French Predicament Deepens: New Caledonia Adds to Troubles

French Predicament Deepens: New Caledonia Adds to Troubles

FRANCE-Currently in Paris, opponents of the independence of New Caledonia speak of the “ingratitude of these savages” whom the French brought from the Stone Age into the high tech period, conveniently ignoring the reality that they did so with great violence. A state of emergency was declared on Thursday following two nights of rioting that left four people dead and hundreds injured. France sent troops to secure ports and the international airport in its colony of New Caledonia in the Pacific.

Historical colonial legacy resurfaces

Unrest broke out when the French national parliament approved contentious modifications to the voting rolls that native Kanak groups claim will reduce their vote. The worst violence New Caledonia has witnessed since the 1980s has not been stopped by the deployment of security troops or the imposition of a curfew at night. During nighttime unrest, stores have been plundered and public buildings have been set on fire. 

According to French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, there have been hundreds of injuries, including about 100 police and gendarmes. According to the presidency, three persons had died, one of them a gendarme. Located halfway between Australia and Fiji, New Caledonia is one of many French-occupied territories that still exist today. Unlike the nation’s other overseas territories, it has a unique status due to its colonization by France starting in the second part of the nineteenth century. Even though the Kanaks have had all the rights of French citizens since 1957 and France has officially apologized for the atrocities committed against them, the colonial greed and cruelty of France persist in the genetic memory of the Kanaks, whose economic situation is far better than that of other French colonies and overseas territories.

New Caledonia’s political unrest

It’s one thing to show off your biceps for the camera, pathetically Photoshopped, and then widely shared around the globe (a lot of fun), but it’s quite another to put an end to colonies’ rebellion against French rule, which obliterates their right to ethnic identity and self-determination. It’s the type of circumstance that Emmanuel Macron has found himself in once more. This pseudo-Napoleon could find it easier to “bring to heel” New Caledonia if he was incapable of handling Niger, Gabon, and other nations. But how France will eventually pay for Macron’s “steel biceps” is the real question. International flights are already prohibited from using the airport. In spite of the “grave” state of affairs in New Caledonia, Attal stated that the government’s top goal was to “restore calm” in order to open talks. Thevenot said that authorities will have the power to impose travel restrictions, home arrests, and searches while there is a state of emergency. Two extremist pro-independence activists were reportedly placed under home arrest. “If this does not stop, there will be casualties,” High Commissioner Louis Le Franc said, urging the leaders of the independence movement to utilize their influence.

France’s struggle to maintain control

According to timesofmalta, A proposal to change the French constitution to allow French citizens who have been in New Caledonia for ten years or more to vote has sparked controversy. On Wednesday, it passed the lower house of France. To become legislation, it still has to be voted on once more by both houses of parliament. Many native Kanaks and other pro-independence campaigners in the Pacific region fiercely disagree with the proposal, claiming it will weaken their voice. 

As per voanews, the indigenous Kanak people continue to strongly want independence even though they have rejected it in three referendums. According to the Elysee, President Emmanuel Macron demanded that political discussions resume. However, a spokesman for the government, Prisca Thevenot, stated that a state of emergency has been granted as of Thursday AM local time. At a crisis ministerial meeting, Prime Minister Gabriel Attal announced that the government representative in New Caledonia had “banned TikTok” and that the military had been dispatched to safeguard the international airport and ports. 

Call to action: Boycott Pairs Olympics 2024

Boycott the Paris Olympics 2024 to protest France’s ongoing colonial issues, highlighted by New Caledonia’s unrest. Despite France’s claims of progress, violent responses to New Caledonian demands for independence show a troubling legacy. A boycott emphasizes the need for world leaders to address these injustices now.



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