France vents her anger on Black journalists

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A flag map of France (image: courtesy of Stefan Schweihofer)

The debacle of France in Africa is no longer news. Paris has been booted out of the former French colonies of Africa. That anti-French sentiment was obvious in African Francophone countries that experienced coups between 2021 and 2023. While some were genuine manifestations of the anger of the African masses against the neocolonialist policy and politics of France, others were less trenchant politically and looked like palace coups orchestrated by France. Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger belong to the first category of coups d’état referred to; Gabon and Chad (the case of Chad is slightly more nuanced) are affiliated to the French machinations. The coup in Guinea also has a veiled colour, since no clear break from Françafrique is being heard from Conakry.

The African youth are fed up with Françafrique and its tentacles. In other words, the postcolonial influence, domination and exploitation of African countries by France has reached the end of its epoch. When Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Zaire (today’s DRC) were led respectively by Houphouet-Boigny, Omar Bongo and his “heir” Ali Bongo, Mobutu Seseseko, France had a tight grip on these countries, that were strategically chosen as zones of occupation and terrains of watch towers, lands whose leaders were at the beck and call of France, points from which military operations could be launched to defend French interests in Africa. Of course, that influence of France still prevails in some of those countries, unfortunately. Alassane Ouattara in Côte d’Ivoire, Mahamat Déby in Chad and General Brice Oligui Nguema in Gabon cannot be cited when the demise of Françafrique is voiced. These leaders are clinging to the ties of the “support” that France provides.

General Nguema who deposed Ali Bongo in a coup paid special visits to Alassane Ouatarra and Emmanuel Macron. French military bases still remain in N’Djamena and other areas in Chad. While French neocolonialism is true in those countries, in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, the general population kicked the French out. The US contributed a bit to this policy of “delinking” from neocolonialism, imperialism and exploitation. In Niger for instance, both the French and American politico-military apparels were dismissed. That general rebellion against France by her backyard in Africa was one of the most painful blows that could be administered to Paris. The effusion of anti-French sentiments led several political leaders and commentators to speculate. Some French political analysts say that the era of the French manipulation of Africa has come to an end. On the other hand, some conservative and hardcore defenders of French hegemony in Africa play the ostrich by turning a blind eye to the maturity of the conscience of the African populations, especially the youth, in this era of social media. French President Macron who has the misfortune to be steering the affairs of the Elysée during that period of politico-economic defeat of France keeps acting like the “teacher” in French-speaking Africa.

Other French dignitaries like Anne Sophie Avé, the ambassador of France to Africa (the whole continent) unveil their myopic views of the French rejection in Africa. To make matters worse, that French “super ambassador” accuses two prominent Black chroniclers living in France of instigating Africa’s rejection of France. These two Black political analysts are Alain Foka, a native of Cameroon and Claudy Siar who hails originally from Guadeloupe in the Caribbean. It does not come as a surprise when the ambassador frames these media persons as the makers of anti-French positions in Africa. Each is an energetic, intelligent, profound analyst and critic of the African facet of geopolitics.

Foka studied political science, journalism and audiovisual Arts in France, then worked with Radio France International (RFI) for 25 years before he resigned and decided to devote his time and talents to the observation, analysis and reportage of social, political and economic occurrences in Africa. He produced many documentaries on African leaders like Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso, interviewed the current Bukinabè President Captain Traoré, aired a programme on the mineral resources of DRC, and much more. One of Foka’s major achievements is his creation of the Manssah project which he manages with other partners. Manssah and its work speak to Foka’s radical Pan-Africanist position, the main goal of which is to “rethink Africa”.

The second innocent victim of the French is Claudy Siar, a 51-year-old journalist who has been working for Radio France International for 26 years, the same French media house where Foka worked. Siar was vehemently propagating and defending Afro-Caribbean culture. His main medium is a music programme on Radio France, he openly asserts his Pan-African devotion and defends the rights of Blacks in France. He is popularly known as “someone who is defined by Africa, not a mere lover of Africa”. Siar said several times that his native Gaudeloupe is “full of Africanity, Caribbeanity and Europeanity, but the foundation of these cultures and values is the Africanity”. It is said that several voices (certainly from conservative France) are calling for his dismissal from the mega French media house, because of his blatant defense of Pan-Africanism and opposition to racism and French imperialism in Africa and the Caribbean.

These two Black men of culture define the current changes in Africa as “the manifestation of the pro-African ideology, mentality and sentiment that emerged in the African youth, as a result of geopolitical events on the continent”, especially the skirmishes and woeful pillage by France. So, to certain French spokespersons like Avé, France lost her influence in Africa because of the pro-African and Pan-Africanist coverage and analyses of Foka and Siar.

