Claire Eldridge
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Breaking the silence
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This chapter outlines the emergence and consolidation of activism within the harki community. Focusing on the period 1975-1991, it demonstrates how the increasing sense of frustration among children of harkis at the government’s failure to ensure their integration was channelled into new forms of collective mobilisation. It shows how harki activism was extended beyond demands for material support into historical and commemorative arenas. This involved a conscious effort by activists to challenge existing representations of their community and to reclaim the histories of their parents. Exploring the composition of the collective discourses that were constructed by these activists, this chapter considers the ways in which they were influenced by pre-existing narratives about the harki community but also by the broader social and political climate in France. In particular, this chapter sheds light on the interactions of harki children with beur activists during the anti-racism campaigns of the early 1980s.

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From empire to exile

History and memory within the pied-noir and harki communities, 1962–2012

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