Adieu Vishwa

Il a été probablement, dans une autre vie, photographe dépeignant la vie sociale et politique de son pays. Mais dans sa vie réelle telle que je l’ai connu, Vishwa Mootoocurpen a toujours gardé sa verve, sa force et sa vigueur jusqu’au dernier moment dans son espace de vie à l’écriture.

Quelques jours avant de nous quitter, il me disait, sur son lit d’hôpital qu’il ne concevait la vie qu’en jouant avec les mots et en actualisant le verbe pour ses articles de presse. Pour cela, il s’est imposé un rythme que lui seul connaissait.

Pour Vishwa, il n’y avait pas de retraite et il me disait qu’il puisait ses forces dans ses prières, dans ses interminables journées de carême et dans son attachement au Dieu suprême.

Pendant plus de vingt-sept ans, je l’ai côtoyé, semaine après semaine, et pendant tout ce temps au cours duquel, nous avons travaillé ensemble, j’ai connu très peu de personnes dont l’amitié a été plus attentive, la chaleur plus présente, le dévouement plus vigilant.

Nous étions aussi quelques-uns au Mauricien, à connaître son secret et tout ce que cachait sa générosité, son caractère d’homme d’expression, ses éclats de rire, et sa profondeur de la connaissance du patrimoine culturel et son respect des traditions.

À chaque instant de la vie, quand nous nous sommes rencontrés, il me parlait de lecture, de livres, de magazines. Il me rappelait le temps où nous avions l’habitude d’acheter des livres et des journaux étrangers comme le Monde Diplomatique et The Guardian, et nous nous en inspirions pour organiser notre espace professionnel, intellectuel et affectif.

Aujourd’hui, à l’instant de sa disparition, cette amitié que Vishwa a nouée avec tous ceux qui l’ont côtoyé, restera toujours présente dans nos souvenirs. À sa veuve et à ses deux enfants, je tiens à leur présenter ma plus profonde sympathie.


* * *

Stop this China bashing!

We were stunned not to say flabbergasted to hear last week a member of the Opposition castigating Chinese workers and dubbing them as ‘prisoners’. Such an allegation is false, malicious and vexatious.

For God’s sake, an Opposition is also expected to make constructive proposals. The modern society and state that is emerging in Mauritius will bear the indelible imprint of China’s as well as some other friendly countries’ imprint. Architectural jewels like hospitals, stadium, bridges, airport, road network mushrooming all over have benefited from the financial and technical assistance of China thanks to the long-standing friendship between our two countries as envisioned by SSR.

Chinese workers are peace-loving and law-abiding. They have left behind their wives and children to come and contribute to the development of Mauritius often in truly terrible conditions. Unlike their European counterparts, they need only their bowl of rice and their chopsticks to survive and work. ‘They are not to be seen but they are everywhere,’ commented an Egyptian shopkeeper in Cairo. On Sundays while we Mauritians head for a picnic at the seaside, the Chinese workers are seen toiling under the scorching sun, far away from their homeland. For them, there is no such thing as a ‘lundi cordonnier’.

The Chinese migrant workers were the first to step on the streets of devastated Port Louis to clear away the mess and come to rescue of the victims of the March flash flood. Again they were the first volunteers to intervene to disentangle the victims from the mass of distorted metals of the bus on the motorway at Soreze. All this seems to be ignored by some.

There is too much of China-bashing in this country. We have yet to forget the similar anti-Chinese campaign conducted in some quarters against Chinese women workers in the textile industry, who were labelled as call girls. Some people seem to forget that the economic miracle has been made possible thanks to the contribution of the Chinese female workers in this sector. Enough is enough!

Philip Li Ching Hum
Beau Bassin

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Et Tu Brute

Being intellectually limited, it’s difficult for me to understand the politics of politics, but nevertheless I will say ‘Et tu brute’.

Anyway, the higher you climb, the higher you fall and maybe it might serve as a lesson to others, for nothing is everlasting on this planet. There is always an end to everything.

Mona. R. Babajee
Port Louis

* * *

« Les prêtres font part de leur inquiétude »

This is the title of a recent press release about the total, absolutely irretrievable, mess that the country is now in. This precious stone set in the silver sea, this other Eden, demi-paradise, that God in his wisdom created even before creating Paradise Proper, is now in the full throes of the worst kind of papadocracy ever seen on the face of this earth. The rule of law has become a distant dream. Ministers and their relatives and friends will do what they want and commit such crimes as they choose with impunity, and pile wrong upon wrong in the management of the institutions and corporations of this country. The MSPCA is livid with rage as one Minister has dared equate animals to some journalists. The dear creatures are themselves very upset about this totally undeserved charge. The above title says it all.

But lose not ye all hope, ye hapless citizens of this now God-forsaken country. Help is at hand. Seven valiant Roman Catholic priests of lower Plaine Wilhems have, in an unimitable patriotic zeal, thrown all caution to the wind and taken up arms from the pulpit and through the media with the firm intention to do battle with Satan and clean up this country for good. But as to be expected, not everybody sees their action in the same light. Every society has its share of sycophants and “rodeurs boutes”.

Some people are wondering what continent, indeed what world, do these our seven priests live in! They are surprised that, because of their exhortations, crowds are flocking to travel agencies to reserve their seats for emigration. We are having a repeat of the sixties, except that this time the movement is towards Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Zimbabwe and other similar countries with model democracies and systems of justice. All in the name of the Gospel.

But then, aren’t they forgetting that in all other countries of the region, Ministers are sacked every day as soon as the least charge of authoritarianism is levelled against them by any anonymous citizen. Prime Ministers and Presidents do not wait for prima facie cases to be established.

In no country of the region, or indeed of the rest of the world, with the single exception of Mauritius, are there cases of Ponzi schemes and other cases of massive theft and fraud and similar cases of abuse of trust that we have been seeing in this gem of our Island lately. But then also, one is tempted to ask, are there other countries in the region where so much free money is floating around? Where does this money come from?

We are living in a State the likes of which we thought had disappeared with the demise of Papa Doc in Haiti , where the Police could arrest anybody they wanted on the least suspicion of dissent from the regime’s views on any subject, or indeed because somebody in authority developed a fancy for a citizen’s wife and the chap had not actively cooperated in securing her consent. We are all trembling with fear.

Our Indomitable Seven are determined, on second thoughts, to send our Prime Minister, President, Leader of Opposition and Chief Justice all back to school to relearn the essentials of democracy and the rule of law. The idea of putting all behind bars has been put into abeyance for the time being.

However, regarding one point raised by the “priests” one feels bound to raise an eyebrow ever so little. Our national media, including Mauritius Times, thoroughly deserve to be congratulated for having maintained radio silence about the furore that has been raging in the media around the world about the involvement of a certain church in the massive paedophilia activities in almost every country of the world. The Marines believe that Mauritius is the only exception – they are certainly welcome to their beliefs. But isn’t it a little ironical that the subject should be raised by “priests” here?

P.A. Ram
Belle Rose

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