Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Memories of War
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.