Kiss of death? Algerian kowtow to French president sparks outrage
A picture of an Algerian man kissing the hand of French President Francois Hollande angered Algerians, a newspaper reported Thursday.
According to Hespress newspaper, the picture was taken Wednesday when the man lined up with other Algerians to meet their President Abdelaziz Bouteflika alongside Hollande, who was in Algiers in a landmark visit.
Algerians online soon criticized the man, whom they described as “eager” in kissing Hollande’s hand. Algerians also criticized the French leader because he looked at “ease” and undisturbed by the man’s action
The activists and netizens asked if “the Arab man misses French colonial rule in Algeria,” while others sarcastically wondered if the French leader has become a king without kingdom, or if he has turned into a Caliph whose title Arabized, became “Al-Hollande.”
One commentator, who said that Hollande is sending a political message by accepting to have his hand kissed by a “poor” Algerian, derided the French leader: “I am here not to apologize on behalf of the French state for its crimes against Algeria. I am here in Algeria to receive a warm welcome and to have my hand kissed.”
Prior to Hollande’s visit, 14 Algerian parties demanded the French leader to recognize and apologize for the crimes France perpetrated against the Algerian people during the 132 years of French colonial rule.
On Thursday in Algiers, Hollande said that he recognized the “suffering” inflicted on the Algerian people during French colonial rule but he didn’t give any official apology.
“Over 132 years, Algeria was subjected to a profoundly unjust and brutal system,” AFP reported Hollande as saying in the Algerian parliament on the second and final day of his landmark visit.
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