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The Colonial Pact: How France Sucks the Life out of Africa

Territories occupied by France in various centuries. Map by: Kayac1971 I’m a creator of historical maps. [This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.]

Territories occupied by France in various centuries. Map by: Kayac1971 I’m a creator of historical maps. [This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.]

Source: penniwinkleb.wordpress.com

According to Wikipedia,

In the 19th century, France established a new empire in Africa and Southeast Asia. In this period France’s conquest of an Empire in Africa was dressed up as a moral crusade. In 1886 Jules Ferry declared; “The higher races have a right over the lower races, they have a duty to civilize the inferior races.” Full citizenship rights – assimilation – were offered, although in reality “assimilation was always receding [and] the colonial populations treated like subjects not citizens.” [1]

The same attitude that Europeans in general had towards other races at the time.  France wound up with control of most of West Africa.

Following the First World War, and even more so after the Second World War, anti-colonial movements began to challenge European authority. France unsuccessfully fought bitter wars in Vietnam and Algeria to keep its empire intact, but by the end of the 1960s many of France’s colonies had gained independence. However, some remaining territories – especially islands and archipelagos – were integrated into France as overseas departments and territories.

This sounds good.  But did it really go down this way?

France’s mission civilisatrice left indelible marks on its former territories. Although Francophone African countries acquired statehood and international recognition at independence, they remain the chasse gardée of France.  Contrary to expectations, independence did not really alter the lopsided relations France established with its former colonies. Through a web of connections, links, agreements, and pacts, France succeeded in granting a “dependent independence” that continues to haunt African states.

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The scramble for Africa

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Whether in bustling cities or remote villages, the 1880s and 1890s were years of terrifying upheaval for Africans. Fleet upon fleet of foreign soldiers armed with new weaponry – and a sense of entitlement – descended, seemingly overnight.

In the space of just 20 years, 90 per cent of Africa was brought under European occupation. Europe had captured a continent.

Europe was in the throes of the Industrial Revolution. The advent of the machine was transforming the cities there into the workshop of the world – a workshop in need of raw materials. It was the dawn of industrial-scale production, modern capitalist economies and mass international trade. And in this new industrial era the value of Africa rocketed – not only for its materials and as a strategic trade route, but also as a market for the goods Europe now produced in bulk.

But the scramble for Africa was not just about economics. Colonialism had become the fast-track to political supremacy in Europe. Rival European powers convened in the German capital and in February 1885 signed the Act of Berlin – an agreement to abolish slavery and allow free trade. The act also drew new borders on the map of Africa, awarding territory to each European power – thus legalising the scramble for Africa.

But with the Second World War – which saw the peak of Europe’s dependency on African troops – a powerful genie was released from a bottle – African nationalism. The tipping point came on February 3, 1960, when Harold Macmillan, the British prime minister, gave his ‘wind of change’ speech. Within 10 months, Britain had surrendered two key African territories and France 14. The rate of decolonisation when it arrived was breathtaking.

Seventeen African nations gained their independence in 1960, but the dreams of the independence era were short-lived. Africa … states of independence tells the story of some of those countries – stories of mass exploitation, of the ecstasy of independence and of how – with liberation – a new, covert scramble for resources was born.

Muslim Uyghurs, one of the misunderstood people of China

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info-pictogram1 Uyghur (United) people, an ancient Turkish people accepted Islam in the Tenth century and have made great contributions to Islamic civilization. They have been wrongly portrayed as violent extremists. In actuality, they are seeking justice, independence and peace! Only Allah knows their patience under the suffering inflicted upon them in the last few centuries. May Almighty Allah empower them and return them to their former dignity and respect. Look at the unique design of the minarets in the Masjid of Turpan in Xinjiang province. Surely Allah has power over all affairs and will hear the prayers of the oppressed!!!

Written by Abdullah Hakim Quick

A beautiful sunny day at the old bridge, Bosnia & Herzegovina (IMAGE)

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info-pictogram1 Bosnia and Herzegovina’s declaration of sovereignty in October 1991, was followed by a declaration of independence from the former Yugoslavia on 3 March 1992 after a referendum boycotted by ethnic Serbs. The Bosnian Serbs – supported by neighboring Serbia and Montenegro – responded with armed resistance aimed at partitioning the republic along ethnic lines and joining Serb-held areas to form a “greater Serbia.” In March 1994, Bosniaks and Croats reduced the number of warring factions from three to two by signing an agreement creating a joint Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. On 21 November 1995, in Dayton, Ohio, the warring parties signed a peace agreement that brought to a halt the three years of interethnic civil strife (the final agreement was signed in Paris on 14 December 1995). The Dayton Agreement retained Bosnia and Herzegovina’s international boundaries and created a joint multi-ethnic and democratic government. This national government was charged with conducting foreign, economic, and fiscal policy. Also recognized was a second tier of government comprised of two entities roughly equal in size: the Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska (RS). The Federation and RS governments were charged with overseeing internal functions. In 1995-96, a NATO-led international peacekeeping force (IFOR) of 60,000 troops served in Bosnia to implement and monitor the military aspects of the agreement. IFOR was succeeded by a smaller, NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR) whose mission is to deter renewed hostilities. SFOR remains in place although troop levels were reduced to approximately 12,000 by the close of 2002.
(Source: CIA – The World Factbook)