Touria Prayag's Blog

Fanning the embers of ethnic division 10 October 2013

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on January 23, 2015

Well-intentioned people, Samaritans, philanthropists and well-wishers, put your hands together –
whichever side your religion dictates – and join me in a prayer: Thank you God for your kindness
and thoughtfulness. Thank you for sending us a saviour at this opportune time. Father Jocelyn
Grégoire has come all the way from Washington to save our bacon! Last time we heard of him, it was
after the former president of the republic had stepped down and there were rumours that the
government was going to be forced to hold an early election. Then, there was total silence until every
failed and aspiring politician we know suddenly found out that there are poor people in this country
and that they are even worth a visit or two.
And, like all those sent by thee to save us, Father Jocelyn Grégoire has been doing this very discreetly:
as soon as he landed, he gave a press conference, a press interview in our sister publication l’express
dimanche and is in the process of meeting politicians of all boards. All in the disinterested spirit of
helping others.
His all-too-altruistic fi ght is fi rst and foremost for the Creoles in this country. He is “tired of seeing
the rights of Creoles being trampled,” he says. Our dear priest even has a concrete example: the
Rodriguan squatters of Cité La Cure. Then he moves on to talk about all these qualifi ed people who
cannot get jobs and who are being discriminated against. Remember he had – in another life – asked
for quotas. He has since mellowed down. They all need jobs in the public sector and he is going to
talk to politicians to remedy the situation.
Now, of course no one is gullible enough to think that there is any meritocracy in this country in any
sphere of our lives. However, to reduce this debate – which we have several times highlighted – to an
ethnic aspect is pathetic, particularly in a country where traditional tribal values reign virtually
unchallenged among a large part of the population. Apart from fanning the embers of ethnic division
within the community, this kind of talk is demotivating even for the ones whose bacon the good priest
claims he has come to save. Discrimination – and this is not restricted to one community – should
be fought through established institutions, not on soap boxes at intervals during campaign periods.
After this divisive talk, as there are not enough votes – sorry, not enough Creoles – to help him
achieve the ambition he has now publically declared, our good priest calls on all the other minorities
to join his fi ght against injustice. He suddenly discovers – in the same way he discovered that the
Creoles were discriminated against by the other communities – that discrimination exists against
all communities. So all the Franco-Mauritians who are being discriminated against – there must
be loads of those – the Chinese, Muslims and sub-sections of the Hindu community, have been
invited to join the fi ght against injustice. Those of you who are not gullible enough to think that
politicians will solve your problems, please take your favourite tranquilliser. Mine is ear-plugs. I
strongly recommend it.


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