The lower part of the sculpture was badly damaged, and it is on display in the town of Amboise (centre), where Emir Abdelkader Al-Jazaery was arrested with a number of his family from 1848 to 1852.
The date of the inauguration of the sculpture has not been changed, with Amboise Mayor Thierry Bottar expressing his “indignation” over its vandalism.
“I was ashamed to treat a piece of art and an artist in this way. The second feeling, of course, is indignation. It is a day of harmony that unites and such behavior is indescribable,” Bottar told AFP.
Wassila Soum, 37, a French of Algerian descent, said she was “deeply saddened,” adding, “It was done with a machine, and this sabotage has no children behind it.”
And she added, “It is shameful and at the same time not surprising with hate speech and the current charged atmosphere,” and she sees in this sculpture “a symbol of the rapprochement between peoples and civilizations.”
For his part, Algeria’s ambassador to France, Mohamed Antar Daoud, called for “more dialogue and understanding.”
Historian Benjamin Stora suggested this sculpture on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Algeria’s independence in his report on “Purifying the Memory Related to Colonialism and War in Algeria” delivered to French President Emmanuel Macron in January 2021.
Prince Abdelkader bin Mohieldin (1808-1883) is a figure in the history of Algeria. The man nicknamed “the greatest enemy of France” played a major role in rejecting the French colonial presence in Algeria, and is considered one of the founders of modern Algeria.
After his surrender, he was imprisoned in Toulon (southeast), Pau (southwest) and then at Château d’Amboise from 1848 until his release in 1852.
He lived in exile in Damascus, where in the 1860s he distinguished himself for defending the persecuted Christians of Syria, a position that made him a symbol of tolerance.