Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Memories of War

Algeria's a place that's never been very high on my radar screen, that is, until recently when all the turmoil began in the Arab world.  After the dramatic events in Tunisia and, more recently, Egypt, all the pundits are trying to figure out which country will go next and how on earth it will all play out. 

France has a complicated relationship with its former colonies, and some of the wounds are recent enough to still be somewhat raw.  This austere modern monument, the work of Gérard Collin-Thiébaut, is dedicated to the memory of some 25,000 French and pro-French Algerian soldiers who died during the Algerian War of Independence between 1954 and 1962.  Their names scroll electronically in alphabetical order down the first column.  The second column is essentially the supporting text, the type you would normally find inscribed at the base of a more traditional monument.  And the third column is interactive (via a kiosk just off to the side) allowing  you to look for a particular name from the list of thousands that scroll through the first column.  This monument lies on the left bank of the Seine, close to the Musée du Quai Branly.  It was erected in 2002 and regrettably has been defaced multiple times perhaps by vandals or perhaps by those with a political agenda.  

While the clean lines of this monument are aesthetically pleasing, let's all hope for a future in which there is less need for such memorials.  Let freedom ring in peace.


Brenna [fabuleuxdestin] said...

Wow. I've never seen this monument before, but I found that time period (of the war) to be so interesting. Have you seen La Bataille d'Algers??

Starman said...

Freedom seldom comes about peacefully.

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