Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Writing on the wall or the thin red line ?



With the visit of Sarkozy a fading memory - unlike the hundreds of flags that still adorn his route to the hotel - I was going to moan about something else. Tags, or graffiti as it be known in the anglophone world. Tags are everywhere, rather like free t-shirts with banal sycophantic political slogans. Those that are jolly I fail to understand (see above) and those written in English display a thorough understanding of the vernacular - "fuck the police"


However, being of a certain age means that I moan about everything I can't or won't do and I must say that Sarkozy spoke a reasonable amount of sense during his "best wishes" monologue. Except ...

Things may fall apart, but they also have a strange way of coming together. Haiti is suffering and has been suffering since its inception. Haiti was a French colony - yes the place where certain French historians insist the "gas chamber" was invented, obviously not wanting to be outdone the Brits invented the concentration camp, so don't feel too smug. Réunion is a French "department" - please bear in mind the difference between a colony and a department.

Haiti suffers more today because of its history and because it is poor. Reunion is rich because it is a French department, is this why there is no viable independence movement?


No one really talks about independence on Reunion but Sarkozy wanted to preempt any such thoughts during his speech :

"Avec une seule ligne rouge dont je n'accepterai jamais qu'elle soit franchie, celle de l'indépendance"

. "L'Outre-Mer est français et restera français".


video


Sounds all very nineteenth century colonialism to me. Makes one wonder what one would think had any other head of state uttered the same phrases - Britain with Mauritius for example ?

It is said that when the sun sets below the horizon of the Indian Ocean on a clear day one can perceive, for a split second, an illuminating green line. I can imagine where the red line of Sarkozy leads, but where is that green line going ...

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