Viva Macron! Viva Le Sens Commun!!
To readers who can only speak passable French like my humble self, the title of today’s discourse celebrates not only the victory of Emmanuel Macron in the French Presidential elections decided over the weekend, but ultimately the triumph of commonsense it signified. It was a result most right thinking people across the globe had been waiting for. It was a massive blow to politics of intolerance and populism.
It was also a result, I am certain, which would have displeased Donald Trump, the other compulsive demagogue across the Atlantic whether he received the news at his expansive resort at Mar-a-Largo, or within the White House itself. On too many occasions during her campaign for the presidency, the far-right conservative candidate Marie Le Pen, differed from Donald Trump only on account of her gender, geographical location, and the language of expression.
Beyond that, every other thing followed the same pattern or template. Partly because she had openly expressed her admiration for Trump, we could hardly tell both apart. The nastiness and plantation mentality so typical of American rednecks and the neo-Nazis of Europe. The open preference of fiction over reality. The open defiance of logic. The rejection of globalization and inclusiveness. The anti-Islamic sentiment and open appeal to fascism and populism.
With barely 24 hours before the polls opened, the Macron camp even reported the hacking of its own website! It was so eerily reminiscent of the hacking of computer systems in the headquarters of the Democratic National Congress (DNC) in the weeks leading to the elections which Hilary Clinton lost.
Like Trump, and the leading face of Brexit Nigel Farage, Le Pen’s rhetoric also feeds on the same flawed ideology which not only mocks the history of the evolution of nation-states and globalization, but actually seeks to re-write it! Although all three are decedent from slave masters and colonialists, who savaged and badly exploited their victims on the African continent and beyond, they now shamelessly seek to exclude their victims from their borders and the spoils of their civilization. They immorally beckon on history to forget the crude exploitation of their victims for centuries through a combination of ruthless cunning, and the force of arms.
The hundreds of millions Africa lost to the slave trade did not require entry visas before their deployment to the cotton and sugar plantations of North America. They were removed from Africa against their wishes. Those who survived long enough to reach the plantations were also not entitled to wages or welfare.
It is a tragedy of monumental proportions that today, the rejection of the ideals behind the Holocaust, and not the repudiation of the nastiness and incivility that resulted unprecedented crime dismissed simply as the Slave Trade, is upheld as the moral compass for the so-called civilized world.
Nobody requested for the opinion of Africans before the continent was partitioned and virtually ‘sold off’ to Western Caucasian powers at the Berlin Conference of 1884 – 1885. The partitioning went ahead as if the people of Africa did not exist! Like the Slave Trade, it happened against the wishes of the people of Africa who were not in a position to choose either way.
And yet, these are the same victims, along with their ‘cousins’ in the Middle East and the diaspora, which Le Pen, along with the other right wing politicians in Europe, and America, virtually want quarantined, or classified as surplus to requirements in their respective territories. Having ‘constructed’ their economies and civilizations with the sweat of their victims, they want no places reserved for them at their dinner tables.
These are the same people Le Pen railed against with so much venom during her profanity-filled campaigns for the presidency. Like the thinly veiled racism behind Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ slogan, she wants ‘France’ for the Caucasian ‘French’ only. She regards globalization and multilateralism as the veritable tools for the adulteration of what she considers to be the unique French civilization. Like her father who founded and provided the platform on which ran, her ideal notion of France has no place for blacks or other people of color like the Arabs of North Africa, they exploited for centuries.
Her vision of France has no place for the contributions of Leopold Sedar Senghor, Yannick Noah, and Zinadine Zidane to French politics and popular culture! It even disrespects the hundreds of thousands of African soldiers who paid the supreme sacrifice to liberate France from the tyranny of Nazi-Germany between 1939 and 1945. It is also a negation of the policy of assimilation which was the official policy of France during the colonial period. Somehow, the feels she knows something her ancestors did not.
Today, French is spoken by an estimated 120 million Africans in 24 Francophone countries on the continent. Le Pen’s ideology seeks to exclude these same people in spite of the deep linguistic, and cultural ties, forged over many centuries of colonization.
The likes of Trump, and Le Pen, not only seek to re-write history in their nauseating images, they also seek a return to the dark days, which made Slave Trade and Nazism possible. Their politics should be a wake-up call to all right-thinking people of the world. The result of the French election will somehow serve to roll-back the tidal wave of populism and right-wing sentiments which Trump’s victory in America appeared to have emboldened.
Populist parties, who ride the crest of incendiary and crowd-pleasing answers to the social ills of nations should belong to the fringes of politics in both Europe and America for multilateralism to take hold. When crude and uncourt demagogues like Trump and Le Pen are checkmated at the polls, we are guarding against the reincarnation of the likes of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.
Still, while it is heart-warming that Macron was able to trounce Le Pen even when he was considered an outsider who was previously unknown to the French political establishment, the manner of his emergence should also set alarm bells ringing for the mainstream parties. The fact such parties including the one that produced the incumbent failed to make the second should be a wake-up call.
Could it be that the more traditional allied to the left and center of French politics have lost their appeal or are running out of ideas? Have they effectively imploded, and inevitably created a vacuum, which could be filled by a coalition of right-wing politicians, and parties, who think and reason like Le Pen in future? The big challenge now is how the mainstream parties must now urgently re-calibrate for the future elections.
For now, though, viva Le France! I salute the good people of France for their courage in halting the dark clouds of populism drifting over Europe, even if, it turns out to be a pyric victory in future. It was still a victory for common-sense!