France: A century of North-African culture
Exhibition site: Génériques
From Philippe Grenier, a French convert who in 1896 became the first Muslim Parliament members in France, to signs in Arabic at union protests in the 1970s. The Génériques association has a new exhibit in the Lyon municipal archives titled "A Century of Cultural History of North Africans in France". The exhibition will come to Paris in mid-November.
According to Naima Yahi, who together with Driss El Yazami, is the curator of the exhibition, it focuses on the two world wars and the decades which followed, showing how Algerians, Moroccans and Tunisians were involved in these major French historical moments.
Starting with WWI when 300,000 soldiers were enlisted from North Africa, to the wave of immigration during the inter-war period of both laborers and intellectuals. For the WWII period the exhibition also looked at resistance (Mohamed Lakhdar Toumi, deported to Dachau in 1944) and collaboration (Mohamed el-Maadi, who in 1942 called on Muslims to Jihad on Radio Paris).
The decades following WWII are marked by decolonization: the repression of demonstrations of Algerians in Paris in 1961, and later the protests for equality by the first generation immigrants in 1983, followed by disillusionment and the questioning of belonging.
Source: AFP (French), h/t le blog laiciste