I will like to consider myself a conscious traveller when visiting new places especially if those places (countries) have had interactions in the past with my beloved Africa (Afrique). This impetus was first imbibed in me as a student visiting Hong Kong in the early 2000s; we were doing late night crawling in Kowloon night market when the local police jumped out of their vans with batons to round up Chinese from the mainland for deportation. I wonder if this still occurs today since Beijing now has full control over the former British enclave.
This is in parallel to what I witnessed on a recent trip to Paris and suburbs – the City of Love. I like to look and feel beyond the aesthetic beauty of the Eiffel and the lovely boutiques displaying their arrays of luxury items on the Champs Elysees or the charming and soothing view of the River Seine.
On my many trips to this great city I have always chosen to stay and visit the beauty spots only; however, I decided to take the family to other parts especially where the Africans resides legally and illegally – Chateau Rouge.
Oh Boy, I must say I was disappointed. My disappointed primarily lies with Africa. A continent that has continually allowed ethnic, religion and political issues; be it internal or externally imposed to stalled our developments and greatness thus allowing our young men and women to take huge personal risks to sojourn across the Sahara to conflicted Libya for further voyage to become unwanted labourers in another man’s country with no documentation.
What does it mean to live in a country where you have no status?
It means no right to live, no right to education, no right to welfare, in essence no right to LIFE thereby casting aspersion on the Universal Suffrage the city of Paris is known for. This further illustrates why these young men will take more risks by jumping into Lorries at Calais to cross the channel into Dover. If I ignorantly did not understand in the past, I do now. Any man would take such risk, because the bottom line is you die penniless on the streets in the
City of Love. It appears the city of love is not reciprocating love to the illegals in Chateau Rouge.
Equally, was also disappointed to see police harassing and conducting raids in the markets where these ordinary people are trying to earn a living by selling roasted corn to their fellow kinsfolk.
Generally, any city of international reckoning will also have its own dark underbelly exposed by events as has been demonstrated across major cities from Grenfell in London, to protests in Charlottesville and more.
My summation is two-fold. Firstly, in other to stem the flow of illegal immigration to the west; the western nations (France, Britain, Germany) must not only use their influence to effect positive political changes but must move sincerely to remove the remaining invisible shackles of colonization that still restrict Africa from real development and freedom.
Secondly, African authorities and her people must move beyond real or ‘imagined’ issues of ethnicity, tribal affiliations and endemic corruption to know that it is the continent that bears the lost when her youths are roaming aimlessly and rudderless in countries that refused them legal entry.
Please feel free to comment, share and debate.
Thank you for reading!