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Hi, I'm currently reading La Guerre sans nom and I was wondering if anyone could help me with this extract? excuse the lack of accents:

1) "L'autre maniere, que je preferais, etait beaucoup plus souple: elle consistait a ne pas obliger les gens a prendre un fusil pour tuer leur soi-disant freres qui etaient en face. tres vite, le fusil, c'est eux qui me le demandaient, parce qu'ils avaient peur... parce qu'ils se rendaient compte que ceux d'en face, qu'ils consideraient comme leur freres, ne leur auraint pas fair de cadeau"

 

So, here is my take on this: as a means of punishment, the lieutenant would line the ranks up into two rows and have them each point guns at each other. those who refused to take up arms would be pointed at with a gun by their friends within the ranks who were willing to take up arms?

 

2) "Le chef de cette unite FLN, qui etait un chef remarquable, est venu par-derriere nous chercher ses hommes. Il appelait ses hommes a la voix et leur indiquait ou on etait et par ou il fallait passer. Ca, c'etait impressionant. Ca signifait qu'on etait encercles a notre tour"

My understanding of this is the leader of the FLN attacking group would move behind their regiment and call at the top of his lungs to his men, where they should attack next and where to aim. This showed clearly that they were surrounded more or less??

Help would be much appreciated

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The first one :

It is about the Algeria war, and the unwill (? when someone doesn't want to do something) to kill the soldiers opposite, because soldiers considered them as "their brothers". I think that there is a part before about the way to force the soldiers to kill the soldiers opposite. And here, he says that he had another way he preferred. He didn't force them to take a gun, and quickly it was the soldiers who wanted a gun because they were afraid, and because they discovered that their "brothers" would have killed them without hesitation.

I think the second is ok ...

The bit before that was speaking about methods of punishment to put soldiers who opposed killing (conscripted soliders) in line by some form of physical punishment- but this lieutenant said he prefers this method- also, thank you so much for clearing this up-it was just that I had trouble understanding why he was referring to them as "brothers" given that the enemies were from Algeria and the soldiers were conscripted from France- but that makes a lot more sense now. thanks

Are you sure that soldiers were conscripted from France ?  are they not Algerian rather ?

Before this war, there were a lot of people living in Algeria who were from France, and a lot of Algerians who were close to French and France. the History of these 2 countries were linked. At this time, there was an obligatory military service, and Algerian like French young people had to do it.

So when the war began, everyone had to choose his side. And some Algerians choosed France side. Others were forced to help French army, when their homes were burnt and their families killed.  Others were too young to have any idea about this war and went where it seemed to be the best. 

So I think that sometimes  some soldiers could have found their neighbor in the opposite face, and maybe sometimes their friends from the day before, their "brothers" !

Here we call this war  "la sale guerre"

oh I'm so sorry I mixed the chronology up- yes you're right, the soldiers were recruited from algeria based upon a french local plan-  the harkis- they called the the recruits.

also, thank you for your explanation of the war- I was very confused as to why they would refer to their enemies with such an affectionate label. I have another question however,  why do you call it "la sale guerre?" Is this in relation to the widespread use of torture methods employed by the french army?

You are right, one call it 'la sale guerre" because of the systematic use of torture but also summary executions and forcible disappearances

"les Harkis" were Algerians who supported France and who served in French army during this war.

"la sale guerre" , yes, torture methods, but not only, there were a lot of  criminal acts toward civil people.

I (from my limited exposure to the French media ) was under the impression that one of the salient features of this war was the feeling of the "French" side in that war  that they were not accepted as true French when the war was over.

Would that sentiment have contributed to the term "sale guerre" (the same term as is often used for the conflict in Northern Ireland by the way) ? 

oh yes a lot of "Harkis" were not accepted as true French after the war, and not only that, it was worse, some of them were abandoned. They couldn't come in France, they  had to stay in Algeria where they were considered as traitor and often executed by FLN without French army defended them.

I think it's the behavior of all the sides who contribute to the term "sale guerre".

In France, it's already now a subject that a lot of people prefer avoid.

It was the main question in the final exam "Baccalaureat" last year, my daughter took this exam, and his teacher did  this subject very very quickly without going any further, as a lot of other teachers.

A couple of corrections!

oh yes a lot of "Harkis" were not accepted as true French after the war, and not only that, it was worse, some of them were abandoned. They couldn't come in  to France, they  had to stay in Algeria where they were considered as traitors and often executed by FLN without  the French army defending them.

I think it's the behavior of all the sides which contribute to the term "sale guerre".

In France, it's already now a subject that a lot of people prefer to avoid.

It was the main question in the final exam "Baccalaureat" last year, my daughter took this exam, and his her teacher did  this subject very very quickly without going any further, as like a lot of other teachers.

thank you George,

I make progress ;-)

yes I think so!

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