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The First French Massacre
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Last week’s massacre in Paris was not, as almost every writer mistakenly claimed, the worst atrocity in the City Of Light since World War II.

As the renowned Mideast expert Robert Fisk quickly pointed out, an even worse atrocity occurred in Paris 54 years ago, on 17 October, 1961.

Paris chief Maurice Papon, a former Vichy official, who had sent over 1,000 Jews to their deaths during the war, unleashed his brutal riot squads on 30,000 Arab demonstrators calling for the independence of Algeria from French colonial rule. In an orgy of killing, some 200 Algerians were killed. Many were beaten senseless, then thrown from the Pont St. Michel bridge into the Seine River. 11,000 Algerians were arrested and cast into internment camps or a sports stadium.

I was in Paris when this mass killings occurred. Six months later, I was again visiting Paris when four retired French generals tried to stage a coup d’etat against the government of President Charles de Gaulle and Prime Minister Michel Debré which planned to grant Algeria independence after 132 years of French colonial rule.

French voters had backed the independence plan after a long, bloody uprising by Algerians in which one million people may have died. But France’s professional military caste and non-Arab settlers in Algeria, know as “pieds noires,” who were mostly of Spanish, Portuguese and Jewish origin were violently opposed. They plotted to overthrow or kill De Gaulle and keep Algeria French – as retold in the superb book and film, “Day of the Jackal. ”

On 21 April, 1962, army plotters called on Algeria-based elite French paratroop regiments and the Foreign Legion to fly to France, and seize the airport around Paris. The rebels were then to drive into Paris, arrest senior government officials, including De Gaulle, and impose a military regime.

22 April was one of the most exciting days I’ve seen. Aside from demonstrations by left-wing unions, Paris was deserted. Streets were empty; stores were closed. The City of Light had grown dark.

The sound of hundreds of military and police radios crackling filled the air. Side streets off Place de la Concorde were filled by vehicles carrying tough, heavily armed CRS paramilitary police and soldiers from the regular army who had not sided with the mutineers.

Tension was hair-trigger high. Fighting could begin any moment. We scanned the skies for the arriving troop transports bringing in General Jacques Massu’s paras and the Legion from Algiers.

France was poised on the very brink of civil war. The government urged its citizens to rush to the airports and plead with the paras and Legion not to march on Paris. My father’s friend, the legendary American humorist Art Buchwald, told us he too was prepared to rush to Orly Airport but “I can’t speak German!” Meaning – that most of the Legion were former German soldiers or Waffen SS from WWII.

ORDER IT NOW

French conscripts of the Army of the Rhine refused to join the uprising and arrested members of the Algiers coup, proving once again that professional armies threaten democratic governments. The French air force commander refused to provide transport aircraft for the army in Algeria, stranding them in North Africa.

Interestingly, a similar refusal to provide transport aircraft to the Communist die-hards who tried to overthrow Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991 caused the Soviet coup to collapse. By contrast, General Francisco Franco was able to get planes to fly Moroccan troops from North Africa to Spain, thus beginning his war to overthrow the Republican/Leftist government in Madrid.

France’s long colonial rule in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, as well as most of West Africa, brought larger numbers of menial African workers to France. So, too, “harkis,” former soldiers in France’s Algerian Army. Their offspring form today’s underclass in France: poor, living in ghettos, victims of racism and bigotry against Muslims, unable to find work, steeped in petty crime and filled by sense of bitter hopelessness.

The Algerian War fought over 50 years ago has been forgotten in the West. But not by Europe’s or North Africa’s Muslims. Nor its sequel, Algeria’s gruesome civil war in the 1990 that killed hundreds of thousands. Back then, I warned it would one day spill over into Europe.

(Republished from EricMargolis.com by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: History • Tags: Paris Attacks 
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  1. 5371 says:

    [Meaning – that most of the Legion were former German soldiers or Waffen SS from WWII.]

    So the youngest of them were around 40? And Margolis believed this?

  2. Jim says:

    Margolis justifies the Paris massacre by the massacre of Algerians in 1961. What a prick.

    • Replies: @matt
    , @Bill Jones
  3. Rehmat says:

    French Muslims were not considered “enemies” by the White French majority even after the bloody Algerian independence war or the Iranian Islamic Revolution (Imam Khomeini spent a few months in exile in Paris before arriving in Tehran in 1979). French historian Gustave Le Bon in his book, “The Civilization of the Arabs”, admitted the huge influence of Muslim civilization which, for him, civilized the barbarian peoples who destroyed the Roman Empire and opened for Europe the world of scientific, literary, and philosophical knowledge of which it was ignorant. In other words, for Le Bon it was the Muslims who civilized Europe.

    http://rehmat1.com/2015/05/11/french-front-national-fn-and-the-jews/

  4. matt says:
    @Jim

    couldn’t find the part where he justified it

    • Replies: @Kiza
  5. Kiza says:
    @matt

    This Margolis article is very interesting if one considers that Margolis writes for US secret services, most likely on the CIA payroll. Then, reading between the lines, is a thing that Margolis is saying: the US was not involved in the Paris attack – it was a French own internal thing, just like the situation in Algeria was used in the past for the French internal power plays. Margolis draws a parallel between the past and the present, and it is a very good one. Colonies, or former colonies, are very important in vicious internal power plays between factions.

