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(en) Peace in Ivory Coast, freedom for Africa! (fr)

From Alternative Libertaire <relations.presse@alternativelibertaire.org>
Date Tue, 23 Nov 2004 12:35:46 +0100 (CET)

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On Tuesday 23rd November at 6.00pm in Paris, Solferino Metro station,
Alternative Libertaire has called a public meeting to call for the withdrawal
of French troops from Ivory Coast and for a political solution in Africa.
* * * Peace in Ivory Coast, freedom for Africa!
Two years of civil war brewing, the French Army intervenes, then riots in
Abidjan against the French occupation... What is happening in Ivory Coast? Once
again, are France's hands clean?
"Françafrique": this is the name of the mafioso system by which the French
leading class has kept bonds of vassalage with French-speaking African heads of
State against the interests of the people. With the disorder in Ivory Coast,
the entire structure of this "Françafrique" is wavering. When, on 19th
September 2002, a rebellion broke out in this country against the corrupt and
xenophobic Laurent Gbagbo, the French forces "pre-positioned" in the country
were immediately mobilized (Operation Licorne) to stop the rebellion before it
could seize the economic capital, Abidjan. The Élysée then started a dangerous
balancing act. On the one hand, it was a question of showing other countries
that France would not abandon a friendly government. On the other hand, it had
to avoid getting stuck in another mudpit like Rwanda, where in 1994 France
supported the regime which was responsible for the genocide of Tutsis - which
everyone now knows, except in France apparently.

But by freezing the front over the last two years, without choosing a side, the
French State has annoyed everyone: the rebels deprived of their victory, and
the spiteful regime that France "allied" did not crush the rebellion outright.

The cause of the war: the law of blood

The drama of the Ivory Coast lies in Article 35, recently added to the
Constitution and inspired by the notion of "blood-right", which stipulates that
any candidate for the presidential election "must be an Ivorian with Ivorian
parents". The purpose of this political chicanery was designed, in 1994, to
eliminate Alassane Ouattara from the race as presidential candidate as he did
not meet this criterion. But the question became impassioned in a country which
has many children of immigrants. How did the situation develop? Ten years of
quarrels and theorization about "Ivorianness", during which the ethnicisation
of the political life of the Ivory Coast grew, until it reached today's
paroxysms. Gbagbo, elected in 2000, proceeded along the same xenophobic lines,
and the rebellion became rooted mainly in the marginalisation of Ivorians of
"doubtful" origin, the children of immigrant parents, or simply Muslims.

Peace accord buried

As of January 2003, a peace accord was signed in Marcoussis (Essonne) under the
aegis of France. But the Gbagbo regime did everything it could to stll on the
enforcement of the agreements (in particular, by not deleting the infamous
Article 35), and made the most of these almost two years of truce in order to
rearm, to encourage an outburst of nationalism, and to bloodily repress any
legal opposition. Then, on 25th March 2004, the police in Abidjan opened fire
on a "large, peaceful march", the participants in which were demanding
implementation of the Marcoussis accord: between 350 and 500 died, according to
the opposition.

Western troops out of Africa!

All this led to the recommencement of hostilities and the accidental
bombardment of the French quarter on 8th November. The response sparked off
popular fury, involving the evacuation of the country's white minority amid the
well-publicized chaos.

Whatever the final result of the Ivory Coast tragedy, we are led to observe

1. By sinking into nationalist madness and the exaltation of "Ivorianness", the
Ivorian political class is responsibile for the civil war.

2. The French State, however, by guaranteeing the impunity of vassal heads of
State in Africa, implicitly encourages their hateful politicies, both in the
cases of Rwanda and in Ivory Coast.

3. This is why, though the French Army is today "saving lives" by evacuating
the threatened Whites, its continued presence in Africa is a constant danger to
the people.

4. A return to peace is a priority, as is returning control of their destiny to
Africans. The French Army must withdraw. If the peace agreements are to be
enforced, let it be the work of the African Union, but without any illusions
regarding the disinterest of its member States.

5. A political solution will necessarily involve the emergence of an
anti-racist and anti-colonialist social movement, against the xenophobic
politicians and French and US imperialism.


Translation by nmcn/ainfos


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