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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #285 - Chronicle: Echo d'Afrique, "Tackling Symbols of Colonialism" (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Mon, 3 Sep 2018 09:27:08 +0300

200 years ago, June 3, 1818, Louis Faidherbe was born in Lille. He would become a widely honored soldier, and a seasoned colonialist. Some even call him " the father of French imperialism ". On the occasion of the bicentennial of his birth, a Lille collective decides to lead a campaign entitled " Faidherbe must fall ". ---- The argument of the collective is effective: " Why tackle Louis Faidherbe today ? For one simple reason: because the monuments, buildings and streets that pay homage to him, celebrate - without always saying so openly - the colonial project to which he has dedicated his life. If man Faidherbe undeniably belongs to the past, his ideals still pollute our present. The perpetual celebration imposed on us by these statues and streets proves that colonial ideology remains alive and well. "

In Senegal, and particularly in Saint Louis, where Faidherbe ruled, the general is in the spotlight: a bridge and a square bear his name, as well as a statue bearing the inscription " grateful Senegal ".

These symbols are particularly cringe teeth of those, more and more thanks to the actions of sensitization on social networks, who know with what violence he imposed colonial domination on their ancestors. There is a worldwide movement aimed at many symbols of slavery or colonialism in South Africa, USA, Canada, Spain as well as in the French overseas territories. The statues of Gandhi, an apostle of non-violence, Cecil Rhodes, Leopold II, Horatio Nelson, among others, are strongly contested. Just recently, in Barcelona, the statue of Antonio López, a businessman who was enriched by the slave trade, was withdrawn.

In France, the symbols of colonialism are still numerous, witnesses of a past of which many are still nostalgic. The problem is also that these symbols help to validate an embellished narrative of an adventuresque colonization, with its heroes, its builders, its visionaries ... the memory of the settlers in short. The French generally do not know who were the Faidherbe, Bugeaud, Lyautey, etc., and we are often indifferent to the names of the streets that surround us.

But the consensual celebration of these criminals is an insult to the people they have martyred and a daily spitting in the face of their descendants. Of course, these symbols will only fall if people mobilize against them.

For Khadim Ndiaye, of the Senegalese Collective against the celebration of Faidherbe: " The time has come to listen to the voice of these organizations and movements of citizens who, all over the world, dispute a certain conception of history that gives pride of place tormentors, racists, actors of colonization and engraved in the stone or bronze controversial historical figures. "

Christmas Surge (AL Carcassonne)

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