Headlines: anti-racism and debunking
A statue of Leopold II covered with red paint in Antwerp, Belgium, June 4, 2020. JONAS ROOSENS / BELGA / AFP
By: Frédéric Couteau Follow
Since the death of George Floyd in the United States, asphyxiated by a white police officer, the question of racism has caused a veritable shock wave across the planet. With this question in particular: should the statues of historical figures who played a role in the slavery of blacks be unbolted? The debate even took place on the continent, notes Le Pays in Burkina Faso , " in this case in Senegal, where voices are raised to demand that the authorities take down the statue of Faidherbe installed in Saint-Louis. When we know that a number of historical figures, to whom we paid tribute by erecting monuments or statues in their memory, carry a heavy liability, we can only understand the anger of the demonstrators, writes the Burkinabe daily. They are in their right. Especially since it is the apology for a painful past that is made. (…) So we dare to hope , exclaims Le Pays, that the global outcry aroused by the death of George Floyd will raise awareness of white supremacists and other racists who are still numerous in the United States, Europe and everywhere elsewhere. "
" Some symbols have to fall!" "
In a column published by Jeune Afrique , the Franco-Senegalese essayist and consultant, Karfa Diallo, believes that France must unbolt the symbols of racism. " By declaring that " the Republic will not erase any name or any trace of its history ", Emmanuel Macron risks increasing the tensions exacerbated since the death of George Floyd in the United States , affirms Karfa Diallo. Yes , he continues, it is necessary that some symbols fall, that the rooms of the National Assembly which honor Colbert be renamed and that a street of slave ship is renamed in each former French slave ship. This will open the way to a new memory writing, in France, but also in Africa, without any demonization and any victimization. A new victory against oblivion to deepen the contemporary democratic requirement. "
For a recognition of the European slave trade
For his part, the rebellious MEP for France, Younous Omarjee proposes that the European Parliament solemnly recognize the slave trade and slavery as crimes against humanity. He says so in Le Point Afrique . “ The eight minutes during which, in Minneapolis, Georges Floyd said several times that he could no longer breathe paradoxically gave life to those who, around the world, fight against racism and discrimination, but also to Afro-descendants in general , says Younous Omarjee. As if they recognized themselves in this suffering, that they no longer wanted to be suffocated, too, and that they wanted to make their voices heard. At such a moment symbolic acts and gestures are of great importance, and the European Parliament cannot and must not remain outside this debate. It would be the first time that an international organization has recognized slavery and trafficking as crimes against humanity, but it would only follow the example of France, with the Taubira law of 2001. ”
When is the return of African art objects?
And then, wonders Le Monde Afrique , “ is this the effect of global mobilization around George Floyd ? The relaunch of the debate on the colonial past which everywhere brings down the statues of slavers ? Last Friday, reports Le Monde Afrique , five men were arrested at the Musée du quai Branly – Jacques-Chirac, in Paris, while they were trying to take away a 19th century Bari funerary post from Chad. "These goods were stolen from us during the colonization ... It was taken from us without our consent, so I'm going home with it," said the leader of the group, a Congolese national. "
For the new director of the Quai Branly museum, Emmanuel Kasarherou, interviewed by Le Monde Afrique , “ work must continue on the provenance of the objects. "
Newspaper commentary: " The subject is all the more flammable as action has been delayed since the publication, in November 2018, of the report by academics Felwine Sarr and Bénédicte Savoy, advocating restitution to African part of its heritage. (…) In France, the political and legal obstacles have not yet broken. "Example:" The "rapid" return to Benin, promised by Paris, of 26 totem poles and royal scepters looted during the sack of the Palaces of the Kings of Abomey by French colonial troops in 1892 has been postponed. (…) The transfer of ownership is currently in limbo. "
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