Mauritius Times 60 Years ago
2nd Year No 69
Friday – 2nd December1955
• Everyone complains of his memory, no one of his judgment.
— La Rochefoucauld
NMU is visibly upset these days. He wants to review his policy, he wants to adapt it to changing circumstances and he wants to give others his baby to hold because the baby has started kicking.
Those who have been reading NMU for the past four or five years need not be told that his policy has been the ferment of racial discontent. NMU must be the only person who is not aware of it.
NMU has let hell loose and now at the terrific spectacle he stands helpless. This reminds us of the story of a man who could start a motorcycle but could not stop it with the result that frantic with fear he started shouting for a mattress to jump on.
NMU is the man who set ablaze our house to have fun in the glow of leaping flames but now that it’s too hot he is crying: Fire! Fire!
NMU has been sowing the wind and he wants others to reap the whirlwind. Who will?
And he has been sowing racial wild oats right and left. Who will hold this baby?
* * *
As a man conscious of his guilt, NMU is searching his conscience. He began his soliloquy on the 11th of November – a significant day for somebody haunted by bloodshed. Here is how the Hamlet of Mallefille Street lets himself go: “Le Cernéen se doit de justifier de temps en temps ses intentions politiques… nous allons mener campagne, avec un zèle accru, pour l’union des minorités, particulièrement des minorités du groupe chrétien. »
Evidently NMU has climbed down from his ideal of a league of minorities by bringing in the Christian element. If NMU wants sincerely to preach unity or brotherhood we don’t see why he should insist on winning over specially people of western culture – “enfants de notre pays nourris du lait de la civilisation occidentale.” Does he forget that there are even Chrisitans in our country who have not sucked the breast of western civilisation?
If NMU can gather men from Roche Bois, Rose Hill and Curepipe round his table he will indeed be a saint. Why not a saviour? And we think such a soul will not find it hard to sweep his countrymen off their feet from Cap Malheureux to Maconde. But will NMU appeal to the masses? Oh, no! His security lies in leagues. All sorts of leagues, not forgetting his pet FCC (Fédération des Consommateurs et des Contribuables).
But NMU is careful enough not to leave Muslims, non-communists Chinese and even some Indians completely out of the picture. He has promised to deal with these cas particuliers later on. For the moment he has told us: “Nous avons quelques amis hindous dont nous estimons grandement l’intelligence, la pondération et le courage.” Are we witnessing the dawn of a new era?
* * *
We spoke too soon, it seems. Brother NMU has dropped his smile to show his teeth: the wolf has shed his sheepskin. He is waging war against hatred and rabble-rousers. What a paradox! What an irony of fate!
“Entre les hommes, il est bien plus facile de développer la haine que l’amour,” says NMU – who ought to know. And to lay the blame at the door of others, he writes : « Depuis quelques années, les agitateurs enseignent la haine au peuple mauricien… Cette haine a été répandue par la multiplication systématique des meetings publics, grande et petits, inconsidérément tolérée. »
It looks as if NMU were advertising for somebody to muzzle rankling politicians. But he pretends to ignore the power of the press which delivers its goods as regularly as the baker or the milkman. It is not for us to tell NMU why people are turning sour like their indigestion.
NMU is certainly more perplexed today than ever because he found Mauritius divided in two camps recently: white and non-white. That is not the kind of division he wants. How can he then relish it? How can he stand with a handful before a multitude?
So why not change tactics? And he is blaming the high authorities now. NMU has reminded His Excellency of his responsibility and has concluded: “We are ready to believe that Sir Robert Scott possesses under the velvet glove which he has invariably displayed until now, the iron hand which alone could save us from anarchy.”
The velvet glove and the iron hand are new things. But NMU’s old poisonous pen does not need any introduction. The contempt, hatred and ridicule that NMU has been spreading in his career of a militant journalist will go down in history whether NMU likes it or not. Who will not treasure jewels like “Le Désir de s’élever” fashioned in his precious mind? How can such artistic creations fail to command the attention of generations to come?
No matter what he says today, NMU will have to pay for his sin. And so, let him keep his baby together with his pet FCC.