On Thursdays during August and September, Al Jazeera will screen three documentary series (The French-African Connection, Black France and Algeria: The Test of Power) that spotlight the complex and topical relationship between France and Africa.
In January 2013, France responded to Mali’s request for assistance by launching a military intervention in Mali to prevent the Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups from taking control of the country. Is France pursuing a neo-colonial policy? Is it continuing “Françafrique,” the term coined to define France’s relationships with its former African colonies in which it supported unpopular African politicians for the sake of its economic interests in the region?
In a recent visit to Dakar, French president Francois Hollande declared the end of the “Françafrique” era. But is that really the case?
The French-African Connection
The French-African Connection which premiered on Thursday, 8 August 2013, is a gripping three-part series that tells the dark and dramatic history of France’s relationships with its former African colonies.
The French-African Connection is a brutal and nefarious tale of corruption; massacres; dictators supported and progressive leaders murdered; weapons-smuggling; cloak-and-dagger secret services; and spectacular military operations. The series includes interviews with former oil barons; investigating judges into corruption scandals; former French ambassadors to African states; former French secret services; African presidents; and Francois Mitterand’s son.
The second and third episodes will premiere on 15 and 22 August respectively.
Premiering on Thursday, 29 August 2013, Black France is a three-part series exploring the complicated relationship between France and its black colonial subjects, and later citizens. Travelling from 1889 to the present, this fascinating series weaves together archive and testimony to build a record of contemporary French black history over almost 130 years.
From Africa, and also the Caribbean, thousands travelled to France – first as soldiers to fight and die for France and then as migrant labourers.
France officially declares itself colour blind. There are no official surveys according to race, so nobody knows for certain how many black citizens there are. Estimates vary between three-five million out of a population of more than 61 million. This series looks at the history of African and Caribbean émigrés settling in France and their long struggle to become the French citizens of today.
The first episode premieres on Thursday, 29 August 2013, with the second and third episodes premiering on 5 and 12 September respectively.
Algeria: The Test of Power
Premiering on Thursday, 19 September 2013, Algeria: The Test of Power is a two-part series that tells the modern history of Algeria, from independence as a French colony in 1962 to the Arab Spring 50 years later.
Algeria was under French colonial rule for 132 years. From tears of joy at independence in 1962, to anger at the regimeof Bouteflika, through the dark tragic civil war of the 90s, this series gives us unique insight into a country which generally escaped the Arab Spring and which is notoriously inaccessible to journalists and filmmakers alike.
It provides an historical surveyof Algeria, from the Evian Accords of 1962 to the Arab Spring of 2011.
Using insightful interviews with prominent Algerian politicians, including BenBella, President Bouteflika and AitAhmed, as well as members of civilsociety and writers Yasmina Khadra and Boualem Sansal, Algeria: The Test of Power provides a tragic and powerful story thatallows us to better understand the Algeria of the past, the present and the future
The first episode premieres on Thursday, 19 September 2013, with the second on 26 September 2013.
For more information and to watch the documentaries, visit The French African Connection series website.
Many thanks to Kevin Kriedmann