In Cargèse, Yvan Colonna buried as a child of the country and a martyr of the independence cause

The funeral procession for the burial of Yvan Colonna, in Cargèse (Corsica), March 25, 2022.

Corsican banderas float in the wind on the balconies. Corsican banderas line the windows of shops, restaurants and bars. Corsican banderas line the edge of the road and finally Corsican banderas are deployed on the facades of the houses. This Friday, March 25, Cargèse (Corse-du-Sud) buries one of his children. The banderas, these flags with the head of a Moor – the true national color of Corsica – are everywhere. As well as these photos, these stencil portraits painted on the walls, these graffiti to the glory of “Yvan”.

Like a day of celebration in the village, Cargèse has decorated itself. The village is adorned with ornaments bearing the effigy of Yvan Colonna. From noon, under an azure sky swept by a cold wind, several dozen people headed for the Latin church which overlooks the sea. The first to arrive settled on the low wall which surrounds the square. Then little by little, they were hundreds, mounted from Ajaccio, Bastia and elsewhere, to end up in several thousand, around 3 p.m., when the death knell sounded.

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From the middle of the morning, they strolled through the village, a tad idle. Mostly men, often middle-aged, caps screwed on their heads. Long-time activists. People who have been preaching the nationalist cause for twenty or thirty years and sometimes more, people who have planted bombs in public buildings, people who have spent part of their youth in prisons on the continent. They seal their reunion there. For some, after so many years. Kiss each other most often. Sometimes hug each other.

There is the “old” chef Charles Pieri, as always surrounded by his relatives who form a sort of Praetorian guard. There are some former members of the Erignac commando. They have served their sentence. Like Marcel Istria, released in 2014 after fifteen years in prison. He never acknowledged his membership in the commando. There is also Vincent Andriuzzi and Jean Castela. Suspected of being the cell in the north of the island, the “intellectual” branch of the commando, they were accused of “complicity in murder” in July 2003 and were sentenced to thirty years’ imprisonment. Three years later, the Court of Appeal had partially acquitted them of the count of “complicity” to retain only offenses.

“Emotional Mobilization”

Representatives of the Human Rights League also made the trip to Ajaccio. André Paccou, regional delegate of the association, pleads for light to be shed concerning the aggression suffered by Yvan Colonna in the prison of Arles (Bouches-du-Rhône) and that “Truth be told the Colonna family”. “We must avoid falling back into a cycle of violence”he wishes, but for that, a real debate must be established on the Corsican question and that “the Corsicans are consulted”.

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