campaign when he described French colonialism as a crime against humanity.
At the time, his remarks stirred the ire of the French public and he lost three points in opinion polls, forcing him to issue an apology.
Macron first visited Algeria in February when he was still a presidential candidate.
It was there that he deemed the French colonialist past as a crime against humanity, which gave hope among Algerians that he would apologize for the “crime” if he were to be elected president.
The French president paid a visit to the north African country on December 6.
This time, said the study, he did not use the same controversial statements that he had made in February. He instead insisted on “building good ties with Algeria”, falling short of apologizing to it.
He urged the opening of a “new chapter”, calling on the youth against “becoming prisoners of a past that they did not experience.”
They should instead think about how to establish future ties with Paris, Macron added.
He acknowledged that Algeria and France share a “common memory”, stressing that he is determined to build a strong relationship with Algiers.
“I am not a hostage of the past…. It is true that obstacles exist and we should overcome them,” he stated, while saying that attention should be focused on developing the economy and cultural exchange.
“The youth are key to the future of our country,” he remarked.