Discours de dakar

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Geopolitics – Assignment 1

1) What representations does Sarkozy make or imply of Africa, of France and of the historical relationship between them? (Use quotes from the speech to support youranswer.)

* Sarkozy describes Africa as a stupid continent who doesn’t think and who isn’t the master of its destiny, as a victim who doesn’t take things in hands and doesn’t want to evolve: “Thisneed, (…), to believe rather than to understand, to feel rather than to reason, this need to be in harmony rather than to conquer.”
The president presented the African as a man prisoner of hisculture, stood out by the irrationality and the incapacity to envisage the future: “The tragedy of Africa is that the African has not fully entered into history” or “In this universe where nature commandsall (…) [The African] rests immobile in the centre of a static order where everything seems to have been written beforehand”. He speaks about Africa as if there hasn’t been any progress at all sincethe colonisers first came.

* The representation he made about the relationship between France and Africa is also interesting. He relieved France of all the culpability of the colonisation,saying that “Colonisation is not responsible for all the current difficulties of Africa. It is not responsible for the bloody wars between Africans, for the genocides, for the dictators, the fanaticism,the corruption, the prevarication, the waste and the pollution” and he also said that the colonisers were “sincere”, “men of goodwill”.

* France is hence represented as a good country who actedwith all the best intention and who had no mean to “pillage resources”. Sarkozy also put the emphasis on the fact that France also “gave” to Africans: “[The coloniser] built bridges, roads, hospitals,dispensaries and schools. He turned virgin soil fertile. He gave of his effort, his work, his know-how”

2) What underlying interests might be represented in Sarkozy’s speech?