Sarkozy’s Racist Africa Attack

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[Africa News: Commentary]

The latest incident in which authorities in Chad rescued 103 children who were to be flown to France under unclear circumstances by a team of French aid workers from the so-called Zoe's Ark charity organization raises a number of issues, more importantly, African unity and Africa's relationship with the pan-European world.

It was demeaning and pathetic to see an African president being utterly powerless to prevent the interference of French President Nicolas Sarkozy in the internal affairs of Chad.

It took Sarkozy, nicknamed "Speedy Sarkozy" just a day to secure the release of three French journalists and four Spanish flight attendants, on November 4, undermining the Chad's judiciary and sovereignty.

As if this is not enough, Speedy Sarkozy says he will return to Chad to bring home the other remaining detainees made up of 10 Europeans who are facing charges of extortion and child kidnapping.

Sarkozy's actions amply demonstrate that Western interference and meddling into the internal affairs of African countries did not start with nor is it going to end with Zimbabwe. His actions are racist and belittle Africans as poor managers of their lives and destiny.

Some BSN readers might think I'm a “racist in reverse.” But before you say anything hold your fire. Let us just hear what 'our friend' from Paris said at the Cheik Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal on 26 July 2007.

"The colonials," Sarkozy said, "came and looted, helped themselves, exploited, took resources and wealth that did not belong to them. They stripped the colonized of their personalities, of their freedom, of their lands, and of the fruits of their labors."

He went further: "They took, but I would also like to say, with respect, that they also gave -they built bridges, roads, hospitals, chemists, schools. They made the virgin soil bear fruit, they invested their concern, their labors and their knowledge. I want to say here: the colonials were not all thieves, they were not all exploiters.

"There were bad men among them, but there were also among them men of goodwill, men who thought they were carrying out a civilizing mission...They thought they were bringing freedom when they were feeding alienation. They thought they were breaking the chains of obscurantism, superstition and servitude.

"In fact, they were forging far heavier chains and imposing a far more onerous form of servitude, one that weighed on spirits and souls...Colonialism is not responsible for all of Africa's current difficulties. It is not responsible for the bloody wars that Africans fight against each other. It is not responsible for genocides. It is not responsible for dictators. It is not responsible for corruption and prevarication..

"Colonialism was an offence that destroyed the subjects' self esteem and gave birth in their hearts to that self-hatred that always ends up being turned on other people.

But perhaps this part better depicts Sarkozy's racist instincts and drive: "The tragedy of Africa is that the African man has never really entered history. The African peasant has known only the eternal renewal of time via the endless repetition of the same actions and the same words. In this mentality, where everything always starts over again, there is no place for human adventure nor for any idea of progress." He added: "Africa's problem is that its present is permeated with nostalgia for the paradise of its lost childhood..."

His speech is a mockery to the struggling African peasants who toil everyday on the land to feed Europe without getting a fair price for their labor. Sarkozy should read history correctly. Who controls the international prices of cocoa, coffee, tea, beef, minerals and other products? Who supplies weapons to African rebels? Who controls world trade and finance?
His actions are a painful mockery of the integrity of Africans. What could have happened if the 10 Europeans including members of Zoe's Ark were Africans attempting to traffic white children from say Paris to an unknown destination in Africa?

Do you think it will be possible for Chadian President Idriss Deby to secure the release of the Africans?
"The intervention and interference by the French president at a personal level can best be described as the 'devil getting into detail,' a Zimbabwean political commentator says.

"Why Sarkozy decided to deal with the issue personally is part of the bigger picture in this fiasco. It is also part of the answer to the puzzle of why westerners that commit crimes on African soil are not supposed to stand trial in those countries and if they do and are found guilty, they are not supposed to save their jail terms there.

"But, how many Africans are locked up in western jails for various crimes and how many African leaders have intervened on behalf of their citizens, notwithstanding that they would have broken the laws of those western countries? the Harare-based political commentator asked.

Honestly speaking, if this incident had happened in France and not Chad, involved European children, the perpetrators could have faced a different fate. Europe would have called for a Nuremberg-style trial.

Today, Africa is on trial from the same world that persecuted it for centuries, the same world that boasts of being the guardians of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the same world that thinks it is the champion in the fight against child trafficking and the same world that talks about the equality of sovereign nations and peoples.

In our African eyes Sarkozy is a disgrace, a raw racist whose crude intervention blunts Africa's march to unity and right to self determination.

Tsiko is The Black Star News's Southern Africa correspondent based in Harare, Zimbabwe

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