This is a story that France didn’t really pay attention to: the harkis turned their back to Algeria. People who fought for french cause during the Algerian war. that was not even considered as a war but as a conflict. Some Algerians fought with the french army. Education, army, torture, Adberahman told us how he left Algeria because he was considered as a « traitor », today he tells us his story.
A tattooed moon on my skin this is what’s links me to Abderahman D who got the same ink, but a different story , the one of a harki during the Algerian war. This man inspires courage and wisdom. Here is his story. An Algerian guy who fought for France in Algeria war, and has been considered as a traitor by the Algerians. To understand his own story we need to understand the whole History. Between 1830 and 1848 the Algerian conquest by France was made upon violence. 30 percents of the population was killed by the french army. Thousands of french people decided to move there, in the first half of the XXth century almost a million of « Pieds Noirs » were counted. Over 8 millions of strangers got the french citizenship. Algerian economics was based on the work of the French over the Algerian who practiced manual jobs.
« I was born in French Algeria so I was French ».
Let’s go back to Abderahman Douina. He was born in 1920. his parents were farmers in Oran, they had lands. During the Algerian war, when was 36 , he served in the french army. For him, « I was born in French Algeria so I was French ». « De Gaulle said that, France goes to Dunkerque to Tamanrasset , so I grew up like that with french values, freedom, equality fraternity ». For long, I have been considered as a harki. For French people, it means a « mouvement », but in Algeria it means another thing and harkis don’t like to be called that way. Traitors, this is how the harkis are being described still today. These soldiers served France to support the police unity thanks to their knowledge of the field even before the Algerian insurrection in 1954. They were paid 750 old francs that represent one euro by day of services to the french army. During the war Abderahman was captured by the FLN and they accused him of being a traitor, so they tortured him during a whole day, « the longest day of his life » he says. He escaped from that and hid into dead bodys during two days to be safe. After this war he could’t stay in Algeria because he didn’t even recognize the place that he used to live in. At the same time, some of the harkis, who decided to stay in Algeria, were slaughtered. Abderahman ran away in France to start a new life. He worked in a factory in the south of France, and, step by step, he bought a house and a car and found his family but he could not forget his past. A few years later, he was made Knight of the Legion of Honor. But an other struggle began, the racism towards the immigrants in France.