The sculpture in tribute to Abdelkader (1808-1883) was vandalized before its inauguration on Saturday in Amboise (Indre-et-Loire), where the Algerian national hero was detained with several members of his family from 1848 to 1852 The work entitled “Passage Abdelkader” and signed by the Touraine artist Michel Audiard, represents the emir cut out of a sheet of rusty steel. It has been largely degraded in the lower part of the structure.
If the inauguration of the stele was maintained, the mayor of Amboise Thierry Boutard (DVD) expressed his “indignation”. “I was ashamed that we treat a work of art and an artist of this kind. The second feeling is of course indignation. It is a day of harmony that must unite and such behavior is unspeakable”, he said.
Ouassila Soum, 37-year-old Franco-Algerian, said she had “a heavy heart”. “It was done with a grinder, they are not children, it is a shame and at the same time it is not surprising with the hate speech, the current nauseating climate”, she added to the AFP, seeing in this stele “a symbol of rapprochement between peoples and civilizations”. Algerian Ambassador to France Mohamed Antar Daoud called for “more dialogue and understanding”.
An open investigation
This work for the 60th anniversary of Algeria’s independence was proposed by historian Benjamin Stora in his report on “Memorial questions relating to colonization and the Algerian war”, submitted to Emmanuel Macron in January 2021 Emir Abdelkader ibn Mahieddine (1808-1883) is a figure in the history of Algeria. The one who was nicknamed “the best enemy of France” played a big role in the refusal of the French colonial presence in Algeria. He is considered one of the founders of modern Algeria.
After his surrender, he was imprisoned in Pau, Toulon, then in the Château d’Amboise from 1848 until his release in 1852. This “bridge man” as Benjamin Stora calls him, then went into exile in Damascus, where he distinguished himself. in 1860 by defending the Christians of Syria, prey to persecution. This act will make him a symbol of tolerance. He will be awarded the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor.
An investigation for “serious degradation of property intended for public utility and belonging to a public person” was opened this Saturday, said the Tours prosecutor’s office. “The investigation was entrusted to the Amboise research brigade,” said the public prosecutor of Tours Grégoire Dulin.