PA MWA SA LI SA; PA LI SA MWA SA

There is no doubt that the Island Games have generated a lot of enthusiasm before and specially during. Athletes, organisers, funders, artists and the general public must be congratulated. We have lived a great moment of jubilation and over and over again expressions of joy were mingled with love of the land. Words linked with patriotism, such as Mauritianism, were lavishly used. The games are now over. We are all going back to our routine and chores, our struggles and frustrations and our hopes and fears. Have the games left behind strong building blocks on which new layers may be added or just the ashes of an already dead flame?

We have won dozens of medals and are all chanting the victory of Mauritius without any thoughts of those young women and men, most of whom probably come from underprivileged backgrounds, who trod the hard road to success. What our dirge would be like had we lost? It’s not hard to imagine: “Akoz bannla sa!” We are very good at, on the one hand, appropriating the success of others and, on the other hand, at denying any responsibility when things go wrong. It seems that scapegoatism is a Mauritian core value (“Pa mwa sa, li sa”).

What is patriotism if not some form of love? Do we love only when there is success and achievement and hate and curse in moments of hardship and adversity? That is not love. That is opportunism, mere self-seeking gains from the efforts of others.

There are two types of patriotism: negative and positive. Negative patriotism is when the love of one’s country powers the lust to conquer and loot other countries; it is positive when it powers love and care for one’s country and its people, flora and fauna. The Maritime Republic of Mauritius is made up of several creole islands peopled by immigrants from Europe, Africa and Asia and this cross-cultural mix has to be fostered to build a rainbow nation at all levels, be it economic, political, social or cultural.
At economic level we must develop new paradigms in terms of profitability, sustainability, workers’ welfare, environment control etc. At political level it is imperative that major reforms are implemented to strengthen and improve democracy in terms of gender parity, proportional representation and most importantly to move away from the 3-member constituency to a system of smaller one-member constituencies. These changes will make the best loser system redundant and will help us get rid of ethnic politics. In education, it is urgent that we get rid of the present language policy whereby children are forced to learn the basics of literacy in 3 foreign languages at one and the same time while their mother tongue is ignored. When will we realise the great waste of resources and potential that such a stupid language policy is generating?

Literacy should start in the mother tongue of the child and we should use intelligently the fact that our national language and our official language are creole languages. Moreover, a new pedagogy for French will definitely pave the way to a genuine and vibrant trilingualism.

We must also bear in mind that in a not too distant future, we will have to face serious climate problems, rise in sea level, food insecurity and to face these we will need national solidarity kneaded in the spirit of love and care. “Sakenn so sakenn” will mean national catastrophe and a lot of suffering.

Instead of wallowing in short-lived explosions of joy, let us explore and build strong core values based on solidarity and sharing and replace the facile waving of flags by this song sung in unison:

Bondie beni twa Mama,
Nou Mama, nou Later Sakre.
To bote li dou,
To parfen li dou,
To tini nou ansam
Kouma enn pep,
Enn sel nasion
Dan lape, lazistis, liberte.
Zoli Mama,
Bondie beni twa
Toultan, toultan, toultan.

01.08.19

TI KOUTO KOUP GRO ZIROMON

The worshippers of Mammon in unison croak discordantly that the vagaries of the weather have nothing to do with global warming and climate change, a leftish invention to destabilize the world and cultivate anarchy. They want us to ignore the findings of science.

They are organized in very powerful, moneyed lobbies to check, undermine and destroy any attempt for change which will jeopardise their personal interests.
The burning of fossil fuels is responsible for the destruction of the planet and motorcars are closely linked to this calamitous situation. The worshippers of Mammon have made and placed their fortunes in both industries and will protect their wealth even if it is to the detriment of the general weal. Consequently, their agents, stooges and cronies in all spheres – be they private or public – will vehemently support their idiotic obsession in return for favours of all sorts.

There is a belief that it is possible to move away from fossil fuels and reduce dramatically the use of the private-personal motorcar by using high-fibre cane and hemp to produce electricity and redesigning our local administration to ensure safety for pedestrians and cyclists. This will not only reduce CO2 emissions but also lead us to healthier living. Yet there are powerful lobbies and their political allies who will not only stand against change but will embark on campaigns of calumny, fake news and character assassination to kill rational debate. Their interests are linked to the activities of giant international corporations and their local representatives and businesses from importers to distributors. A whole chain of vested interests of different types will try to kill change so indispensable to the survival of mankind.

It is now widely accepted that cannabis oil (CBD oil) has certain therapeutic virtues. It can help people face atrocious pains but a change in the law and in attitudes will take time because we are blinded by prejudices and ignorance on the one hand and will be swept off our feet by anti-CBD malicious propaganda financed by giant pharmaceutical industries.

On a personal note, at the age of 77, I am now suffering from 3 sets of problems: ‘wear and tear’ caused by age; Post-Polio Syndrome; acute pain in my right hand wrist ( as my left arm is completely atrophied, I have to manage with one hand and this is becoming more and more painful and difficult and at times agonising). I have been told that CBD oil could not only help me by alleviating pains on the one hand but also on the other hand, protect my liver and kidney which anti-inflammatory drugs and pain-killers are damaging. My only hope, before it is too late, is that the law is amended.

I would like to end this opinion piece with an extract from an article by Mike Power which appeared in The Guardian of 1 July 2019.

“What is clear is that legal reform on cannabis, while welcome, is not moving anywhere near quickly enough to benefit millions of patients.
Scientists and politicians are, thankfully, catching up with hundreds of years of folk wisdom: it’s not news to anyone who regularly smokes a spliff that cannabis is relaxing, or that it can help you sleep far more soundly than a glass of red wine, or improve your mood. The interplay between THC, CBD, and the hundreds of other active compounds in the cannabis plant could one day be isolated, identified, tested and proven to offer symptomatic help or even a cure for dozens of life-threatening conditions. But decades of pointless prohibition based on specious moral arguments have prevented proper medical research that could have benefited millions.

The CBD market urgently needs proper regulation and more broadly, both the THC and CBD sectors demand the creation of a new medical model that accommodates the complexity of a plant that has been used as a medicine by humans for thousands of years.”

Will narrow-minded Mauritius be prepared to move forward? Alcohol and tobacco are highly dangerous drugs and yet they are legal. CBD oil can help us to enjoy a better and healthy life and it is illegal. Should we not just laugh in order not to cry?
25.07.19