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Return of skulls of freedom fighters a step towards reconnecting Algeria with its glorious past

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The skulls of 24 Algerian freedom fighters, who resisted French colonialism in the middle of the 19th century, arrived in Algiers on Sunday. An emotional official and popular reception was organised for their arrival, which coincided with the 58th anniversary of Algeria’s independence. They were laid to rest at El Alia cemetery.

These skulls belong to fighters who were martyred during battles fought against the French occupation. Some were killed after they were arrested and their heads were decapitated and sent to Paris as war trophies.

Algerians know about the stories of these brave fighters, but know very little about what happened to them when their heads arrived in Paris, where they kept and how they ended up in the vaults of the French National Museum of Natural History.

It had been known that there are bodies of hundreds of Algerian fighters in France, according to the history Professor at the University of Algiers, Mohamed Arezki Ferrad, but information about these fighters emerged when the Algerian historian Ali Farid Belkadi found their skulls in 2011 and started to raise awareness about them, calling for them to be repatriated to the land they fought and died for.

Belkadi, who said that the remains of at least 536 Algerian fighters are still being held in the French National Museum of Natural History in Paris, launched a campaign in 2016 for the their return. Little changed. In 2017, another petition signed by several French and Algerian intellectuals made its way........

© Middle East Monitor