Lor problem pas enn kout mop;
Amizé ar dop.
Consume without thought!
Let all your problems be naught;
Don’t be overwrought.
One thing is clear. Neoliberalism, an ideology caracterised by total reliance on market forces, deregulation and privatisation, now controls both sides of the house. The main political parties, the MSM, the PTr, the MMM and the PMSD, in that order of importance, share the same political ideology and this explains why these parties can easily join forces (MSM/MMM alliance; PTr/MMM alliance; MSM/PTr alliance; PTr/PMSD alliance; MSM/PMSD alliance). It also explains why prominent MMM members can easily fit into the MSM environment, outlook and policy.
Neoliberalism is the dominant worldwide ideology at present be it in the USA, China, India, Russia or Europe. In our region there are two important powerhouses: China and India. They may have different systems but both are driven by the same mantra: BE RICH. They are rivals in our region and both want to colonise us through the DEBT-TRAP diplomacy. India has an edge over its rival for the “CHOTA BHARAT” slogan seems to charm quite a few minds.
Neoliberals have no concern for the environment or the health of the planet. They believe that such concepts as global warming/burning, climate change/crisis are left wing fabulations to stop the march of history. In the Mauritius archipelago, they are the proponents of high-income economy, tax-free country, unending economic growth, wealth and luxury for all. These slogans titillate the imagination of the masses who start to think that manna will fall from heaven. But that is not the truth. Neoliberalism means that 1% of the population controls 90% of the national wealth and consequently, 99% have to share the remaining 10%; it means increasing wealth for the very rich and extreme poverty for the masses; it means a two-tier system (free and fee-paying) in schools and hospital where moneyed people will get the best service; it means that prisons will be privatised and consequently, rehabilitation cum re-education will be abandoned and recidivism will thrive; it means private police, gated cities on the one hand and rising unemployment and crimes on the other.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
As long as the masses trust their leaders nothing can be done. But the situation will not remain rosy for too long. The destruction of rain forests, the burning of fossil fuels, the wiping out of bio-diversity are life-threatening activities and soon we will have to bear the brunt of our mistakes. Then the political promise will sound hollow and angry reaction will start.
With the rise in sea level, our tourist industry will be in deep trouble. We will have to move from beach tourism and explore possibilities of culture and green tourism. Rice producing countries are already facing difficulties and rice supply will eventually dwindle. We will have to rethink our food culture in terms of production and consumption. AREU’S motto, GROW WHAT YOU EAT AND EAT WHAT YOU GROW, must become national wisdom. The “open sesame” of high-income economy will soon lose its lustre and the population at large will understand that they have been taken for a ride.
The oligarchs and their political allies, having a powerful grip over most media outlets, have some success in getting us to think the way they want. However, this will not last forever if artists in all branches of creation – poetry, plays, short stories, novels, paintings, music and dance, films and photography etc. – continue to entertain and educate us and help us to see the rot being hidden away.
At the level of the Mauritius archipelago, artists must not throw in the towel in the face of attacks on our true identity. Our birthplace is made up of creole islands which have given refuge, food and shelter to thousands of immigrants from Africa, Asia and Europe.
We do not live in Little France or Little India.