Of Level Playing Field, Family Search & Colonized Minds

Readers’ Response/Opinion

Level playing field

I’ve cast a quick first glance, a few days ago, at the online edition of Mauritius Times devoted to our 50th Independence anniversary. I must congratulate you on succeeding to gather such a rich array of views on the half century of our country’s Independence.

Having grown up in a rural setting in the 1950s — with no running water or electricity (what my brother-in-law calls “les années noires”) — when the little people had only their despair for company, with not a single ray of light penetrating their tenebrous lives, I am left in no doubt that we have achieved a lot in the last 50 years. But we still have so much more to accomplish; and so much more we could have accomplished if only the playing fields were made more level.

For the next 50 years, my greatest wish is for a national debate on making this possible. E.g. we don’t have to go for a Mugabe-style land grab for the masses, but access to our own “do bigha zamin”, if only figuratively speaking, would be vital for food self-sufficiency which is going to be the challenge of next half-century, as world production diminishes due to climatic changes.

Quatre Bornes

 * * *

Family search for Brush-Creed

You would surely remember I have been trying to find information regarding my Mauritian ancestors and was wondering if any of your readers might be descendants of either family name and possess any pertinent facts.

I mentioned earlier that my grandmother was one of six sisters. She was born Jessie Blanche Brush on 12th March 1887. Her parents were Charles Edward Brush, born about 1853 on Mauritius, who was a government official, with the railways, and Louisa Creed, born about 1852 in England. Charles and Louisa were married on 21 February 1880.

The excellent Mauritius genealogy site does list the births of my grandmother’s sisters together with births, marriages and deaths of other Brush and Creed individuals.

I suspect that Louisa’s parents were Thomas and Sarah Creed, who allegedly died of cholera. There is a Sarah Creed listed as being buried on Flat Island, which I know to have been a quarantine station for only cholera. It appears, unfortunately, that her date of burial was indecipherable. Also a T. Creed listed as the lighthouse keeper on Flat Island in 1855.

Further to your kind placing of my letter in your newspaper (15 Sep 2017), I have had one reply from a lady in Australia whose ancestor, Thomas Creed, was born on Mauritius about 1855 and sailed to Australia in 1875. He may well be the brother of the Louisa that I am looking for. He returned to Mauritius in 1900 and had a child, John Leslie Creed, in 1902.

I have also heard from the Civil Status Office in Mauritius who has informed me that parents names were not given as all the persons were minor.

I thank you for your interest, and wish your newspaper every success for the future.

Fred Sedgwick
Newcastle upon Tyne
United Kingdom

 * * *

Nothing learned from colonization

I read an interesting article in the online edition of your paper (‘Après moi, moi’) and added a comment. I will be visiting my country of birth this month. I believe I have read enough about the political situation in the Mauritian papers to know things have not evolved much, if any, in 50 years.

I started to review my book, ‘La Couleur du Communalisme’, published in 1997 by Editions Le Printemps, and realize it has remained a country about arrogance versus stupidity, ‘faiseur d’esprit’ instead of humility, ‘crazere disef’ instead of honesty…

In a sense, political behaviour is a reflection of Mauritian voters, which defies common sense. I have written, over the years, quite a bit about the wound and scar of colonization. Sadly, the colonized have not learned much about the positive aspects in term of law, fairness, open-mindedness, acceptance of objective criticisms. Instead, Mauritians have developed a gene of selfishness: me, me, me, and me, tit for tat, I am Tarzan, and ‘crazere disef’.

I have travelled quite a bit in Africa and I have to say unhesitatingly there are very few countries that come fairly close to resembling the positive aspects of their conquerors.

Dr MH Rajabally
Kelowna, British Columbia

* * *

 An open letter to my fellow countrymen

Dearest compatriot

Your father wants you to make billions, or perhaps just a land, a house and a loving family of your own?

Your father is a member of the 1970-ish generation. The generation who’s known the pain of not having enough: enough food, clothes, a comfortable home that does not leak during heavy rain falls. So your father was brought up with the principle of working hard for more. In the beginning, it was for their basic needs; but later it became part of their motto in life: more and more and more, and here we are! Nature is suffering and the community is falling apart and his children are suffering. I don’t even want to imagine what will be the fate of his grandchildren?

Ah! Sure, some of you will be of the generation that leaves Mauritius for greener pastures.

In case you haven’t noticed, in those richer countries, the environmental situation has improved, I won’t say exceptionally, but just improved. The most obvious environmental indicator, particularly air pollution, has been cut by more than a half since 1955. Rivers and coastal waters are cleaner and forests are increasing.

Why not strive to do the same here? In our beautiful, paradise-island, the land that was created first and then heaven was copied upon it?

Why can’t we no longer find suitable space in the north of the island to breath, relax, take a swim in the lagoon? It seems the only way to do so is to find a ‘canal-dilo’ or travel to the south. Ah haven’t you heard? The south is threatened with the same fate as the north; our loving government and its private collaborators call it “sustainable-development”! I dare anyone come forward and demonstrate how anything is sustainable in Mauritius?

Open your eyes to the thousand of lies: it’s sad to see nature treated as a mere commodity. The private firms that created such concepts as the events ‘by nature’ are the private firms investing heavily in making our beaches a concrete jungle. I even hear they want to start with the mountains now.

Progress, my dear fellow countrymen, also means peace of mind and that intimate connection with Mother Earth and all that she wants to provide us with. She feels us, and she gifts us incredibly; let’s not waste that.

Use the bin – for a start.

Arveen Mogun


* Published in print edition on 20 April 2018

An Appeal

Dear Reader

65 years ago Mauritius Times was founded with a resolve to fight for justice and fairness and the advancement of the public good. It has never deviated from this principle no matter how daunting the challenges and how costly the price it has had to pay at different times of our history.

With print journalism struggling to keep afloat due to falling advertising revenues and the wide availability of free sources of information, it is crucially important for the Mauritius Times to survive and prosper. We can only continue doing it with the support of our readers.

The best way you can support our efforts is to take a subscription or by making a recurring donation through a Standing Order to our non-profit Foundation.
Thank you.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *