Mayotte Département - The Guardian.co.uk

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Mayotte Département - The Guardian.co.uk

Message  crép' le Ven 27 Mar - 13:00

Source : quotidien britanique The Guardian - 26/03/09
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A. Chrisafis du Guardian.co.uk a écrit:It is closer to Mombasa than Paris, its traditional dish is bata-bata manioc eaten with boiled fish, it is 95% Muslim and known for cultivating the sweet-smelling essence ylang ylang. But Mayotte, a tiny Indian ocean island off the east coast of Africa, will this weekend vote on whether to become the 101st department of France.

If the population overwhelmingly votes yes in Sunday's referendum - as expected - the tropical island will become as French as the Dordogne or the Somme. It is already awash with tricolour flags and is eagerly awaiting a visit from Nicolas Sarkozy in May.

But the vote comes amid controversy over the far-flung outposts of France's once great empire. The French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique are still struggling to recover from weeks of strikes over its neo-colonialist economic system which saw violence leave several injured and one person dead.

Sarkozy is planning to travel to Guadeloupe next month to calm tensions that have spread to the French Indian Ocean island of La Réunion and French Guiana, bordering Brazil. More than 10 years after Britain handed back Hong Kong to China and 10 years after Portugual gave up Macao, France is cementing its overseas counties. But Mayotte is a strategic asset in a much broader international power play as France tries to counter Iran's growing influence on the Muslim islands off Africa's east coast.

Mayotte is part of the Comoros archipelago of four islands just off the north coast of Mozambique, with a mixed history of African peoples, Arab and Persian traders and French colonists who arrived in the 19th century. Since independence from France in 1975, the politically unstable Comoros have been dubbed the "coup-coup islands" for their 20 coup d'etats or attempted putsches.

But for more than 30 years Mayotte has stood apart, avoiding the Comoros coups and crushing poverty. At independence in 1975, unlike the other three islands, it voted to remain part of France. It has since been administered by Paris but now wants fully-fledged French status. After Sunday's referendum it will get French education services, unemployment benefits, and family support packages as part of France's social system. Its taxes will also rise and it will have to outlaw polygamy and replace the current Islamic judges in a transfer to French law.

But the other three Comoros islands, along with the African Union, are furious at the likely new French status, calling it an "occupation by a foreign power". The separation of Mayotte from the other three Comoros islands flouts a UN resolution passed in 1960 ruling that during decolonisation all existing boundaries must be respected. The Comoros claim that separating Mayotte from the rest of the archipelago is illegitimate and will make reuniting the four islands impossible.

Mayotte islanders, however, are expecting a yes vote of at least 70% on becoming fully-fledged French.

"For over 50 years we've wanted the same rights as all French people, the same chance of succeeding in life," said Abdoulatifou Aly, Mayotte's centre-right MP in the French national assembly.

"Mayotte is a crossroads of civilisation: western, eastern and African. Not only are we people of colour, we are Muslim and we want a European way of life. It's a mix that couldn't happen anywhere else but Mayotte. We are going to give France its true 'universal vocation'."

Problems remain to be solved. France is already struggling to deal with a wave of illegal immigrants from the other three impoverished Comoros islands, who risk their lives to reach Mayotte by boat despite the growing number of shipwrecks and drownings. Expectant mothers hope to give birth there and young people hope for jobs or a chance to get to mainland France and Europe. The European commission has criticised the dire conditions in Mayotte's French-run immigrant detention centres.

But France is concerned with the strategic importance of bringing Mayotte into its fold. Last month's visit to the Comoros by Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad highlighted the Islamic republic's growing presence on the three islands, building schools and mosques and tightening ties with the current Comoros president, Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed Sambi, who studied in Iran.

Chrysanthus Ayangafac, senior researcher at South African thinktank the Institute for Security Studies, said once France saw Mayotte as an important military base to stop communist expansion in the cold war.

"Now France sees it as a bulwark to Iranian expansion in the area. Keeping a check on Iran is the rationale that France wants to sell to its allies, such as the US," he said. "But French interests are also economic." France is keen to hang on to its special sea zone in the area, controlling rights over fishing and prospective mining.

