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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

France's Dirty Backyard

France’s Dirty Backyard

Here is one more proof of what is WRONG with lesson-givers who perpetrate
the very same actions they criticize other countries for.

This was published by The East African on March 5, 2007.

This is an excerpt from the article you can find at: http://www.nationmedia.com/eastafrican/current/Opinion/opinion0503079.htm

This is worsened by what Ross Herbert of the South African Institute for International Affairs in Johannesburg terms the “anti-democratic behaviour prevailing among the (francophone) leaders, and corruption, and economic and political decay.”
French presidential candidate Segolene Royal seems to agree with this in an editorial for Temoignage Chrétien, a Catholic weekly. She wrote, “... our country is associated in African minds with the most questionable regimes on the continent.” She blames this on the sitting president’s friendship with such regimes.
In five decades of France-Africa summits, France has offered continued material and military aid to prop up unelected leaders, some of whom have been around for decades thanks to elections that have largely become a mockery of democracy.
FRENCH COMPANIES are equally guilty. For instance, Elf Aquitaine has been closely related to the enduring system of Franco-African relations, “Francafrique.”
Beyond the formal institutions, “Francafrique” worked through a system of international clientelism, combining corruption and force, economic, political and social exchanges, and public and private relations.
All in all, Franco-African relations were and continue to be paternal. The summit in Cannes had all the makings of an attempt to continue this system of paternalism.

It should be noted that the author of this article is based in Rwanda, a place which painfully experienced the effect of French policy in 1994. It should be noted that in 1994, the president of france was Francois Mitterand, the political mentor of Segolene Royal who seems to have conveniently forgotten that.
Here is a little reminder from Wikipedia of this “unfortunate affair”

Paris assisted
Rwanda's president Juvénal Habyarimana, who was assassinated on April 6, 1994. Through the offices of the 'Cellule Africaine', a Presidential office headed by Mitterand's son, Jean-Christophe, provided the Hutu regime with financial and military support in the early 1990s. With French assistance, the Rwandan army grew from a force of 9000 men in October 1990 to 28000 in 1991. France also provided training staff, experts and massive quantities of weaponry and facilitated arms contracts with Egypt and South Africa. It also financed, armed and trained Habyrimana's Presidential Guard. French troops were sent in the frame of Opération Turquoise, a military operation under the mandate of the United Nations (UN) which activities are currently the object of political and historical debate.


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