Macron’s former African schoolmate clobbers him over racist remarks
BY JOEL TEUBISSI NOUTSA
In an open letter to French president Emmanuel Macron, a Cameroonian cadre who attended the same elite French school of public administration as the president, Ecole Normale Superieure (ENA), writes that he is outraged by Macron stating on the sideline of the recently-held G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, that Africa is facing a “civilization” challenge. Joel Teubissi Noutsa writes that he finds Macron’s statement loaded with “contempt, sarcasm and racism.” Indeed, the remarks have angered many Africans. Below is the full text of Noutsa’s letter to his former schoolmate.
I’m outraged by your hurtful comments full of contempt, sarcasm and racism about my continent that appeared in the news media. Need I remind you that when you were seeking the votes of your people, you labeled colonialism as “crime against humanity” during a visit to Algeria. That was certainly to woo the French electorate of Maghreb and African origins. However, between the two rounds of voting, being sure of winning the election, you changed your mind by talking, instead, of “crime against the human.” I also remember how you stressed your choice of the French embassy in Lagos for your practical training during your studies at ENA as a way to make that electorate believe you had intended to know it long before aspiring to become president.
However, barely after being elected, and especially since you started dining regularly with the runt that had insulted us in Dakar, you have become vehement and mock us. Just a few weeks ago, you mocked our Comorian brothers, and the office of their president described your out-of-line language about the Kwassa-kwassa as “inconsiderate (…) and attributable to your youthfulness.” By the way, your apologies are still expected. Now, you tell the whole world in the middle of the G20 Summit that Africa’s state of underdevelopment is “civilizational.” That it’s because we are “Indian hemp [cannabis] growers, hawkish warriors, corrupt, incompetent, and inapt for democracy, traffickers of humans and cultural goods… and hardened fornicators to the point of having 7 and 9 children by wife…” But you forgot to ask yourself the right questions, such as who are the biggest consumers of Indian hemp, the arms manufacturers, traffickers of everything, slave traders, corrupters and exploiters? My dear Emmanuel, if cannabis was first called “Indian” hemp, not “African” hemp, it’s because it was first grown somewhere over there in Asia. Since our ancestors were not great navigators, we can argue that your people are the ones that imported it in our continent. History even tells us that opium, its cousin, was planted in China by your cousin Great-Britain to weaken the people. You did say “hawkish warriors, corrupt, incompetent, and inapt for democracy,” but need I remind you that your ancestors have caused and armed the bloodiest wars on my continent, and are behind most of the violent coups?
Who finances the terrorist groups, including AQMI, Boko Haram and MUJAO? Who killed Gaddafi, the ultimate shield for our security and the engine of our development? Who plotted the assassination of the heroes of our struggle for independence (Um and others), and serving presidents (Olympio, Boganda, Tombalbaye, Ngouabi, Sankara, Ntaryamira, etc.) who only wanted to free themselves from the hegemony of the French state? Who removed from power some heads of state such as Gbagbo and Lissouba who stood as obstacles to the interests of the French state? Who has been supporting Africa’s most incompetent and dictatorial regimes since the years we became independent? Who stole our primary commodities by way of Leonine contracts? Who will return to us the briefcases full of money that circulated in the francafrique networks? But, having been schooled among Africans, some of whom are members of your “En marche” movement, you are supposed to know the quality of the people of this continent. You called us “traffickers of humans and cultural goods.” Do you care to elaborate, especially about more than three centuries of black slavery, nearly one century of colonization, and neocolonialism, and paternalism that are going on forever?
There are no memorials for my ancestors in France, not even a stele! But they fought for the ideals of equality and fraternity that you are stepping on with your remarks. What’s the origin of the African relics preciously kept at the Louvres Museum and in French museums which stand as the pride of France? The worst part was when I heard you say that the billions of euros that you pour in our countries will not change our condition as long as our women continue to have between seven and nine children. My dear Emmanuel, your numbers are wrong, for the fertility rate in Africa was 4.7 children per woman in 2016. Even in 1950, it was 6.5 children per woman. With this reminder, let me make two points. The first about the volume of international aid, then on demography. Your predecessors had set the ceiling of rich countries’ international aid for poor countries at 0.7% of GDP because they felt, rightly so, that you had to pay for the wrong you have done to us by stealing our wealth and by taking away from us our brave warriors for over 400 years. Neither France, nor her cousin Great-Britain, both colonial powers, has reached 0.4% of GDP. And what happens when your aid reaches us? When it comes in the form of infrastructure, only your companies win the contracts at prices three times higher than necessary to do the work. Only your compatriots are hired in the top management, with exorbitant salaries. Only your material is used. When it comes in the form of scholarship, it’s in your economies that the students spend the money they are given. I’d be glad to recommend a few studies that point out the negative effects of aid on our economies, but I’m sure you have them.
About the number of children: as I said earlier, your numbers are wrong and your analysis is weak. But, you should have known—as it’s part of the seminary on Geopolitics that you most likely attended at ENA or Sciences po—that demography is a factor of wealth and is one of the five attributes of power, cf China, India, Nigeria, and others. You probably skipped that class, busy fooling around with Brigitte.
Oh, yeah, talking about Brigitte. Nobody in Africa is criticizing you for cuckolding a man of your father’s age—who, in fact, kindly took you under his roof—with a woman as old as your mother. Some will say it’s indecent, and will call you a traitor. But that’s your choice, which I respect! The bad mouths go so far as to say she is serving as a screen, as in the case of Philippot, to express your sexual orientation. Some will say that’s immoral, or that your sexual orientation is “civilizational,” but I am not going that far. What to say about your free choice not to have children? There again, I will refrain from searching through your underwear, but, please, leave those of our mothers alone!!! The funniest thing in all this is the frenzy with which some compatriots and African brothers are enjoying your condescending and paternalistic remarks, as if to run away from the real issue, or water it down. Some are doing so in order to avoid offending their French friends, or because they remember their stay in France, while others, more immoral, react that way in order to protect their “interests.” I have French friends, very good ones, for that matter, and I have touching memories of my short stay in that country. So I have no issues with the French or any hatred towards them, but rather with the French state whose leaders’ contempt and lack of culture we can no longer stand, especially when it comes to the history of humanity.
My very dear Emmanuel, you should know that poverty and wealth on the individual, national or continental scale are cyclical! Africa one time reigned over the world, remember, and its turn will return. So, on a brotherly basis, I ask you to repent about your remarks and to apologize to us so that this generation would not grow up with such humiliation.
Indeed, when our turn comes back, nobody would want the same grain of revenge that grew inside your German cousins as a result of the Nuremberg humiliation, to have grown in the conscience of two billion blacks. You are hereby warned!
Happy Independence Day.
Your African schoolmate,
Joël Teubissi Noutsa,
Former ENA student
Translated from French by The African’s Usman Mama