For whoever wished to know, it was evident that the French mission in Côte d’Ivoire since November 2010 had little to do with the disputed presidential elections.
No, France did not have such lofty aspirations. In Côte d’Ivoire, to employ that awful euphemism for the flagrant invasion and occupation of a country and the overthrow of its government by an aggressor state, the French objective has been nothing but ‘regime change’.
It achieved this so ferociously and viciously by unleashing a raging cascade of violence in Abidjan that at once recreated the bestial kidnapping of Congo’s Patrice Lumumba in 1960 and the 1973 attack and virtual destruction of Salvador Allende’s presidential palace in Santiago, Chile, by Augusto Pinochet’s putschist military.
Hundreds of Ivorians and others were murdered during this brigandage, with one report placing the final casualty tally at 2,300.
On the morrow of its Abidjan rampage on 6 April, the brute seized President Laurent Gbagbo, along with his wife, family and aides, dismissed him from office and turned him over to his very implacable electoral foes for incarceration or worse.
Finally, the brute imposed Alassane Ouattara, its Francophonie acolyte, on the peoples of Côte d’Ivoire as Président de la République
Thankfully, Ivorians have not had long to wait to draw their own conclusions on the character and intent of the brutish terror visited on them in April by the French military.Despite the savagery of its violence, despite its subterfuge, despite its obfuscations and despite its hackneyed rationalisations for these dreadful deeds, France must know that the African people of Côte d’Ivoire and Africans elsewhere in the world regard the presumed successes of its 6 April bombardment of Abidjan as, at best, a Pyrrhic victory.Just as France ultimately found out in 1945, a free Côte d’Ivoire, free of France, will surely occur. In the meantime, a group of Southern countries – headed by South Africa and including Botswana, Cape Verde, India, Jamaica and Bolivia – should visit Côte d’Ivoire and support the process of organising a referendum to determine the competing sovereignties in the country, occasioned by the murderous collapse of the Ivorian state.Côte d’Ivoire, as so presently constituted, can no longer provide security to all its incorporated peoples. Instead, it murders them most horribly.Tragically, Côte d’Ivoire has now joined that dreadful league of states of Africa inaugurated in May 1966 by Nigeria, the haematophagous monster whose raison d’être is to murder Africans most routinely and ritualistically. Enough! Every African life in Côte d’Ivoire is worth much more than the state of Côte d’Ivoire. The peoples, including the hundreds of thousands who have been displaced to neighbouring countries and elsew here, must determine freely and democratically to which post-Côte d’Ivoire successor states they wish to belong.A version of this article first appeared on pambazuka.org. Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe is an independent scholar, speaker and consultant on inclusive state systems and the rights of constituent peoples. His new book, Readings from Reading: Essays on African Politics, Genocide, Literature, will be published later in 2011.
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