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Why Africans Should Take Offense at Nicolas Sarkozy's Speech

Boubacar Boris Diop, El Hadji Moustapha Diop


It is perhaps written somewhere that between France and its former colonies nothing should be done according to the rules the rest of the world abides by. Nicolas Sarkozys short visit to Senegal could have gone unnoticed, had he not used it as a pretext to deliver an intolerable speech in front of the most insignificant of his peers, something he would have never done outside Paris's pre carre (Frances neocolonial pet countries in Africa). In Tunisia and Algeria, he understood quite well that he would not be allowed to act as if he were in conquered territory. Actually in the Maghreb, Sarkozy didn't enjoy the popular and excessively folkloric welcome he was given in Dakar. In an atmosphere calling to mind the bygone period of colonial district administrators, he delivered an anachronistic speech on something like the State of the French Union, knowing that no one among his listeners would bother to provide him with the proper historical lenses. One should not, however, take his audacity at face value: even though he was pretending to speak to Africa as a whole, Sarkozy is not so nae as to delude himself into believing that his voice would be heard as far as Johannesburg, Mombasa or Maputo. If, for once, intellectuals in that part of the continent are paying attention to the words of a French president, it is because someone took the trouble to sum it up for them. For the last couple of days, they have been in a state of shock after coming to grips with the troubling realities of Franfrique. Their anger is understandable: even in our francophone countries, where it has been long thought that the bitter cup of neocolonial humiliation was drunk down to the dregs, everybody agrees that this time things have gone too far.

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ProudFlesh: New Afrikan Journal of Culture, Politics and Consciousness. ISSN: 1543-0855 (online).
Editor: Dr. Sonjah Nadine Stanley-Niaah.

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