Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Liberation of who ?

"We were colonised by the French. We were forced to go to war. Forced to follow the orders that said, do this, do that, and we did. France has not been grateful. Not at all." Former French colonial soldier, Issa Cisse from Senegal, who is now 87 years-old, looks back on it all with sadness and evident resentment.

Papers unearthed by the BBC reveal that British and American commanders ensured that the liberation of Paris on 25 August 1944 was seen as a "whites only" victory. The BBC programme has seen evidence that black colonial soldiers - who made up around two-thirds of Free French forces - were deliberately removed from the unit that led the Allied advance into the French capital.Allied Command insisted that all black soldiers be taken out and replaced by white ones from other units.

By the time France fell in June 1940, 17,000 of its black, mainly West African colonial troops, known as the Tirailleurs Senegalais, lay dead.Many of them were simply shot where they stood soon after surrendering to German troops who often regarded them as sub-human savages. After the liberation of the French capital many Senegalese soldiers were simply stripped of their uniforms and sent home. To make matters even worse, in 1959 their pensions were frozen.

1 comment:

mic_comte said...

I have written a comment about this article here, feel free to answer: