To Our Readers
Your views are of interest to us. They help us balance the argument in the correct perspective. We welcome you to draw our attention to anything or opinion expressed in the Mauritius Times (or any national or international event of interest) with which you agree from your own angle or disagree due to a different appreciation of facts.
We will gratefully receive your communications at the email address:
We may decide to publish your comments or the relevant parts thereof if we consider that they will help our readers better understand specific contexts and maintain MT as the foremost and most balanced analytical newspaper of the country.
Chers dirigeants africains, changez de fréquentations !
Autant le dire clairement : les plus pervers des cyniques auraient du mal à nous faire douter de la sincérité des hommages qui saluent la mémoire de Philippe Séguin, depuis l’annonce, ce jeudi 7 janvier, de la disparition de l’homme d’Etat français.
A quelques banales exceptions près, la classe politique, la société civile, les citoyens ordinaires, chacun est allé de ses louanges à un homme qui, paradoxalement, a passé sa vie, non pas à chercher à plaire, mais à rester lui-même, fidèle à ses convictions, à ce que l’actuel président de l’Assemblée nationale appelle « un parcours politique exemplaire de rigueur et d’honnêteté ».
Ces torrents d’émotion n’ont rien à voir avec les larmes de crocodiles et autres concours d’hypocrisie qui saluent d’ordinaire les disparus que l’on n’a aucune envie particulière de pleurer. Il est rassurant, pour la classe politique française, qu’elle ait, de temps à autre, un Philippe Séguin à pleurer sincèrement, alors que d’autres célébrités politiques finissent devant les tribunaux.
Comment a-t-on été utile à son peuple ?
Sans doute savez-vous qu’en Afrique francophone, la vie politique française est souvent source d’inspiration pour ceux qui sont au pouvoir ou cherchent à y parvenir. Vous savez aussi que les soi-disant grandes familles au pouvoir en Afrique comptent beaucoup d’amis au sein de la classe politique française.
Mais, en y regardant de près, l’on s’aperçoit que le profil des amis en question est aux antipodes d’un Philippe Séguin. Les amis politiques français des dirigeants africains sont, en général, plutôt de ceux que traquent les juges, souvent, d’ailleurs, pour des exploits en rapport avec les bonnes affaires qu’ils font sur le continent noir. Fort heureusement, il reste encore quelques Philippe Séguin dans la classe politique française, et l’on a envie de supplier les dirigeants africains de changer de fréquentations.
La vie, un jour, s’arrête, comme vient de s’achever celle de Philippe Séguin, à seulement 66 ans. Le débat, alors, ne porte pas – ne porte plus – sur les milliards placés dans les paradis fiscaux, les résidences luxueuses disséminées aux quatre coins du monde, les voitures de sports et autres grosses cylindrées collectionnées. Le débat, comme aujourd’hui pour Séguin, se ramène à comment on a été utile à son peuple. A ce moment-là, il vaut mieux s’appeler Séguin plutôt que… Il vaut mieux, il est vrai, s’appeler Lumumba plutôt que Mobutu.
Action for Change
— Dr David B. Lingiah
In December 2009 I received an invitation to attend a study circle to be held in January 2010 with the above title. The invitation carried some quotations from Sathya Sai Saba. This set my mind to work, resulting in these reflections that I wish to share with you.
The words grace, karma, destiny, fate were among the quotes. “Destiny is written on our brow and it is written by our own hand, and that the same hand can also wipe it out.”
I thought that this was very good; we are not condemned by our karma, destiny or fate as we are often being told by some. We can do something about it; we have control; it is within our power to change our circumstances. It lies with us and not with anyone else.
So, why don’t we do something to change things we don’t like? Is it because we think others will do it for us? Others will do it to suit their own needs not our particular situations.
This reminds me of famous words by Reinhold Niebuhr in the Serenity prayer. The “courage to change the things I can,” is already in our own hands. The courage to change ourselves, the whole world is in our own hands if only we are prepared to use them when it is really necessary to stand up and be counted in the face of all odds.
The man whose hands were nailed to the cross brought drastic changes to people’s lives the world over. Those who used their hands to nail Him down did not even realise the power they had at the cross. It was too late when they did realise what they had done. The very hands that were nailed to the cross had healed the deaf, given sight to the blind, made the lame walk, and raised the dead. He was crucified to suit the needs of some; He was proving to be a thorn in their flesh. He did not flinch; He had the courage to face the situation head on and therein dwells the secret of His power.
Remember young David and his catapult. When Goliath challenged David’s people everyone froze with fear. All he had in his hands were a few stones and his catapult, and yet David had the courage to stand against the challenger. He succeeded where others had given up. He used what he had to bring changes, improvement, comfort, freedom, salvation to the lives of others. Only when the odds are stacked against us, the men and women of influence and courage are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice in the service of mankind. Shouting, marching, demonstration are not the solution. These may bring short-term changes arising from fear and destruction but not long-lasting benefits to the majority.
We must not be constrained or limited by our current circumstances. In fact, turn them to your advantage. This may even benefit others as well. Look at Olivia Giles for instance. In an interview to The Sunday Times (27 Dec 09), she said: “No limbs but I’m the truly lucky one.” Eight years ago, following a blood poisoning which resulted in gangrene of her limbs, Giles, aged 36, was left in coma and near to death. She had an emergency quadruple amputation of both arms and legs below the elbows and knees to stop the meningococcal septicaemia infection from spreading. This former lawyer, now aged 44, with no hands and no feet but fully rehabilitated and fitted with a pair of prosthetic metal legs, is now a charity worker supporting amputees in southern Africa.
This courageous Scottish woman’s experience of having no hands and feet has turned her disabilities into strength to support others. The care she received herself has “highlighted for her just how different the situation is for amputees in countries where they are not only disadvantaged by poverty but also severely stigmatised.” Yes, no hands, no feet yet courageous. Olivia Giles’ remark is worth contemplating upon: “I’m lucky to have what I have, rather than feeling that something’s been taken away from me.” What an amazing spirit! Today she is changing the lives of others, improving their quality of life, with renewed hope and freedom. Whatever happens happens for a reason.
The very hands that were nailed to the cross move in mysterious ways to influence the lives of many in different situations and circumstances. We only have to change our thoughts to change our behaviour; this simple action can result in major changes that will surprise not only yourself but many from far and near. The study circle’s invitation has already achieved its objectives in me. Be fearless and challenge yourself.
Candidats père et fils
J’ai lu avec énormément d’intérêt l’article de votre collaborateur LEX concernant une éventuelle participation de l’ancien président Cassam Uteem aux prochaines élections sur une liste où se retrouverait également son fils Mohammad.
Il me semble qu’il n’y a rien de nouveau dans la mesure où Abdool Razack Mohamed et son fils Yousouf étaient tous deux candidats de l’alliance Parti travailliste-CAM aux élections de 1976. Il y eut ensuite le tandem Sir Satcam et Arvind Boolell et celui de Sir Gaëtan et Xavier Duval aux élections de 1987 et 1991 avant que Sir Anerood Jugnauth ne se retrouve sur la même liste que son fils Pravind au scrutin de 2000.
The question is not about Cassam Uteem and his son standing as candidates together in the same election in neighbouring constituencies. It has rather to do with whether a past President of the Republic, who was a very active and partisan politician before taking up the post of President, can go back to partisan politics again after the constitutional term of office is over. This specially given that we are operating in the Westminster set-up, with the President being the representative of the Nation par excellence. There is equally the fact that a past President of the Republic is entitled to the same pension (equal to his last pay) and other perks which would accrue to a serving President. If this is acceptable to Renaud Marie, good for him. I consider it to be politically indecent.
As for the issue of father and son standing as candidates in the same election, my opinion is that that fact that a matter has been practised in the past does provide justification for it to continue ad vitam aeternam. If the MMM is happy with both Cassam Uteem and his son standing as candidates, as it has been mentioned, then again good for the MMM and Renaud Marie if such is acceptable to their political culture.