REPORT – The remains of a man who became an icon in Corsica were enthusiastically received in his village.
Three weeks after his violent attack in the prison of Arles and four days after his death in the north hospital of Marseille, Yvan Colonna, a nationalist activist convicted of participating in the murder of prefect Claude Hérignac on February 6, 1998 in Ajaccio, was buried on Friday in his native village Cargèse, in the Corse du Sud.
From Ajaccio, you need to drive almost an hour to reach this city overlooking the sea, where the funeral of a Corsican shepherd took place on Friday. Flags with the image of the head of the Moor, “bandera”, accompany the column throughout the journey. Stencils depicting the face of Ivan Column hang on the walls. In the middle of the morning, the entrance to the village is still possible for vehicles and the security service is posted. Many Corsicans who had come to the religious festival began to park along the road towards their departure. Everyone converges towards the center of the village. Nationalist elected officials blend into a crowd that already numbers several thousand.
Around 13:00, with the funeral procession on its way, several businesses that are still open lower their curtains. The screams of children in the schoolyard contrast with the solemnity of the moment. Several people are already waiting in the narrow courtyard of the Latin Church, where a sermon will be delivered by Deacon Pierre-Jean Franceschi, a close friend of the Colonna family.
While waiting for the arrival of the convoy, in the midst of banal discussions, conversations naturally turn to news. “He has been pleading not guilty for twenty years, and we are accused of supporting the killer”Francois admits.
jean jacques, “independent separatist”dressed in black as a sign of mourning, he tries to rationalize what is happening in Corsica after the attack on Ivan Colonna. “We really have a feeling that we are not understood. In fact, Ivan Colonna symbolizes injustice, because he has always denied the facts and, in fact, there are doubts. Doubt is good for the accused, but here the presumption of innocence has been violated. Killing the prefect is a mistake, Corsica is not proud of it, but today, if the law were observed, we would not be here.he considers.
SEE ALSO – In Corsica, separatist Ivan Colonna is buried in Cargese.
After Corte, Ajaccio and Bastia, Corsicans took to the streets, some activists see the point in this. “We were told that the FLNK should lay down its arms, which was done. We were told to come to power, we were, and three times since 2015. None of our requests were taken into account. So we took to the streets, it’s the only thing that works, like in May 1968.”analyzes Pascal.
At 2:15 pm, almost two hours after leaving Ajaccio, the funeral home’s cars slowly drove into the village, trying to force their way. “Hey what (he’s there, editor’s note)»indicates the worried father of Ivan Column, pointing to the back of the car.
The convoy heads to the family’s home, where his relatives gather for an hour under the olive trees of the deceased.
“The Case of Political Prisoners”
On reaching the Latin Church, the coffin is carried at arm’s length by young people from the village, who for the occasion donned the black jersey of the AS Cargèse football club, of which Ivan Colonna was president before his imprisonment. “Ivan ti tengu chara (Ivan, we love you)»we can read on the chest.
The office, written entirely in Corsican, can be seen from the outside of the church thanks to two huge railings. “God, we are in front of you today, but we do not understand why”, begins Pierre-Jean Franceschi. Religious songs are then sung by members of famous island bands, including Canta U Populu Corsu and I Muvrini. Outside, as the blessing draws to a close, dozens of Corsican, Sardinian, Basque and Breton flags float above the crowd. Thousands of people accompany Ivan Kolonna to the place of his last resting place, to the family chapel, installed at the entrance to the village. On foot, this journey lasts almost an hour, in the silence of the cathedral, like a day marked by calm, despite the crowds. Then the crowd disperses.
This Saturday, “A rally is planned in Bayonne in support of Ivan Column, as well as in defense of the cause of political prisoners”warns the Basque, who lives in Corsica, with the flag of his region in his hand.