Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Ivory Coast: colonial adventure

/ colonialisme / nouveau /
From Le Monde Diplomatique, an analysis about the Ivory Coast's troubles. A very interesting look at French colonial undertakings in Africa:
The actions of the French Operation Unicorn peacekeeping force in the former French west African colony of Ivory Coast have exposed the greed and seaminess of France’s dual role as both mediator and participant...

THERE is a widespread belief, never clearly formulated, that the culture of violence is deeply rooted in Africa. The underlying assumption is racist: that power struggles in the continent are the expression of secular ethnic hatreds.

Unsurprisingly, western media have persisted in imposing their cliches and preconceptions upon the conflict in Ivory Coast, presenting the head of state, Laurent Gbagbo, as a wily but brutal visionary, the rebels as good communicators and the shouting masses as young patriots."

1 comment:

DoDo said...

This is something I followed over the years.

I think Gbago is a wily but brutal ashole, not unlike most other top politicians nowadays. And I think France's colonial policies are more painted by short-sighted and stupid 'realpolitik' than grand schemes.

Gbago was the laughing third when he rode into power in the sham elections military dictator Robert Gueï organised, barring most other candidates including popular Alassane Dramane Ouattara andformer ruling party candidate Emile Bombet (then also more popular than Gbago). Gbago continued against Ouattara just in Gueï's style, which included a bloody clampdown on his followers in the night after a peaceful mass protest (120 dead). Meanwhile a rebellion broke out.

Through most of this mess, the French policy was basically to side with whoever looks to be in the winner's seat at the moment: first with Henri Konan Bédié, then with putchist Robert Gueï, then - despite the elections he won being a sham - with Gbago, and again with Gbago when the rebellion broke out. Always they got into more trouble. And when Chirac tried to play both sides, Gbago played nationalism and pro-US - i.e. another shot in the own foot.