Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Ivory Coast

The fraying of any truce between militants and government forces is increasing anti-French sentiment in the African country. The taking of the city of Gohitafla by militants led over 200, pro-government protestors to the French embassy in Abidjan on Monday. They believed that the French forces were complicit in the rebels' actions (as has been publicly declared, in the past, by the wife of the current Ivorian president, Simone Gbagbo), and the demonstrators burnt tires in front of the embassy and vented their anger on several French motorists, whose cars were stoned. French schools in Abidjan were closed today out of fear of further anti-French reprisals.

Approximately 4,000 French troops are currently present in the Ivory Coast.


Anonymous said...

-Why do they hate us(the french)?
-What Chirak knew and when ?
-Chirak lied, the french died!
-We are all ivorian!
-We are all un-ivorian!
feel free to continue...


Anonymous said...

M. Chirac! la France doit quitter Côte d'ivoire avant rapatrier des cercueils de soldat francais .
La Paix en Côte d'ivoire !
France go home! But who will take care of the presige ( la grandeur ) , the money , the investment of France in Ivory coast ?
What about asking of more some help from the yankees , M. Chirac ? As you had done.

Anonymous said...

y sont dans la merde! y sont dans la merde! y sont dans la merde!

C'mon Vanuatu, throw a tantrum at the UN and get the Security Council to meet NOW!SOMEBODY has to move on that.

Anonymous said...

La France est en Cote d'Ivoire sous mandat des Nations Unies. Je ne pense pas qu'elle puisse retirer ses soldats de facons unilaterale.

De toutes facons, un retrait francais equivaudrait a un bain de sang type Rwanda ou Sierra Leone

Douglas said...

There's a lot more going on in IC than meets the eye.

Stoning cars and closing schools is no bid news... at least not compared to what I'm afraid might be about to go down over there. The Gbagbo people are clearly evil, attempting to foment civil unrest and exploit it for cheap political gain. Let's hope this doesn't cost too many lives.

There isn't simply anti-French sentimet but what appears to be planning if wide scale violence for strategic reasons.

It's no joke.

Douglas said...

Eh! Dis donc, M. Anonyme, la présence des forces américaines a également été reconnue par l'ONU. (Et le Conseil de Sécurité de l'ONU, la France y comprise, vient de donner son aval à une présence prolongée des forces américaines en Irak.

Qu'est-ce que ça donnerait à votre avis s'ils étaient à se retirer?

Jonathan said...

You're right Douglas that Gbagbo is adept at scape-goating the French for the Ivory Coast's problems; however I don't agree with your characterization of Gbagbo as evil. First, Gbagbo is not creating the anti-French sentiment--he and his political followers are merely exploiting resentment that exists not only from colonialism but also from continued French financial and political dominance in that country (think of the former French puppet, Houphouet Boigny, and of the significant and wealthy French community in the Ivory Coast). Furthermore, France and the Ivory Coast have a bilateral defense accord dating back to 1961, according to which the French government (which has stationed its soldiers in the Ivory Coast for decades) was supposed to aid the Ivorian government against foreign aggression. It's not too much of a strech to claim that Liberia's exporting of its mercenaries into the conflict qualifies as foreign intervention. Moreover, Ivory Coast's dependance upon French military support--in addition to a fear of coup d'etats--led it to have a skeletal military. That has made it only easier for rebels to threaten the central government. My point is that Gbagbo and the Ivorians have good reason to be upset with the French government.

Douglas said...

I accept your argument, Jonathan. I should have written, "there's a lot more here than meets the eye. The Gbagbo regime is clearly nefarious and other elements are seeking to provoke bloody unrest in order to exploit it."

Be that as it may, I remember that the conditions in which Gbagbo came to power in 2000 were more than a little sulfurous. In a crude and obvious maneuver, the list of candidates was reduced to Gbagbo and his friends. Shortly after the election, 50 supporters of his erstwhile opponent Alassane Ouattara were found shot dead outside Abidjan. Now we learn that his lieutenants have "disappeared" a Western reporter and Gbagbo is actively encouraging hatred of the ones who ostensibly saved his skin... "Evil" might be an overused word but I don't think we'd be wrong in calling Gbagbo a crook and a scoundrel.

Anti-French sentiment has reason to exist all over FrançAfrique, as you've rightly pointed out. But things are decidedly worse here than in most other CFA countries. Admittedly, this is because France has considerably more exposure in this tense and violence-prone region and has made a difficult choice to resolve the conflict.