mercredi 8 février 2012

Letter from a Pygmy to Claude Guéant,

By Serge Raffy, published in Le Nouvel Observateur on February 6, 2012.

Dear Sir, 
I am writing from the depths of the bush, from a tiny little dot on the horizon, somewhere along the line of the Equator, between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. My name is not going to say anything because I'm an insect for someone your size, so allow me to remain anonymous.
I am part of a tribe of small men. The greatest of us does not exceed 1.50 m. We are not dwarfs or deformed, or ugly, just adapted to our natural environment. We live for nothing, as your poor who live in large trees with concrete. We subsist by hunting and gathering. No doubt you know, our civilization is threatened with extinction. Natural logic would have us disappear. We are going to die soon.

Oh, Grand Toubab!

Last night, after a violent storm, the gods of the forest, through a toucan plumage moon, addressed to me and order respondent to write you. They told me: "You little man came out of nowhere, you have to open the world to the great civilization that exists on the planet beyond the seas. There, a white man in the eyes of lynx, carries all the supreme truths will give you the key ... The Great Gate of sesame, the Enlightenment ... "
         I did not quite understand the message came from heaven. They talked of the CAC 40, the large meadow in the Hauts-de-Seine, sundials no larger than mango leaves are known as Rolex, the country with thousands of tranquilizers. Home, Grand Toubab, we do not lag behind in a hammock. We do not try lice of his children, but those of its neighbors or coworkers.

There, in your field of magic, men never speak in front. They do not splutter on. They talk to machines. They also have blue windows in the neighborhoods where they own the world. Gathering information and rumors of the Great City occupies the day and night.        
  They had strange appendages to the ears that allow them to talk to their families on the other side of the earth. They are so powerful and sure of their strength they defy even the sun. They are demigods.
You who have attained the highest stage of development ...
Great Toubab, how your humble correspondent immersed in dense jungle, can it hope to be part of this wonderful civilization? How to join your glorious tribe? I ask you humbly, I who have the ability to listen to the sound of torrents at daybreak. The only waves that reach me are neither radio nor electromagnetic, but only those of the wind.
Should I take a canoe to reach the Great Civilization Triumphant flow or infiltrate an underground network? You who have attained the highest stage of development, what advice can you provide? Stay at home? Not to get off my baobab?
Toubab great, my heart is sad. Your answer is like an arrow of cyanide. Mr. Gueant, you're a Giant, if you take the "u" ... I wanted so much to learn from you. And what will I say to the gods of the forest who sent a scout to you? To do energy savings, the Dwarfs will always dwarf the Rolex and are out of stock?
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Dear Mr Serge Ruffy, 
I allowed myself to send your article verbatim to my fellow pygmy Diel Mochire. Not being a subscriber to the New Obsevateur, he has perhaps not been able to read your words and has not yet enjoyed all subtleties. And since it is difficult to access the Web from several corners of the Democratic Republic of Congo, I sent him your letter by mail on which you can also contact him at your convenience.
         But I doubt he is interested in intervening in a French election campaign that resembles more a bullfight. May the gods that you lend him to intervene before the killing of the bull. Without replacing him, I think he agrees with me that the French elections is an all-French affair and you should think about the descendants of slaves in the Caribbean or in the Réunion before  thinking pygmies. Never a pygmy would have been able to use the words of the MP Serge Letchimy because his civilsation is peaceful and pacifist.
And when you have the opportunity to visit the DRC, he will be happy to pick you up at N'jili airport in his car. In a air-conditioned office, he may expose what he thinks of French democracy. he will wexplain how the Genocide in Rwanda in 1994 has decimated his brothers Batwa, and how the French support of the Mobutu dictatorship allowed him to marginalize them before decimate them before his fall.
You will then turn in a Congolese regions where French companies in search of rare species of wood are involved in the massive destruction of the habitat of his brothers Bambuti.

         If Mochire Diel, who is the representative of the pygmies of the Democratic Republic of Congo had written to Mr. Claude Gueant, your minister of the interior for you, here's exactly what he would have asked him:

Dear Sir,
I am arrived in country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, after my participation in the formation of the Fellowship in 2011 in Geneva.
Feedback sessions at the base are still ongoing and a report will be sent to inform you and show you how the community benefited from this training.
Feedback sessions also involve political and administrative authorities of the country. Thus, the first feedback session was held in Kinshasa, on the occasion of the celebration of International Day of Indigenous Peoples, dated August 9 to 11, 2011, in which the Network of Indigenous Peoples of the DRC Pygmies organized a conference Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples Development pygmies in Congo.
Let me draw your attention to the alarming situation of indigenous pygmies living in the region and around national parks Maiko Tayna Kahuzi Biega and the province of North Kivu.
In this region which is inhabited by the indigenous pygmies, and other sites by local communities, UGADEC - a conservation organization - intends to create an ecological corridor. All the indigenous pygmies living on these sites are now covered by eviction because of this project.
For years, the indigenous Pygmies are victims of repeated evictions, which is the main cause of their misery, marginalization and discrimination in their country.
They have been evicted from forests that are now national parks Maiko, Tayna, Kahuzi Biega, Virunga, etc.. The result is that, currently, 80% of Indigenous Pygmies find themselves without land and condemned to beggary and extreme poverty.
We want this to stop. But if we want that indigenous peoples can no longer be plundered by these predators, the only hope remaining for the remaining land would Walikale that the sites included in the proposed ecological corridor is managed by the indigenous pygmies, in accordance Articles 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 and 32 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
What seems most serious is that this process has been launched without the indigenous pygmies and local communities were never consulted, as required, however the principle of free, prior and informed part of the international legal instruments to protect Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
That's why we ask for your support and your support to this argument to prevent the continuation of this process would be extremely serious consequences on the social, economic, political and indigenous cultural pygmies.
I would suggest - if you want to help - to write to the Congolese government and representatives of the United Nations in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Given this situation - and if nothing is done - the risk is great that the indigenous pygmies can do absolutely no vote in that area.
Thank you already for the special attention that you will give to the cause and the issue of indigenous pygmies in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Diel Mochire
Indigenous Felloswhip 2011
Deputy Director of PIDP
Phone: +243994305172

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