'Les fantômes d'une mémoire meurtrie': Representing and Remembering la Bataille de Paris in Novels by Nacer Kettane, Mehdi Lallaoui and Tassadit Imache
Author: Jones, Kathryn N.
Source: Romance Studies, Volume 24, Number 2, July 2006 , pp. 91-104(14)
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Abstract:This article examines literary representations of la Bataille de Paris, a pacifist demonstration by 30,000 Algerians held on 17 October 1961. This protest in favour of Algerian independence was brutally repressed by the riot police under the orders of Maurice Papon. Over forty years later, campaigners are still calling for official recognition of the massacre as a crime against humanity. The article analyses what historian Benjamin Stora has termed 'les fantômes d'une mémoire meurtrie' in the earliest representations of the protest by three prominent Beur writers, namely Nacer Kettane, Mehdi Lallaoui and Tassadit Imache. It explores the contrasting ways the works portray the massacre as a foundational event of both immigrant and French history. It argues that these narratives can be considered as 'decentred' as a result of their marginalization from mainstream French history, and that their focus on sonorous representations highlights their overriding concern with the transmission of oral testimony to the next generation. The article also examines the ways in which the works evoke the legacies of the Second World War. Finally, it will argue for the continued relevance of these narratives in the context of current debates regarding memories of France's colonial history.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: July 2006
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