Touria Prayag's Blog

L’express Weekly, 6 May 2011

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on May 9, 2011

pdf weekly 6 may

From silent obscurity
to outrageous fame

We did not have the opportunity to savour Mrs. Patil’s
decoration at the University of Mauritius last week as
the ceremony was overshadowed by an unexpected incident:
Aurore Perraud grabbing the headlines through her
comments and tears after she was prevented from walking on the red
carpet and sitting next to her PPS colleagues. We are not insensitive to
Mrs. Perraud’s tears. People have a different physical and psychological
pain threshold and we fully sympathize. We have never had the privilege
of wiping our shoes on a red carpet but we can make the difference
between a red carpet rolled out by the diplomatic service and a carpet
which happens to be red and which is thrown in by the University of
Mauritius. Had Mrs. Perraud done her homework, she would have
avoided herself a lot of embarrassment and would have avoided the
country such a bitter polemic. She would also have sat where her position
entitles her to sit. Rising from obscurity and being propelled to
a high position should not stop one from being humble enough to
realize that sitting in the Legislative Assembly does not entitle one to
ALL privileges. The protocol is an international convention and if our
MPs are going to cry every time they are not allowed to ignore it, then
it should perhaps be scrapped.
How an incident about a carpet and a mishandled seating arrangement
turned into a racist polemic involving the Voice of Hindu
and the Creole sectarian groups is honestly beyond the grasp of any
rational mind. If Aurore Perraud found in the humiliating incident
an opportunity to at last introduce herself to the public and talk
about her hairstyle, good on her. We are not, however, inclined to
follow her in giving a racist slant to the incident.
What I am incensed by is how some politicians use every opportunity
to gain political mileage. We, thus, suddenly have an MP who
has sacrifi ced her “children, family, career and entire life” to serve the
underprivileged; a rather inaccurate description of sitting idly in parliament
for a few hours a week and travelling business class at the expense
of the taxpayer. Claiming that she has devoted herself to “defending the
cause of equality and social justice” goes against her own statement that
what she has done so far is accept one public humiliation after another,
a price she must have found small enough to pay for frequent overseas
joyrides and drawing a salary for warming up her place in the silent
obscurity of the back benches of parliament.
But putting the drama of the awful shame of the sacrifi ced career
aside, someone who entered the National Assembly through the communal
back door as a ‘best loser’ can ill-afford to stand against discrimination
with such blatant hypocrisy. Some incompetent person may have
erred by directing Aurore Perraud to a seat reserved for a PPS which
she is not entitled to sit on, but defl ecting the issue to one of race and
hairstyle and trying to appear as a martyr is equally wrong. Mrs. Peraud
is free to wear the hairstyle she wants, and to give her the compliment
she has desperately been fi shing for, we fi nd it rather attractive. But
brazenly grabbing the opportunity to make the incident a racial battle
is ill-advised and we would be wrong to fan such fl ames. It is dangerous
for the country. It is unbecoming of an MP.


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