[Opinion] Mauritians would prefer their country to be part of Britain again
I am currently backpacking around Mauritius, a beautiful honeymoon island in the Indian Ocean. On March 12th, 1968, Mauritius gained independence from British rule, and this March 12th was the 49th independence anniversary celebration in Port Louis, Mauritius’ capital.
I went to the capital for the day to check out the independence day celebration, but it turned out that there was no one celebrating! The city was quiet.
The official celebration started at 5pm that evening and yet the last buses to head back home left at 6pm. I don’t know if it was just bad organization, but there was no information about the event on the internet and the people I spoke to had no idea what actually happens because they had never been to the celebration and were not intending to go this time, either.
We are told that Mauritius is a democratic island paradise, Britain gave back its colonies because it was the right thing to do, and the USA’s close relationship with Britain is rooted in a historic friendship based on such shared moral principles as the desire for a fair and democratic world.
What if there were an alternative perspective to these statements?
It has been fascinating for me to learn from the Mauritians I’ve spoken to that they would actually prefer it if Mauritius were part of Britain again.
They speak of the corruption in government as the main reason for this, and they often give the example of how politicians are directly involved in the importation of (synthetic) drugs, like heroin, which are causing serious problems for their children on the island.
One local man who I spent two evenings with on the beach in La Preneuse told me that a Mauritian politician had recently been caught at the airport with 25 billion rupees’ worth of heroin concealed in sealed pesticide canisters. Apparently, the politician paid off the judge and got away with it in court.
Many Mauritians also suggest that it is the money politicians are making from their involvement in drugs which leads them to crack down so harshly on marijuana which, as a plant, can be grown quite easily by the locals thanks to the island’s climate.
Another man told me that last Aug/Sept there was a demonstration for the legalization of marijuana in the capital, and the police came and beat up the demonstrators, throwing many of them in prison. We hear none of this in the news.
While on the topic of Mauritian independence from Britain, this also reminds me of a documentary I once watched on British TV, but what it said I’ve never seen on TV again, and it is completely ignored in our history books.
The USA wanted greater access to the markets of the British colonies and to their natural resources, and they also wanted to prevent communism from infiltrating British colonies, which they saw as a distinct possibility.
So after WWII, when Great Britain was economically bankrupt, the country took out a loan with the USA to help rebuild itself. This loan was taken out on July 15th 1946 and was paid off in 2006 — 61 years later.
As part of the so-called ‘Anglo-American Loan Agreement’, the USA agreed to support the UK financially in exchange for Britain not implementing the Labour government’s welfare reforms and withdrawing from all major overseas commitments; in other words, dissolving the British Empire.
Now I hasten to add that I have very negative views about the British government’s policies today and if you want to see how terribly we treated the indigenous peoples of our colonies during the British Empire, I highly recommend watching the incredible film Rabbit Proof Fence (about Australia), but I am a strong believer in critical thought and not just accepting the information we are given in our mainstream media.
The mainstream picture we are painted serves a certain purpose. It shapes our beliefs and attitudes towards other countries and peoples.
I think the important thing is to be open to alternative perspectives that make our world a little less black and white and a little more multi-dimensional, and the above ‘hidden’ or ‘untold’ perspectives provide alternative information on Mauritius, the UK, and the USA.
One beauty of roaming the world is that we get to speak to other peoples in other countries and find out such alternative perspectives on what we are being told directly from the people who live there.
In the Philippines, for example, everyone I spoke to loves their president who, they say, has indeed ordered the police there to shoot-to-kill if drug users run from the police but, at the same time, he offers free rehabilitation services for any drug users who come forward to the police. More importantly for the locals, the streets in the Philippines are finally becoming safe again for the ordinary average citizen.
Now I am a pacifist and strongly against killing anyone, but the Western media do not report this perspective. They only present the president of the Philippines as a tyrant. Why?
Could it be because at the same time he is openly speaking out against the economic grip the USA holds over the country, he is also making deals with Russia and China? After all, we know that Russia and China are bad while the USA is good.
Ultimately, the question that we should always ask ourselves is WHY our media is choosing to present us with one perspective of ‘the truth’ or the reality in which we live, and what purpose does that perspective serve in shaping our beliefs and attitudes?
This is the foundation of critical thought.