You’re unbelievable. Macron insults Africans’ intelligence

Martin Jay
Martin Jay is an award winning British journalist now based in Beirut who works on a freelance basis for a number of respected British newspapers as well as previously Al Jazeera and Deutsche Welle TV. Before Lebanon, he has worked in Africa and Europe for CNN, Euronews, CNBC, BBC, Sunday Times and Reuters. Follow him on Twitter @MartinRJay
You’re unbelievable. Macron insults Africans’ intelligence
Macron’s Africa policies are beginning to look like his own Heart of Darkness, in particular toward its immigration crisis. Far from being modernist, the French president’s ideas about Africa would make Belgian’s hand-chopping Leopold II blush.

When you first read about France’s Emmanuel Macron losing his temper with students at the University of Ouagadougou, it’s hard to imagine you are not looking at one of those CNN fake news pieces. Can it really be true that a French president can be so arrogant as to tell educated young Africans the Libyan immigration crisis has nothing really to do with Europe and its real core is with local African people in the countries of the fleeing immigrants?

Is France’s president really so stupid? Or is he assuming that young, educated Africans, from former French colonies, are instead? What those students in Burkina Faso were trying to tell Macron is that France and the EU’s policies of blithely pumping aid money into these countries, disregarding the horrific actions of dictators and supporting their wholesale looting of their own countries is the root cause of the mass exodus in the first place.

What they got in return was Macron in his finest Heart of Darkness moment.

Despite appearing at times to be a champagne socialist, coming from France’s elite banking sector and then attending the prestigious ENA school for senior civil servants, Macron’s centrist murky politique seems now to be showing its true colors. In recent weeks he is starting to reveal that, unlike Hollande, his strategy for a long term in office is to tackle immigration head-on, pulling off a double whammy with both voters and the business sector which reportedly had made him a millionaire before he even took public office as economy minister in 2014.

On Wednesday, EU and African Union leaders gather for a summit in the Cote D’Ivoire. But all we can establish of Macron’s ideas about an African crisis via Libya is that he, along with the EU and the German leader Angela Merkel, are all suffering from a blinded dogma which prevents them from admitting that their own policies are the very source of the problems.

Recently, a conference was held in Paris with several EU leaders, plus a coterie of obliging African leaders, who remarkably all agreed on the corrupt policy which is destroying the continent to this day. Libya’s immigration crisis could be dealt with by giving more money to those governments of the countries where the immigrants came from. Incredible.

The draw-dropping arrogance and delusion from Macron, Merkel and its servile EU ally, Federica Mogherini goes like this: “These African countries have to deal with their own problems which are causing these migrants to leave in their thousands using illegal traffickers. They need more money to do this.”

And this is what we can expect at the Africa-EU Summit today. France and the EU telling Africa what it needs to do, despite Macron telling Africa before that he wouldn’t come to Africa and tell Africa what it needs to do.

Macron and EU don’t care about African human rights atrocities

What we are witnessing is a smoke-n-mirrors allusion which is supposed to patronize Africans, while bunging millions to their cruel despots, while fooling fifth rate journalists into buzz-feeding the press release narrative into copy. The 1,200 or so Brussels based journalists will no doubt dutifully write up the EU press release which will call for more “support” from African leaders while mentioning that more money is coming their way. Don’t expect any of the 150 NGOs camped in Brussels who receive EU money – yes, you read correctly – to actually spell out the extent of human rights abuses in countries like Chad, CAR or Sudan.

Rape, torture, imprisonment without trial, execution of political prisoners and slavery are all overlooked by the EU, and Macron, being a staunch supporter, will be the champion of such wholesale bigotry, while failing to see the irony of how Africa got into the mess it is in today from French colonialism. Maybe he doesn’t do irony.

What could he have been thinking when rocks were pelting down onto his limousine which sped away from the madding crowds in Burkina Faso? Or the hand grenade which was lobbed at a French army vehicle shortly before Macron’s arrival in the city? Did he chuckle and tell himself that the people loved him and France? Is Macron that deluded about France’s legacy in the continent, which to this day haunts the Republic?

