Kader was there on 17 October 1961—at the Madeleine metro station at about 6:30 in the evening. He was also there at the Palais des Sports three days after the demonstration, and for 33 days at the police department’s Identification Center at Vincennes. In 1981, when Kader gave this testimony to Libération, he was still “there”—in France—living in the same worker’s dormitory that had been his home in 1961. After being held in a camp in Algeria, he had returned to the country where he felt humiliated and where he had been tortured, because his family had been killed and his political allies exiled. He was not bitter. “We were at war.” Who is this “we”?
Recent Histories of State Violence in France and Algeria in the Twentieth Century
Historians cannot resist violence.* Not simply because of a voyeuristic interest in the dramatically lethal, but also because many of the most vexing questions about the writing of history converge in the crucible of violent events. Historians are attracted to the subject because they hope that it might tell them something about the fundamental problems in their discipline: questions about causality, agency, narrative, and contingency; about the readability of the past and the conclusions that one can draw about complex social phenomena from fragmentary and often one-sided bits of evidence.
Naomi J. Andrews, Simon Jackson, Jessica Wardhaugh, Shannon Fogg, Jessica Lynne Pearson, Elizabeth Campbell, Laura Levine Frader, Joshua Cole, Elizabeth A. Foster, and Owen White
Silyane Larcher, L’Autre Citoyen: L’idéal républicain et les Antilles après l’esclavage (Paris: Armand Colin, 2014).
Elizabeth Heath, Wine, Sugar, and the Making of Modern France: Global Economic Crisis and the Racialization of French Citizenship, 1870–1910 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014).
Rebecca Scales, Radio and the Politics of Sound in Interwar France, 1921–1939 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016).
Claire Zalc, Dénaturalisés: Les retraits de nationalité sous Vichy (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 2016).
Bertram M. Gordon, War Tourism: Second World War France from Defeat and Occupation to the Creation of Heritage (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2018).
Shannon L. Fogg, Stealing Home: Looting, Restitution, and Reconstructing Jewish Lives in France, 1942–1947 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017).
Sarah Fishman, From Vichy to the Sexual Revolution: Gender and Family Life in Postwar France (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017).
Frederick Cooper, Citizenship between Empire and Nation: Remaking France and French Africa, 1945–1960 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014).
Jessica Lynne Pearson, The Colonial Politics of Global Health: France and the United Nations in Postwar Africa (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2018).
Darcie Fontaine, Decolonizing Christianity: Religion and the End of Empire in France and Algeria (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016).