Forgotten Soldiers. African troops and the Liberation of France in the Second World War

A Problematic Reintegration into the African Nation

Download 26.5 Kb.
Size26.5 Kb.
1   2   3   4   5
A Problematic Reintegration into the African Nation 

Wade’s comments point to the complex and problematic memory in postcolonial Senegal of African soldiers who fought for France in the Second World. By posing the question about which meanings should be ascribed to their experience over sixty years later he is showing the evolving nature of these memories. From the vantage point of the twenty-first century Wade has mixed together a sense of pride with a sense of injustice. Yes, these men did fight for a better world based on anti-fascist values, but in doing so they themselves experienced racism, exploitation and abuse. By remembering them Wade is remembering the brutal nature of the French civilising mission at the very moment when France is trying rehabilitate that mission through legislation.  Yet this reintegration of the tirailleurs into the Senegalese nationalist narrative raises more questions than it answers. This story works well for the veterans of the Second World War, all of whom were conscripts, but it conveniently forgets the fact that France began recruiting African soldiers into the French army as early as 1857 and that they played a key role in the 'pacification' of Africa. It also passes over the fact that many tirailleurs signed up as volunteers to fight on the French side in the wars of decolonisation in Indochina and Algeria. The problems of commemorating Africa’s war veterans clearly remain in many respects unresolved.

Share with your friends:
1   2   3   4   5

The database is protected by copyright © 2020
send message

    Main page