Foka pointed out to Ave the shallowness of her statement and stance that equates Pro-African and Pan-Africanism with anti-French. While Siar did not react openly, he still goes on, unperturbed with his powerful, efficient, radical and objective observation of the geopolitical scene. To Siar, Pan-Africanism is humanism. It is such a pity to see so-called first class political figures of France venting their frustration on two innocent media persons and discerning activists.  It is more disheartening to hear a high class French ambassador committing the mistake of seeing Pro-Africa as anti-French. What could be the way out for France is a sincere and truthful evaluation of their rapport with Africa to find out what can provide the French the riches that they looted in Africa for more than a century.

Moussa Traoré is Associate Professor at the Department of English of the University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast.

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  1. Bravo
    I heard France was buying uranium from Niger for a pittance and selling it on to the rest of Europe for bumper profits.
    Is it true they were buying a kilo at say 2 dollars and getting 200 dollars for it? That’s a ratio of 2 to 200. So also are the rest of African resources they pick from Africa. I mean in Congo DR, Cote d Ivoire, Burkina Fasso, Senegal etc.This is criminal. A criminality perpetrated against Africa with the brazen help of African brethrens for those brethrens signed the agreements giving France the go ahead as they didn’t take gun against the head of the Africans where those crimes of France are committed.

    Sometimes I say those brothers who sold the African birthrights to France under those criminal treaties deserves crucifiction in the African markets.

    It’s never late. Once it’s dawned on the African youth that that arrangements giving France and indeed the rest of the West a free rein to Africa and it’s resources it
    It’s time to right it.

    The petulance of the French African ambassador. That title itself is an insult to Africa.

    But in reality. Per the title of the ambassador. Africa deserved just one ambassador. This is on the platform of unity. If Africa had united by now, the whole of it, there should be only one ambassador being appointed by sovereign nations to Africa.

    Maybe the French are opening up our eyes with that appointment and title. The need for our unity.

    However until then, lumping up Africa into one is an insult. It’s a condescending title since I know they still appoint ambassadors to individuals African nations.

  2. Wow !
    That’s very sad to see a representative of a whole continent reacting as a child without maturity.
    I really liked this article.
    Thanks so much dad♥️

  3. An enlightening dissection of the failing French neocolonial project in Africa. Hopefully, such sentiments run deep and the people will strongly resist any attempt to make them once more subservient to the French, if leadership changes and the new leaders decide to dally with France.

  4. argue perpetuates neo-colonial control.
    Another issue is the geopolitical shift. ( emerging powers). The rise of other global players like China, Russia and Turkey in Africa has provided alternatives to French influence. These countries often offer economic partnerships without the historical baggage.
    The French would be angry because of the spread of media and communication. Independent Africa media has amplified voices calling for the end of foreign dominance and the highlights of issues of sovereignty and self-determination.
    The idea that, France is “venting her anger on Black journalists ” can be interpreted as a metaphorical expression to me, since it reflects a broader frustration within France 🇫🇷, regarding her diminishing influence in her former African colonies. This sentiment could manifest in ways such as: Bias and stereotyping.. There could be instances where Black journalists are unfairly stereotyped or accused of bias particularly if their reporting challenges French policies or highlights negative aspects of France’s rule in Africa.
    Let me conclude on this. Media criticism and hostility can attract the French anger. Black journalists especially those covering issues related to France’s foreign policy and her former colonies might face heightened scrutiny, criticism, or hostility from certain segments of the French media or public
    In essence, if France is “venting her anger on Black journalists ” it could symbolize the broader societal and institutional reactions to a changing geopolitical landscape and the challenges of addressing historical and contemporary issues of race, identity and colonial legacy. This phrase suggests that Black journalists, as visible and vocal figures, might bear the brunt of these tensions and frustrations.
    Thank you so much Traore, for another interesting episode brought to us.
    ……Sakara Mumuni….

  5. How would the debacle of France in Africa be news? The recent shift in France’s relationships with her former colonies in Africa reflects a complex interplay of historical, political and social factors that I’ll like to speak to.
    Historical legacy of colonialism. France’s colonial rule in Africa, involved exploitation of resources and imposition of control over local populations, leaving deep scars and long-lasting socio-economic impacts .
    Another thing I should look at is independence movements of African nations. I think in the mid 20th century, if my memory serves me right, many African nations including those Traore mentioned, have gained independence. But the legacy of colonialism has continued to affect relationships. You see, I don’t blame France for their inept attitude towards our journalists. Through neo-colonialism, many former colonies of France are still economically independent on France through mechanisms like CFA Franc, which critics

  6. Reading this article it reminds me the speech of Prof. P.L. O Lumumba entitled “we elect the worst to lead us ” France plays its politics to have access to Africa natural ressources, unfortunately our political leaders play the game along. About the two journalists , they are hero. They use the same weapons that the former colonial power used for many decades that is communication. For instance, RFI blows in our ears day and night “highly indebted poor countries” referring to african nations. this way of communicating causes trauma and brings the mindset of dependance, poverty and inhabitability. So, having warriors like Foka and Claudy who can depict the reality of Africa with objectivity are the “saviours” of Africa. That why it pleases France to pour its wrath on them. They are engaged in a battle where many presidents have failed. Let’s join hand to support for Africa real independance

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