Why We Do Not Stand With France
To hell with France.
Following the terrorist attacks against France, the world lit up in red, white, and blue to show solidarity with the human suffering of the French. Africans and members of the African Diaspora are no strangers to suffering. We can empathize with the pain that fellow human beings have endured. But we cannot with good conscience stand with a nation that continues to cause our Brothers and Sisters so much suffering.
Africa Is Forced To Pay Reparations To France(!)
In the mid-1900s, one African nation after another liberated itself from the shackles of its former colonizer. The French colonies of Benin, Senegal, the Central African Republic, and 12 other African nations were granted their freedom from France. This liberation did not come without a cost: France demanded that in exchange for the ‘benefits’ that African nations received from France in the past, 65% of their foreign currency reserves would be placed into the French Treasury, plus another 20% for financial liabilities as a form of reparations. This means those 14 African countries would only ever have access to 15% of their own money. This practice has continued to this day.
Even worse, when those former colonies needed access to their own money, they would be required to borrow it from France with interest. Again, this practice has continued to this day.
The French gain interest from the money deposited by its former slave colonies to this day, and uses that money to invest in its own name on the Parisian stock exchange making even more money from its former colonies.
France continues to rape Africa by demanding that any natural resources found in former French colonies must be sold to France first – even if the country can get a better price from somewhere else. When government contracts are awarded, France demands first dibs.
For example, in the Ivory Coast, former president Gbagbo wanted to build a major bridge in the central business district of the capital city. By law, the contract had to go to a French company, which quoted an astronomical price – to be paid in euros or US dollars.
Not happy, Gbagbo’s government sought a second quote from the Chinese, who offered to build the bridge at half the price quoted by the French company, and – wait for this – payment would be in cocoa beans, of which Cote d’Ivoire is the world’s largest producer. But, unsurprisingly, the French said “non, you can’t do that”.
In most countries formerly colonized by France, almost all commerce, construction, agriculture, and utilities – including water, electricity, telephone, transport, ports and major banks – are run by French companies or French interests.
With policies like this in place, Africa has lost up to $1.4 trillion in illicit financial flows to the West from 1980 to 2009. This amount is 233 times the 50 billions foreign “aid” Africa supposedly receives every year from the West. France alone extracts approximately 500 billion dollars from African countries each year.
Africa Remains Under French Occupation
Under the same agreement that demands African nations repay France trillions of times over for demanding their liberation, France has the legal right to intervene militarily in the African countries, and also to station troops permanently in bases and military facilities in those countries, run entirely by the French.
African nations are required to side with France in any military endeavors that France sees fit. If France decides to go to war with any nation, former French colonies are automatically activated and required to deploy.
French Racism is Both Foreign and Domestic
For all the financial benefit that France receives from its
current former African colonies, virtually none of that is passed down to Africans living in France. Young Black men and women in France face 70 percent unemployment in some areas, and – just like here in the United States – are the disproportionate victims of police brutality and lynching.
Things came to a head in 2005, when Black youth in France rioted for several days following the death of two teenagers at the hands of police (who were later cleared, of course).
Commenting on other demonstrations in Paris a few months later, the BBC summarized reasons behind the events included youth unemployment and lack of opportunities in France’s poorest communities. This is still a trend occurring in French suburbs today.
In short, as a Black man, I cannot see the suffering of a hundred Frenchmen without acknowledging the suffering of hundreds of thousands if not millions of my own people at the hands of the French. I cannot stand with France – nor can I respect the humanity of any other group of people – until France abandons its abuse of Black humanity.