He said that although the Comoros government and other Africans would initially make loud protests over what they saw as the "neo-colonialism" of Mayotte's new status, the Comoros were also quietly negotiating with France - already their biggest development donor - for concessions.


Dernière édition par crép' le Lun 30 Mar - 9:45, édité 1 fois

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De Crép' au Guardian.co.uk

Message  crép' le Ven 27 Mar - 14:47

crép' a écrit:Good morning,

I’m Mohamed, a French 25-year-old student in Paris, native of Mayotte. I’d like to comment your article about Mayotte March 29 referendum (Angelique Chrisafis, The Guardian, Paris, 03/26/2009, guardian web link).

First, let me tell you how much I appreciate your attention on this historical event and the way you talk about it in the main lines.

About the fact that France is cementing its overseas counties while other countries like China or Portugal give theirs up. To my mind, in the case of France, there's a real will of living together between Paris and its overseas departments. Also a deep respect of our common laws and principles from each side. People overseas want to be fully French citizens. They want to build a better life and a fairer society inside the French Republic. Mayotte shares that with them.

You point out the mixed history of Mayotte. Seen from outside, it is not obvious what is happening in my native island: an east African place with animist traditions (9th century) which Islamic rules tried vainly to totally supplant (12th century) before the arrival of the principles of the French Republic (19th century) which are finally (21st century) being fully applied as we claim it for freedom, justice, stability and prosperity.

Our history with France is since the early days a matter of freedom. At a time the Sultan of Mayotte unable to counter invasions from the other Sultans – each one ruling in a part of the Comoros archipelago – he asks for French protection. That is the way France comes to administer Mayotte, abolishing slavery in that 19th century. Yes, a matter of freedom.

The UN and the African Union seem not to hear the aspiration of the people of Mayotte who want to be free, to live out of political instability, to keep far from religious fundamentalism. But our choice made 150 years ago, is definite: France is our cherished country beyond material benefits, beyond running claims on us and we hope, with EU people and states support. Let the 101st French department be in Mayotte. Wa salam, wa.

Sincerely yours.

Mohamed

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Article du Guardian

Message  Dvd le Ven 24 Avr - 18:18

Pour un journal étranger, je trouve quand même que le sujet est bien traité et a l'air bien maîtrisé donc chapeau Smile parce que c'est pas forcément évident. Et puis, tu leur as permis, si besoin est, d'en savoir un peu plus sur le pourquoi du comment. Ainsi, on ne "subit" plus passivement l'information.

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rahachiri

Message  crép' le Ven 24 Avr - 20:01

Il faut dire que l'article m'a attiré du moment où j'ai vu son accroche trop réductrice.
Mais à ma grande surprise, j'ai vu que la journaliste dans le corps de son papier a traité le sujet de façon pédagogique.

J'ai bien aimé l'allusion au Bata-bata !!! Mais bon, le poisson, jadis bon marché est devenu de plus en plus cher... étant obligé d'être pêché de plus en plus loin...

Concernant le fait de subir l'information, tu as entièrement raison. Les projecteurs sont braqués sur notre cas. Les choses sérieuses ont commencé le 29 mars. Et nous, la jeunesse qui est capable de relayer notre lutte pour 'Mayotte française' ne devons pas faire l'économie des témoignages dans les médias. Il s'agit d'ouvrir le dialogue avec nos concitoyens européens, de leur montrer notre désir d'appartenance à la France et à l'Europe. De leur exprimer notre désir de vouloir vivre avec eux, de partager avec eux un destin commun. Nous sommes de plus en plus nombreux, jeunes et moins jeunes mahorais à avoir fait le pas d'aller découvrir et apprendre des autres pays européens et au-delà. Mettons à contribution nos acquis ! Je connais tes talents linguistiques mais pas seulement geek Alors oeuvrons à la veille ; veillons à l'oeuvre !!!

TSéNA NARIKé HACHIRI
afro

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