Edito 56

One country, multiple cultures!

On the 1st of August 1960, Côte d’Ivoire awoke to find itself imprisoned by its borders. The European concept of the Nation State (Noose-like State) had ensnared it, forcing the population into a simulacrum of decolonisation hidden behind the attractive mask of independence. One country, one party (the one-party system was to stay in place for 30 years), one president… And that is how the Ivoirian miracle, the African Eldorado was conceived, with its overstimulating coffee and sickening mountains of cocoa, cotton and rubber to ease the – inevitable – fall…the facade began to crumble and the economy was very quickly drowned by demographics. The « hospitable country » sung of in the national anthem became that of the « Ivoirian identity ». Foreigners, who were once so useful, even without papers, suddenly became foreign, undesirable, and suspect. But where did this foreignness originate? Where do the borders begin? Who is, or is not, Ivoirian? Who is more Ivoirian? Who is less Ivoirian? The matter is in the hands of the politicians and – most of all – the police. The cost of racketeering rises in correlation with the extent to which a name sounds « northern ». That is when people began to reason in terms of « culture » – or rather, « cultures » in the plural. And, gradually, in his own way Alpha Blondy, the mixed race boy from Baoulé and Dioula, began to sing about reinstating order: « You’re playing with fire! » – too late. Côte d’Ivoire is in flames. The firemen who rushed to the scene in the interests of France and neighbouring countries only fed the flames – because the fire can never be quenched with weapons or well-meaning words. Understanding, awareness and reason are all tragically lacking in those who are endlessly fighting for the power and the booty in Côte d’Ivoire. – Un...

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