Friday, November 26, 2004

Compaoré on solidarity

Just when I thought Jacques Chirac was the hypocrite du jour, along comes Blaise Compaoré.

I was astonished to read this essay in the French daily Le Monde. It's an opinion by Burkina Faso's strongman Blaise Compaoré that argues 'For more solidarity among French-speaking countries.'

Burkina's capital Ouagadougou is to host the upcoming Francophonie summit. La Francophonie is a grouping primarily of former French colonies; basically an attempt by France to copy the British Commonwealth.

Compaoré boasts of how his country respects the international protection of human rights by having signed and ratified most accords on the matter. The education of the rights and responsibilities of the citizen constitutes an important part of government action.

In an interview with the pan-African magazine Jeune Afrique/L'Intelligent, Compaoré responded to accusations that his country hosts opposition figures from other nations: "Is it normal that, in the 21st century, a regime forces its adversaries into exil?... If liberties are guaranteed, there is no reason for opponents to flee elsewhere. It's wiser to dialogue with those who've fled their country than to denounce hypothetical interference from neighbors..."

Not surprisingly, the Burkinabé opposition might beg to differ. And the Burkinabé press too.

More gallingly, Compaoré writes in Le Monde that: The principal combat of [the Francophonie] community consists of encouraging cultures, religions and civilizations to better listen to, accept and become closer to one another.

Compaoré is a close friend of that notorious African meddler Col. Gadaffi of Libya. The Burkina leader has been accused of destabilizing fell Francophonie members Côte d'Ivoire, Togo and Mauritania, to say nothing of anglophone neighbors Liberia and Sierra Leone.

So Compaoré is lecturing the world on solidarity? What's next? Joseph Kony on respect for human rights? The Ivorian 'Young Patriots' on tolerance?

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