TRUTH AND JUSTICE FOR THE AFRICAN TIRAILLEURS

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INTERNATIONAL PETITION – TRUTH AND JUSTICE FOR THE AFRICAN TIRAILLEURS, VICTIMS OF THE THIAROYE MASSACRE

The premeditated massacre of the “Tirailleurs Sénégalais”, who were executed in cold blood by the French colonial army on December 1st 1944 at Thiaroye, is a State crime, combined with a State-perpetrated lie, that have gone unpunished to this day.

This bloody political-military machination reveals the inhumanity of the colonial system, inaugurating an uninterrupted series of colonial massacres of far greater proportions in Africa and elsewhere in the Empire. Furthermore, it prefigures, by the dogged refusal to pay the repatriated Tirailleurs their due (captivity pay and demobilisation bonus), the subsequent “crystallization” of African veterans’ pensions immediately after the “Independences”.

On the eve of the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of this imprescriptible crime perpetrated by the French government, which has made just one slight step towards setting right the official lie but refuses further scrutiny, it is high time to demand the reinstatement of truth and justice for the victims of Thiaroye 1944.

We, the undersigned, request every state authority concerned, starting with the Presidents of Senegal and of France to:

  • Proceed promptly with the exhumation of the corpses of the victims buried in the mass grave the whereabouts of which are now known so that every one of them can be given a decent burial in their African home country.
  • Grant each of them in name (from the victims list) the status of “Mort pour la France” [gave his life for France];
  • Clear those who were wrongly sentenced by the Dakar Military Tribunal in March 1945 by holding a retrial, so as to rehabilitate them and unburden the memories of the dead;
  • Pay back the misappropriated pay and bonuses to the eligible persons;
  • Hand over to the Service historique de la Défense all of the military archives that were left with the AOF ground forces later to become the French forces in Senegal, and then abolished in 2011.

This is the only way to achieve recognition for the Tirailleurs, restore historical truth, administer justice and make it possible for a true reconciliation to take place.

Dakar, Brazzaville and Paris, November 1, 2019