A Lost War

Until recently, France's Algerian war of the late 1950s and early 1960s did not officially exist, reports Blandine Grosjean in Paris's leftist Liberation. Now a new law "substitutes the expression `Algerian war' for `operations to maintain order in North Africa' in all legislative and military documents."

This "old demand of veterans' groups" who began receiving financial benefits for their service only in the early 1970s now has socialist, communist, and right-wing support. "No political faction today wants to fail the test of history," Grosjean writes.

Many Algerian war veterans are reluctant to talk about their service in the often brutal war to suppress the Algerian independence movement, says Grosjean. Interviewing National Assembly deputies who are veterans of the war, she finds that "this law liberates them .... When they came back, they were told to forget it. Nobody wanted to hear about it."