September 28, 2022

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Le Monde and censorship: Macron, Algeria and the “reform” of memory… [Par Lahcen Haddad]

Le Monde and censorship: Macron, Algeria and the "reform" of memory... [Par Lahcen Haddad]

It’s a classic: censorship always produces the opposite effect. the scientist He did not break the rule: by not publishing Paul Max Morin’s column, “Reducing French colonialism in Algeria to a love story that complements Emmanuel Macron’s right wing in the matter of remembrance,” a simple article that would have gone almost unnoticed, the scientist It propelled it to the rank of the most widely read and gave it an unexpected “post-mortem”. Harsh criticism from famous opinion leaders amplified the trend.

Edwy Blenell, a political journalist, blogger and former Trotskyist activist, spoke in a tweet about “amazing censorship” reprehensible for it the scientist He offers his apologies to the President of the Republic by removing the platform … which criticizes Macron’s vision of French-Algerian relations as “a love story that has its share of tragedy.”

Renowned economist Thomas Piketty’s tweet is as powerful as it is direct: “Inexplicable and unforgivable censorship by the newspaper the scientist. We can disagree with the platform, and not delete it because it does not satisfy the Elysee.” Henry Mahler, teacher, political activist and co-founder of the Acrimed Society, protested on Twitter ” the scientist Censored a forum because it does not please Emmanuel Macron. What meekness! “.

Jean-Luc Melenchon promises not to buy anymore the scientist : “Drag a platform to display a quote from Macron that he doesn’t like! Another step in the collapse of previously referenced journalism. Perverted quotes from “Le Monde” all year round. But when Macron ignores…Professional Week, I don’t buy this newspaper. Be better. »

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What upset Paul Max Moran’s article, which prompted the Elysee to pressure him? the scientist In order to withdraw the article “Assessing the Question of Memory” in the French-Algerian Postcolonial Context? First of all, the censorship excuse issued by the scientist “While it can be subject to various interpretations, the phrase ‘a love story that has its share of tragedy’ proclaimed by Emmanuel Macron during the press conference did not specifically invoke colonialism, as he wrote in the pulpit, but the long phrase Franco-Algerian relations.” Evoking ‘tragedy’ in a post-colonial context as an effect of inter-state relations is politically correct (according to the scientist and Macron), but as an indication of the trauma associated with colonialism, it is a rhetorical device that refers to the question of memory and historical responsibility, a question that can cause irritation, especially on the right.

This is indeed the meaning of Paul Max Morin’s text. For him, the question of “memory” was a front for a “simulation of progress toward reconciliation” that did not occur. What may be disturbing in his article is what he describes as a deliberate shift in Macron’s speeches from recognizing colonialism as a crime against humanity (in 2017) to a “history of love with its share of tragedy” (in 2022). For Maureen, transformation is a correction to the question of memory, since recognition of the tragedies and tragedies of colonialism is a topic chosen by the French left, while seeing the colonial empire as a source of good and civilization despite its setbacks. It is a tendency to right. The Elysee may be outraged that the perception of a shift to the right, when it launched an entire working project of historiography on memory in partnership with Benjamin Stora, is unacceptable even if the public and political actions around Macron’s visit to Algeria prove that Maureen may not be entirely wrong: the French president was sending a message of hope, With a shared future built in partnership with the youth of Algiers and Oran, a hope refers to this love story that has its problems like all love stories. A soft, spacious, carefree reconciliation, focusing on the future and not the past. Instead of memory, we talk about lovers’ quarrels, their little stories, the little tragedies of time-limited separation.

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That’s why intervention and reframing (and censorship) were necessary when Maureen put his finger on the wound. Newspaper writing the scientist Macron explains that when he talks about love imbued with a tragic aspect, he is not referring to the colonial period, but to the relationship between the two countries. So there is no bouncing or turning right.

Indeed, the French president wishes to transcend the traumatic past of colonialism, but without giving it a color neither left nor right: by hesitating between the traumas of memory and the contradiction of love colored by tragedy. This ideological distinction becomes a consequence of chronology. This is why the Elysee and the scientist He talks about the distinction that must be made between “colonialism” on the one hand, and “the long Franco-Algerian relations” on the other.

Is the many pitfalls of Macron’s phrase, “a love story with its share of tragedy,” worth passing the censor’s hammer? The explanation given by Paul Max Morin, “correcting” to the question of “memory,” is it so irrefutable that it is better to censor it? Why mute the debate over a question as deep as it is topical? What is certain is that the scientist Who built a reputation for giving lessons in human rights, he did not hesitate to cancel the publication of a simple opinion piece that did not please the Elysee. When we spend our time counting the sins of others, the true test of our righteousness is when it comes to sweeping around our garden.

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