    • Replies: @matt
  6. Rehmat says:

    Eric Margolis is a very outspoken and honest journalist and author that’s why some of his books are banned in the US, Israel and India. He has long been dropped from CBC’s discussion panels for criticizing Israel. Eric was fired from Canadian daily Toronto Sun when it was bought by a Zionist Jew.

    Eric had covered Afghan Mujahideen war against Soviet occupation for Toronto Sun.

    In October 2002, Eric Margolis warned Americans that Washington’s invasion of Iraq for a regime change would be “road to folly”. He believed that the war hysteria against Saddam Hussein’s ‘non-existent’ nuclear bombs was created by the pro-Israel individuals and groups who wanted to destroy the only technically advanced Arab neighbor of Israel.

    “First, oil. Iraq’s oil reserves are second only to those of Saudi Arabia …. Second, Iraq poses a potential threat to Israel’s regional hegemony and Mideast nuclear monopoly because of its oil wealth and – at least until 1991 – industrial base. For Administration hawks who view the Mideast mainly through the lens of Israel’s strategic needs, crushing Iraq is a high priority. A shattered Iraq, divided into Kurdish, Sunni, and Shia regions, would permanently terminate any future challenge to Israel,” wrote Eric Margolis.

    http://rehmat1.com/2011/11/22/eric-margolis-us-lost-iraq-to-israel-and-iran/

    • Replies: @JamesG
    , @Randal
  7. 22pp22 says:

    Pieds noirs, not noires. Pied is masculine.

    • Replies: @Moi
  8. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    This description of the events of October 17th 1961 is likely largely wrong and at the very least lacking context.
    On the context, it was an illegal violent demonstration in a context of war and designed to create victims (several policemen had recently been murdered by the FLN and the police was on the edge).
    Regarding the number of victims, the historian Jean-Paul Brunet went through the records of the morgue and indicates that the maximal estimate for the number of dead would be in a 30 to 50 range.

    Many more bodies of North African were found in the months of September and October 1961 but it was primarily the FLN killing opponents or enforcing collection of the “revolutionary “tax.

    http://www.atlantico.fr/decryptage/17-octobre-1961-brunet-morts-204144.html

  9. Svigor says:

    couldn’t find the part where he justified it

    It was heavily implied, which was probably why you missed it.

    • Replies: @matt
  10. JamesG says:
    @Rehmat

    “Eric Margolis is a very outspoken and honest journalist and author that’s why some of his books are banned in the US … ”

    That’s what I love about the internet: encountering people who seriously believe the most ridiculous things.

    Thanks for the laugh.

  11. matt says:
    @Svigor

    It was heavily implied

    prove it, sviggy

  12. matt says:
    @Kiza

    This Margolis article is very interesting if one considers that Margolis writes for US secret services, most likely on the CIA payroll.

    I doubt that he’s on the CIA payroll, today. But I don’t know anything about him, so maybe he is. Whatever.

    Then, reading between the lines, is a thing that Margolis is saying: the US was not involved in the Paris attack

    Well, the US wasn’t involved in the Paris attack. Or at least, there’s absolutely zero evidence that they were involved, and its a priori extremely implausible. What would be the motive for a US false flag? To get everyone to hate ISIS more? I don’t think that’s possible. To get the French to attack ISIS? They were already bombing them. What’s the motive?

    it was a French own internal thing, just like the situation in Algeria was used in the past for the French internal power plays. Margolis draws a parallel between the past and the present, and it is a very good one. Colonies, or former colonies, are very important in vicious internal power plays between factions.

    I actually don’t really agree with the thesis of this piece. Margolis seems to think that the Paris attacks are blowback for France’s colonization of Algeria. Isn’t it much more plausible that this is blowback for France’s contemporary intervention in Syria? The obsession with Europe’s past sins combined with the blindness towards its current ones is totally mystifying to me.

    But I don’t find Margolis’s argument offensive as the pissbaby inverted-SJW UNZ commenters here clearly do. That’s an even more absurd reaction. And I also enjoyed reading the piece, because I had no idea this event occurred, and now I do. I like learning about history.

    • Replies: @5371
    , @Randal
    , @Kiza
  13. 5371 says:
    @matt

    [I like learning about history]

    Well, don’t try and learn about it from Margolis, he can’t even get the year of the attempted coup right.

  14. Randal says:
    @Rehmat

    I agree, I’ve found Margolis to be an excellent journalist and writer, and enjoyed some of his books very much. He has also made some very telling arguments against the elite consensus in the US sphere over the years.

    • Replies: @Kiza
  15. Randal says:
    @matt

    I actually don’t really agree with the thesis of this piece. Margolis seems to think that the Paris attacks are blowback for France’s colonization of Algeria. Isn’t it much more plausible that this is blowback for France’s contemporary intervention in Syria?

    I think it’s near incontrovertible that the latest attacks were retaliation for France’s current interventionism.

