The postcolonial state has remained the child of colonization


Industrial development of the eighteenth century in Europe gave rise to the need for market expansion well beyond the Old Continent. It was accomplished by the colonization which, unbeknownst to its supporters, laid the foundations of globalization.

If today, all humans around the world use the same technologies, have schools, administrations and meet at the UN, it is because, among other main reasons, colonization had gone through there. But unable to manage these gigantic colonial empires from London or Paris, the colonizing countries found the solution in states which were entrusted, through their administrative, fiscal and security apparatus, the control of the people and the goods, the markets and of the order. They would level the world, shape it in the same mold. This is how the state has become the current instrument best suited to manage the world and globalization. It is the most appropriate tool to guard against global chaos.

However, the degree of performance and effectiveness of each of its variants is very different. The state built by colonization has only the appearance of the one who gave birth to it. While that of the metropolis aims for the well-being of its citizens, that of colonization continues to consider the individuals and communities it dominates as savages against which we must always be cautious and mistrustful.

In fact, the European state evolved while the colonial, become postcolonial, stagnated, when it did not regress completely.

As an instrument of coercion and repression that served the royal authority, the European state became the regulator of relations between citizens, actors and organizations of society in general. It has become the place where democracy breathes and guarantees the freedom and dignity of the human person.

The postcolonial state has remained the child of colonization. The latter had conceived it as an apparatus of coercion of the colonized peoples to bring them to obedience and submission, it continues, despite laudable attempts here and there to make it evolve, to have the same reflexes and same missions as at birth. It is in this sense that, globally, we will deal with the French postcolonial.

Postcolonial is a discipline that tries to understand the way in which ex-colonized people evolve. An Anglo-Indian school, in the wake of Edward Said, is particularly interested in the individual in relation to his community of origin and that of his former metropolis. His favorite field is culture in general. It is not from this angle that we intervene.

From our point of view, the postcolonial does not belong to the colonized complex. We focus on the domain of states created by colonization only to better highlight their evolution in the face of their insoluble internal political problems and their motherland, the former metropolis that continues to have an eye on them.

The postcolonial is defined by the two words that compose it: “post” and “colony”, which can be understood as the era after colonization, a kind of “The day after” policy. The field which interests us in it, in dealing with the States created by the French colonization, is the way in which they evolve, once put in the hands of those who were called the “natives”.

It was in the nineteenth century that France had carved out an immense colonial empire which, in Africa, went continuously from the southern shores of the Mediterranean to the northern borders of Zambia. A little further south there is also Madagascar. This French empire in Africa had more than 13 million km2 for a current population estimated at nearly 340 million souls.

African independencies, for the most part granted, was realized between the end of the Second World War and the beginning of the sixties. By examining the states that come from them, we discover strange similarities and worrying perspectives.

Their colonial nature places them more on the register of repression than that of the administration. It condemns them in the format of dictatorship instead of democracy.

Enemies of freedom, they have software that can not be updated. They had enjoyed a time of grace granted by the Cold War the day after independence. During the Cold War, they were individually courted and incubated by both sides who shared the world leadership. Thus, from satellite states of colonial metropolises, many of them had escaped their influence only to land in the Soviet court. But the fall of the Berlin Wall brought them back to the fold of colonial tutelage who since then summons them to liberalize and democratize. At nearly thirty years of this injunction, only Senegal has had a correct governance alternation.

France, like the other colonizing countries, by a tacit international pact, is in charge of the stability of its former colonies. She is the policeman and ensures that the bloodthirsty who are in power does not alter its own image as was the case in the time of Bokassa or the Rwandan genocide. Despite the solemn declarations of each French president, since Mitterrand, saying that there is no more Françafrique**, France has only got bogged down year by year in the African political swamp. Many state coup were unmanned from Paris. No less than 43 military interventions, the last three (Ivory Coast, Mali and Central Africa) have not solved anything.

So, is it time to think differently at the Elysée* ?
1) The French colonial empire is always part of France’s domestic policy instead of foreign affairs. Its interventions are underpinned by erroneous considerations that we try to point out in vain to the French strategists.

2) The policy of the French model, the Jacobin state which it has been trying for over half a century to impose in Africa, is a failure. The few states that have managed to engender a semblance of a nation are the exception. Even in France, where the regions and their languages, up to now ferociously combated, are knocking at the door of the Constitution and it seems that Corsica will even incessantly burst into it. More than 90% of he African states built on the French model have failed.

3) French strategic interests in Africa no longer need African dictatorships to be safeguarded or even developed.

4) The frontiers inherited from colonization prove not only to be the greatest obstacle to democracy, respect for human rights and peace on the African continent, but above all as the greatest crime against humanity after the extermination of some peoples, the Holocaust and the Slave Trade. They are the most frightful of current violations of human dignity, of peoples and communities. They are even toxic for France because it is the injustices of their states that push millions of Africans to immigrate to France at the risk of their lives. They are the main source of internal troubles that undermine these artificial countries

5) The policy of rank, the one in the name of which France justifies its disputed place of 4th or 5th power of the world, no longer needs to maintain, by proxy given to dictatorships, African peoples in slavery.

6) The right of peoples to self-determination is more legitimate today, with the Kabyles, Peuls, Senoufos, Kurds, Tuaregs, Issas, Afars, Malinke and Ba-Malinke … than it was yesterday with Algeria, Senegal, Togo or Gabon …

If we come to these conclusions, it is because we ourselves as Kabyles are victims of the French postcolonial. Kabylia was sovereign before its annexation by force of bayonets to French Algeria, from 1857. After having done everything for more than 55 years to integrate us in an Algeria that rejects us as long as we remain a standing people, we have no other choice but to seek a solution far from the denial of which we are struck, based on the international legality and universal right, enshrined in the texts of the United Nations, the right of peoples to self-determination.

Colonization had made this world iniquitous, may Kabyle wisdom help humanity rebuild it on the basis of respect for human values, the rights of peoples and people, nature and space.

Cambridge on the 30/05/2018
Ferhat Mehenni

* The Élysée Palace (French: Palais de l’Élysée) is the official residence of the President of France.
** Françafrique, the term is now often used to criticize the allegedly neocolonial relationship France has with its former colonies in Africa.


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