PARIS, Dec. 10 (Xinhuanet) -- French President Jacques Chirac intervened Friday
by a radio-televisioned speech to try to calm down controversy over France
He announced the creation of a mission to "evaluate the actions of
parliament in the fields of memory and history" and issue a report within three
months, as the French government faces mounting pressure to revoke a law that
casts a positive light on the country 's colonial past.
"Like all nations France has known greatness but also difficult times. There
have been moments of light but also moments of darkness. It is a legacy which we
must assume in its entirety," Chirac said in a statement.
"History is the key to a nation's cohesion, but it only takes a little for history
to become an agent of division, for passions to inflame and the wounds of
the past to re-open," he said.
"The law's job is not to write history. The writing of history is the task
of historians," he said.
A controversial article in a law voted through the French lower house in
February states that "school programmes recognise in particular the positive
role of France's presence overseas, notably in north Africa, and give due
prominence to the history and sacrifices of French army fighters from these
The clause has been loudly denounced by rights groups,
historians and citizens of France's overseas territories who say it is a blatant
attempt to whitewash the colonial past. Enditem