The tale of Algeria's stolen cannon and France's cockerel

Algerian canon with the statue of a cockerel over it in the French port of Brest.

Algerians expect that, as part of France's effort of rectify the falsities of its imperial history, the mighty bronze channel that the French looted almost two centuries ago could be on his way home.

Constructed in 1542, it is still a massive weapon today and has been known as the defender of Algiers for several decades.

The Algerians name it Baba Merzoug, which means "Holy Lord," as it has defended the region, now the capital of Algeria, from the innumerable invasions over the years.

Its 12-ton barrel was long, 7-mile (22 ft) in circumference, to the Mediterranean, where projectiles of 80 kg (176 lb) could be launched over 5 km (3 miles) to attacking ships.

This incident, which led to the shooting of the French canon consul in 1683, led to its so-called "La Consulaire"

In 1683 also, during a losing effort by the French navy to conquer the area, the French consul-Jean le Vacher-was fired into the cannon and blasted from it.

To date, after the notorious event, French military officials name the weapon "The Consulary."

When, after a third try, the French eventually caught the city in 1830 they agreed to withdraw the cannon to the position where it could no longer do any harm.

Today the horizon in the northwestern French port of Brest is pointed towards a naval base.

Link: BBC's Ahmed Rouba, link description:, "Image: statute of a cockerel on top of the Algerian cannon currently in Brest" Symbolism is not lost to Algerians-and they want a symbolic relaxing of the arms restored in connection with both countries"

His mouth is shut and the noble statue of a Gallic cockerel sits atop, one of the French emblems.

The Algerians are not symbolized – they want the arms to be restored in the ties between the two countries as part of a symbolic relaxation.

Skulls come back

After a brutal seven-year war in both nations, Algeria became independent of France in 1962.

Their approximation was sluggish-yet substantial improvement has been made since Emmanuel Macron became the president of France.

In July, the bodies of 24 combatants returned to Algeria

A few months before his 2017 victory, he described a "crime against humanity" visit to Algeria for the occupation of the nation in North Africa.

And before this year the bodies of 24 Algerian warriors executed by the imperial powers in the 19th century resisted by the French returned to France.

They were carried as trophies to France and some of their cranes were then exhibited at the Paris National Museum of Natural History.

You will also like to know:

The wife who called for the reality of eight French leaders

40 years in Germany to hunt for a skull

The Plague Lessons in Coronavirus Era

The historian Belkacem Babaci was the man who undertook to see that Algerians did not forget the cannon.

He has been campaigning on this since the 90s, but unfortunately he won't see the cannon return last year.

In 2011, he was permitted to visit Brest and told El Moudjahid in Algeria what made the cannon so special.

Map: France and Algeria

"I have been telling tales of an iconic cannon by my grandparents since I was 12.

These tales have motivated me to study and culture, "he said.

"I sensed humidity in my hands as I approached the cannon.

They were tears in my imagination, "he said of his visit.

"The period when algeria ruled the Mediterranean, Baba Merzoug brings us backwards.

This cannon talks to Algeria 's true past.

'You are set free one day' '

Indeed, the Ottoman king in Algiers in the 16th century, Hassan Pasha, commissioned the giant canon to defend the town from frequent Spanish , French and Dutch assaults.

The cannon is installed in the naval base of Brest on a painted plinth

A ballistic missile from her day, it was designed with the aid of a Venetian specialist in the fundery of Bab El Oued, a suburb of Algiers.

The memory of the cannon is very vibrant in mainstream culture due to Babaci 's efforts.

In 1888 Ahmed Bouziane published a revered poem "alienated and lonely away from home" in the language of the cannon.

"I'm here, waiting in the grip of the French for my fate ... prisoner," she says.

To this day, Abdelkader Chercham, the famous traditional singer, still performs his imagined favorite chat.

He said, 'My dream is to be home again.' I said to him, 'no matter how long it takes, you will be set free one day,' his lyrics said. "I saw the captivity, alienated from home.' 'I wished to be home.'

Mood change

He wrote to both French and Algerian authorities on many occasions as part of Babaci 's movement.

Ties between France and Algeria:

1830: Algiers is occupied by France

1945: Protests for democracy in Setif. Thousands killed by the repression of resulting unrest.

1954-1962: War of freedom in Algeria-figures for the casualties of the conflict range from 400,000 to 1 million

1962: The liberation of Algeria

2012: François Hollande considers the pains created by the occupation of Algeria by France but is not excused.

2017: French presidential nominee Emmanuel Macron defines colonialism in a visit to Algeria as "a offense against humanity."

2018: Mr. Macron states that France acknowledged blame for the torture and assassination in Algeria in 1957 of the communist protester.

2020: France returns the skulls of 24 soldiers slain in the nineteenth century immune to imperial powers

Jacques Chirac, President of France from 1995 to 2007, has also earned a favorable response, he added. But the French military has been unwilling to claim their position over the years.

In 2006, the then Minister of Defense of France, Michèle Alliot-Marie, dismissed the notion of restoring the cans again and claimed that they "belonged to the French army tradition," and were "really attached to that tradition."

France may also return the robe worn by Emir Abdelkader, an Algerian resistance leader, when he surrendered in 1847.

But now bilateral talks have been leading to address these problems with the director of the Algerian National Archives Centre, Abdelmadjid Chikhi and French historian Benjamin Stora, an Algerian independence war specialist.

Shortly after the discussion started last month, French MPs spoke about the return to Algeria of Emir Abdelkader, who had led the war against the French invasion of 1830, in his capsized white robes.

Since surrender in 1847-then kept hostage for five years-it is the "Burny" he was wearing and is still present at the Paris military museum.

All this leads to a shift in attitude that is possibly the secret to the liberation after 190 years of the Algerian "war hostage" Baba Merzoug.

Advertisement