Colonial Tourism

44 years after the Algerian War of Independence, the pied noir return to Algeria in a new “colonial tourism”. I wonder what Fanon would have made of this.

Josiane, an imposing former schoolmistress with forearms like sandbags, came out of the terminal building into the white African sunshine and made a speech.

“This is where we come from! This land belongs to us all, it’s all of ours! No-one can take that away from us! No-one!” she cried, breaking into tears.

A polite round of applause. A “Bravo Josiane”. Everyone was a bit tired after the flight, not really up for this.

But as people carried on getting on the coaches, she started up again.

“We never should have left! We would have made Algeria the most beautiful country in Africa!”

From a round of applause to a ripple. What with the heat and everything, Josiane was getting a bit carried away.

Colonial tourists, and their sometimes rather unusual items of political baggage, are returning – on package holidays to the past, to a time when they were young, and “Algerie” was “Francaise”.

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