France has too much African blood on its hands

Macron is disingenuous when he tells Africans he’s not there to tell them how to do things. But the hypocrisy is worse than that, in that the delusional view about France is built on a matrix of lies which the French media are quite good at presenting to the gullible masses.

Few French people know that France played a key role in supporting the Rwandan government or its moderate Hutu leader Juvénal Habyarimana and is actually responsible for the genocide there following his assassination in 1994.

Similarly, few in France really know of the true extent of how far Paris went on supporting Congo leader Sese Mobutu, who died in 1997, but was said to have murdered millions in his own country while taking billions from Paris. Ironically, Bernard Kouchner, a French minister under Francois Mitterrand, once was quoted as referring to Mobutu's wealth, estimated by some to be as high as $5 billion, and describing the African leader as "a walking bank vault with a leopard-skin cap."

More recently, it is France’s exploitation of Libya’s loon-in-residence Muammar Gaddafi, whom we should not forget has played a role in the immigration crisis. Let’s also not forget which EU leader was the first to praise Gaddafi when he pitched his tent in a garden in the Elysee Palace in 2007 and was fervently defended as a great leader. Nicholas Sarkozy finally signed off billion dollar deals on Airbus and French arms. But that’s not all he signed off.

Sarkozy allegedly took a €50 million donation from the Libyan leader toward his presidential campaign.

Even mad dogs like Gaddafi had their uses in France, if not for the state, then at least the corrupt business elite. And Macron is from this same group, perhaps even from the same Parisian Masonic lodge.

His policies are merely about treating the Africans like children while giving their barbaric leaders more money to play with.

This policy may well pay dividends in the short term, as we have seen the numbers of immigrants reduce dramatically in Libya. But it’s only a question of months before those African leaders realize that this is an amicable arrangement which can easily be turned into one of blackmail. What will it take for these same leaders to start making a business out of this as they have done with everything else while in office? It’s a policy initiative built on sand. Macron is unable to face responsibility for France’s colonial history, which sowed the seeds of so many of the continent’s woes today, in relation to Europe. He is only capable of uttering the words which are part of a modern-day politically correct abomination of the truth.

Old Europe exploited Africa and continues to do so. The summit currently underway in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire will no doubt harp on about the importance of investing in the continent’s youth, in tackling human rights and building jobs – but this is from a trade block which destroys jobs with its policies.

In Mauritania, for example, fishermen either sell their boats due to the waters being overfished following EU fishery deals with large EU fishing companies – or use their “rickety fishing boats” to transport illegal immigrants from West Africa to the Canaries or Spain. There will be much to chuckle over as the EU, with Macron now almost vying for Federica Mogherini’s job as its new, shiny Blairite figure heralding the Brussels doctrine, will take center stage. Try and see if you can spot the Central African Republic’s leader close to Macron. The US State Department lists CAR’s human rights atrocities as “extrajudicial executions by security forces; the torture, beating and rape of suspects and prisoners; impunity, particularly among the armed forces; harsh and life-threatening conditions in prisons and detention centers; arbitrary arrest and detention, prolonged pretrial detention and denial of fair trials.” Not bad for a country which just received a cool $2 billion from Brussels. Perhaps Macron would like to top this up to help the elite there deal with their latest problems? Anything, rather than him look at his own country’s role in the continent’s troubles. Macron’s paternalistic, patronizing narrative to the people of this continent is shameful as was the remarks he made during the student’s speech where he pointed to the Burkina Faso president when talking of problems with electricity in the university which hosted the talk. Until France takes the lead and genuinely ties aid to human rights reform, the relationship between the Elysee Palace and African leaders who are not committed to developing their countries will always be one which comes with a hefty price. After all, how many French presidents does it take to change a light bulb in an African university?

Martin Jay is based in Beirut and can be followed at @MartinRJay

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.