This law, otherwise known as the 'February 23, 2005' law, was passed quietly in February of 2005, but came to prominence in the autumn when there was an overwhelming vote by conservative deputies against a bid to revoke the phrase. This touched off on a debate about whether France, whose empire ended in bloody wars in Indochina and Algeria, had learnt from its colonial experience.
The trouble started in February when lawmakers quietly slipped a clause into a bill requiring schools to "recognize in particular the positive character of the French overseas presence, notably in North Africa."
Some of the key players in this situation would be: President Jacques Chirac of Paris, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, Gilles Manceron, and Olivier Petre-Grenouilleau - a respected historian who was accused of making statements in an interview which implied that the slave trade was not a crime against humanity. (In fact, he said that it didn't constitute genocide). ...