Les Enfants des Singes

By Danisha Sornum

44 years after independence, some children of the 47% population who voted against independence are still trying to gain momentum. 44 years have elapsed since we gained our independence, fought for by our stalwarts — Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, Renganaden Seeneevassen, Guy Rozemont and others. There was no bloodshed, but immense sacrifice and determination; a collective vision to give freedom to the people of a nation who had, for more than 200 years, slaved and toiled under the rule of arrogant colonialism.

44 years later, are we a grateful nation or are we a nation plunged into lowliness? Are we happy being a Republic or do we want to revert back to colonialism and slavery? The majority of us, whose parents and grandparents have known pre-independence suffering, are grateful — grateful for having the right to vote; for being free in a democracy. There is, however, a powerful minority, who still think that late Jules Koenig was right when he said that universal suffrage would be equivalent to ‘donner un rasoir à un singe’, referred to by Mr Mahen Napal, who wrote in the Opinion column of L’express, dated 28 February 2012.

Still, we have every reason to be proud for having used the ‘rasoir’ given to us quite intelligently, to sharpen our vision and determination that have laid the foundation for a modern Mauritius in 2012: economically advanced, democratically sound, politically and socially stable. How much more prosperous, stable and strong a nation could we have been had that powerful minority supported the visionary ideology of Ramgoolam and others! Alas, we the rest who believed in independence are still perhaps, in their eyes, nothing more than a servile barbaric crowd.

For Mr Mahen Napal, independence ‘came like a ripe mango’. Did it not cross Mr Napal’s mind that we are a wise enough nation, able to understand that it was much better to pluck a ripe mango rather than let it fall on its own as a spoilt and rotten mango that has to be discarded. We are constantly being told that Chagos was sold to the British in return for our independence. But we are wise enough to understand that Chagos was stolen, not sold — stolen by a diplomatic colonial power. Independence for Mauritius in 1968 or later: Chagos would still have been snatched by the Supreme Powers. We are wise enough 44 years after independence to grasp this basic fact, that Chagos was a lost battle in 1968 for a nation whose colonial umbilical cord was just being cut.

One last point as regards the reference to the ‘singes et rasoirs’. Bénis sommes-nous que nos parents, les ‘singes’, n’aient pas utilisé ces rasoirs pour détruire leur petite poignée de maîtres, comme au Mozambique et d’autres pays meurtris!  

* Published in print edition on 9 March 2012

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