Musings on the July 14th African soldiers parade in Paris

By Jacques Sotero Agboton*

July 4thThere is something perplexing about the amnesia of the African people concerning their history

vis-à-vis the Europeans. At this point,  if these Africans were reactive as one should expect, we will be able to say that this was a predictable response. However, that is not the case and perhaps, it must be seen as an incurable pathology.

The reason we think there is something wrong is because there is no greater insult to a whole continent of people when the France military named its so-called rescue war in Mali by the code words of operation “Serval”.  If the laymen may be excused, Presidents in Africa and the cohort of educated leaders do not seem to have grasped the connotations of these words. On the other hand, the French and for that matters most westerners knew without a doubt that a Serval is a wild cat which characteristically urinates on several outposts to demarcate its territory. Thus, France was obviously redrawing her territories in Africa.

One may wonder if such consideration was important to Africans given the debacle of the Malian army  as some rag-tag Jihadists invaded the country after fleeing Lybia because of attacks by NATO forces. These fanatics were able in a record time to seize half of Mali to create Azawad. Other African head of states watched powerlessly  the people of Mali get underpinned by a junta of clueless junior military officers who after overthrowing  a corrupt regime cannot counter religious fanatics from the north.

Our consternation  is not the result of the blemish on some African pride though we expected  that leaders  of a regional community called the ECOWAS  with more than 200 million inhabitants to muster the courage to confront less than 10 thousand terrorists. By God, we could not even rely on the African Union which marched to the whims of our Arab enemies. Why do we want to believe in a brotherhood  with Arabs when Blacks are still slaves in their countries? That’s another matter.

But truly, our anger is to know that for decades, France deviously kept the armies of African countries ill-equipped, weak and with incompetent cadres under special military conventions  such that tragedies like these ones were inevitable.

Those who applauded France’s François Holland as the savior when he intervened in Mali have yet to understand the machination of criminal minds in the new world order. Obviously, we could not expect much from those stooges we hold as presidents or head of states in Africa because not a single one of them has the courage to defend the dignity of our people.

JacquesCould we expect anything when someone like the selected and undemocratic transition president Dioncounda Traore of Mali travelled to Paris while free French men and free French women commemorated their liberation from tyranny? “Is it better to be under European oppression than Islamic slavery” as some persons may contend. But, the symbolism of this pathetic figure standing behind François Holland during the parade which included African soldiers brings back old memories. The memories of Mali then called Sudan (French Sudan) with its battalions of Askaris. This vast land, far greater than Western Europe, and where many Africans were massacred, murdered, crippled, maimed and made captives of the French Republic.

How could this fact have escaped the serious student of African history, the conscious men and women as well as the so-called educators? How can the African military commanders share any delight in sending troops to parade in France like the French did with slaves before their sale like commodities at the auctions?

Have Africans lost their minds such that history is repeating itself?

Do Africans suffer from a singular amnesia such that they cannot remember just that only segment of their experiences with Whites or Arabs because one cannot fathom how repeating events leading to their annihilation escape them?

Lastly, one can but shudder at the bounties accrued to the French republic because of France’s war in Mali. Operation Serval was swift contrary to the 10 year war in Côte D’Ivoire; a residual casualty of one long episode of France’s wars throughout Africa. How can we forget in Nigeria, the Biafran war? Nigeria survived crippled while retaining Biafra but Ethiopia lost Djibouti and then, Eritrea.

We have no place for denials when a whole continent is impoverished. We know how in the past, French Sudan assured France’s prosperity for another 50 years with the “cooperation” of her former colonies ( and future colonies) after their so-called independence.  Vive la France-Afrique!

Arguably, if the slaves do not complain of their fate, then they deserve any  suffering that comes to them.  The lethargy of Africans is mind boggling to say the least.

*Jacques Sotero Agboton is an international political analyst and can be reached at


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