    However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other roots for France’s vulnerability to such attacks as well, and clearly the past importation of a significant foreign underclass into France as a result of its colonial history is one such factor. This is a simple matter of fact, not necessarily of moral significance.

  16. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Date is wrong: attempted coup was April 1961.
    Bob, Chicago

  17. […] Last week’s massacre in Paris was not, as almost every writer mistakenly claimed, the worst atrocity in the City Of Light since World War II. As the renowned Mideast expert Robert Fisk quickly pointed out, an even worse atrocity occurred in Paris 54 years ago, on 17 October, 1961. Paris chief Maurice Papon, a former Vichy official, who had sent over 1,000 Jews to their deaths during the war, unleashed his brutal riot squads on 30,000 Arab demonstrators calling for the independence of Algeria from French colonial rule. In an orgy of killing, some 200 Algerians were killed. Many were beaten senseless, then thrown from the Pont St. Michel bridge into the Seine River. 11,000 Algerians were arrested and cast into internment camps or a sports stadium. Eric Margolis in Unz.com […]

  18. @Jim

    Don’t read too well, do you?

  19. Kiza says:
    @Randal

    This just means that Margolis caters well with his propaganda for the segment of the market that you belong to. I call this segment the quasi-intellectual Anglos, mainly US and Canada, people who know almost nothing of history so they can take Margolis’ half-baked history as authoritative. A one eyed man in the land of the blind.

    Yet, this article is not as bad as usual because at least it tries to bring history of French colonialism and its blowback into focus. For the majority of the Western MSM the history of the World begun a few US Presidents ago.

    • Replies: @Randal
  20. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Great article but it’s “pieds noirs” not “pieds noires”

    Everyone looks at me with suspicion when I recount this massacre compete with the detail that some film audiences that day had to step over still-warm but dead bodies.

    I also think your account should make mention at least of the sustained terrorist bombing attacks carried out in Metropolitan France for some time before the failed coup.

    • Replies: @gar
  21. gar says:
    @Anonymous

    Margolis was either not in Paris on April 21 1962, or he made up the intended coup d’etat against De Gaulle’s government, as it took place on April 22 1961, when I was there.

  22. Kiza says:
    @matt

    It is a bit below me to reply to such biased comments such as yours, but I will do one time. The US does what Israel says. It is in Israel’s interest for the Western countries to fight for a piece of Syria on its behalf. This has to be packaged as a fight against ISIS, as much as the “Global War on Terrorism” was a simple sham from its inception (because US and Israel are the World leading sponsors of terrorism, when terrorism is defined as terrorising the civilian population instead of endangering the Israeli and US interests).

    I repeat – the goal of the Paris attack is Western boots on the ground in Syria, which will mean regime change via Western occupation. Clear now?

    Also, one has to be a bit thick to write: “Margolis seems to think that Paris attacks are a blowback for France’s colonisation of Algeria”. Have you ever heard of a parallel?

  23. Randal says:
    @Kiza

    the segment of the market that you belong to. I call this segment the quasi-intellectual Anglos, mainly US and Canada, people who know almost nothing of history so they can take Margolis’ half-baked history as authoritative. A one eyed man in the land of the blind.

    LOL! OK, Kiza, whatever nonsense you need to make up for yourself.

    Can’t speak for the generality, but myself and the only other admitted Margolis fan I can think of off the top of my head – Sean Gabb of the Libertarian Alliance in the UK – are extremely well informed on general history (almost certainly far, far better informed than you, unless you are a very unusual individual), so your theory doesn’t have much credibility as far as I’m concerned.

    • Replies: @Kiza
  24. Kiza says:
    @Randal

    Are you sure that you are not a low-level intelligence asset, instead of just another online name droppe?. Never heard of your fan club called Libertarian Alliance of the U.K., no less. Reads very much like the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Your and Alexander Cockburn’s handlers (if you are British) like such bombastic faux names for the regime financed NGOs.

    The only way I am “a very unusual individual” is that, unlike you, I am a true, anti-statist, Austrian School of Economics Libertarian. The regime tries to saw confusion into almost every political movement using individuals such as you. You are Libertarian as much as I am Martian.

    P.S. My first and last response to you – you are paid for defending the regime and I am not. No time for rubbish.

    • Replies: @Randal
  25. Randal says:
    @Kiza

    You are Libertarian as much as I am Martian.

    Never said I was, of course – presumably reading comprehension is not your strong point.

    Fwiw, I used to self-identify as a libertarian (anarcho-capitalist) many years ago, but I came to the conclusion that libertarianism couldn’t deal with the real world because it had no way to account for the crucial importance of group identities such as nation and race. I tend to identify just as a conservative – my natural inclination, these days.

    a low-level intelligence asset
    Your and Alexander Cockburn’s handlers
    P.S. My first and last response to you – you are paid for defending the regime and I am not. No time for rubbish.

    I doubt I’ll miss your particular brand of conspiracy theory buffoonery.

  26. […] 11,000 Algerians were arrested and cast into internment camps or a sports stadium. Eric Margolis in Unz.com14 […]

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