Algeria rejects French criticism of national anthem of North African nation
Algeria’s foreign minister, Ahmed Attaf, has expressed his astonishment at French attempts to wade into a debate about the North African country's national anthem.
Algeria has restored its original national anthem from 1962, which mentions France and French imperial rule.
This has sparked a backlash in Paris, with French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna calling the move “outdated".
“[I am] astounded by the fact that the French foreign minister thought she could express an opinion on the Algerian national anthem," said Attaf in an interview on Wednesday.
Continuing ironically, he added: “She should have criticised the melody as well. Maybe it doesn't suit her.”
On 24 May, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune issued a decree reintroducing a stanza that calls out France by name.
The verses say: "O France, the time of reproof is over, and we have ended it as a book is ended; O France, this is the day of reckoning, so prepare to receive from us our answer!"
The new decree replaces the previous decree from 1986, according to which "the national anthem, songs, and music are performed according to the relevant ceremonies".
The ambiguous formula allowed the Algerian authorities to remove verses from the anthem without removing them.
The division in question was of lesser importance and was often not played to avoid tension with Paris. It was especially the case when Algeria faced economic hardship due to the oil crisis of the 1980s.
The words of the Algerian national anthem were written by the poet and thinker Moufdi Zakaria in 1955 at the request of the leaders of the National Liberation Front (FLN), which led the country's war of independence against France.
In recent years, tensions between the two countries have been on the rise, with Paris and Algeria regularly trading barbs.
France has dark history in Algeria and other African nations
France killed millions of Algerians and committed war crimes during its colonial rule of the North African nation from 1830 to 1962.
In May 1830, France invaded Algeria under the pretext of receiving seven million francs. Algerian fighters strongly resisted the attack, but due to the superiority of the French equipment, the war was prolonged and French soldiers committed murder, rape, torture and other crimes against Algerians.
According to some estimates, the struggle for independence from France left over five and a half million Algerians dead, which amounted to about half of the country’s population at that time.
After the victory of the revolution and the independence of Algeria, the crimes of France continued and led to the destruction of Algerian settlements and the killing of thousands of people.