identity crisis : to be french in caribbean c\'est crazy
More than 20 years ago, Gen.
Charles de Gaulle, the first official visit of the French president to the French island of Martinique, shouted slogans and cheers to thousands of black and brown people and shouted to them: \"My God, my God, what a Frenchman you are!
Charles de Gaulle\'s words reflect the status and many realities of France and the Caribbean.
Since 1946, Martinique and its sister island, Guadalupe, have been French departments, legally as part of France as Normandy and Brittany.
But it involves more than legitimacy.
These islands have deep French culture.
However, not everyone will agree with Charles de Gaulle, both now and now. Dr.
Claude mark, leader of the independence movement on Guadalupe Island, said at a recent evening dinner: \"We are Caribbean people.
We are Americans.
\"Two miners in Guadalupe and Martinique will accept the description of Ma Cook ---
But only if they can call themselves French.
Only a small group of people in guadourpi agreed with Ma Cook\'s desire for independence.
There are even fewer independent followers in Martinique.
The two islands have a population of 650,000, and their economies are artificial, dependent, and depressed.
Some even call it a colonial economy.
The islands are attracting fewer tourists, producing almost nothing, and planting crops like sugar and bananas that are in recession.
Tourists are in vain when looking for any local product other than rum.
Souvenir shop in Guadalupe for sale T-
Shirts made in China, postcards printed in France in Europe, shells packed in the Philippines.
Workers were out of work for more than a quarter.
Government spending in Paris allowed the islands to continue.
While islanders may want something better than this, they don\'t want something worse.
They know that almost all citizens of the Caribbean independent countries are much worse than French citizens of Martinique and guadeloup.
There are some disturbing things in the Caribbean, France.
The island of Guadalupe has been plagued by separatist bombs and ethnic riots for the past few years.
Martinique escaped such violence.
Six years ago, however, when the deputy leader of the largest party announced \"European friends, starting to pack up, the white minority on the island was shocked.
While there is still time, let us separate like brothers.
\"But perhaps more important and troublesome is that the islands hit an outsider as a political conundrum.
Most islanders want to stay in France, but they also seem to want something else.
But it is not clear what it is.
A lot of political rhetoric is vague.
In early December, during an official visit to Martinique and Guadalupe, President Francois Mitterrand urged a dual identity, when he called for double identity in every speech made in every village and town on the island, it reflected this ambiguity.
Mitterrand stressed that his government\'s devolution program gave islanders more control over their affairs, and he told a group of people at Abymes in guadopeau, \"You can be a guadowa, treat yourself as a guadowa, treat yourself as a guadowa, and treat yourself as a guadowa, I have always been proud and happy to call myself a French citizen.
\"20 years ago, the inhabitants of the island may have overwhelmed Charles de Gaulle in their French language, but most other tourists from France may be more affected by the Caribbean islands and people.
It doesn\'t look like France. The islands don\'t look like France.
They are lazy, lush green, small and mountainous, narrow and crowded roads shrouded in over-growth of sugar cane and bananas.
Some of their antique buildings are decorated with elaborate bending deformation
In the 19 th century, French architects favored steel design in the tropics.
Like most others in the Caribbean, the French Islanders are a handsome mixed nation, mostly descendants of African slaves and partly descendants of colonial slaves.
Many speak Creole, a mixture of French vocabulary and African grammar developed in slave plantations, and still have the rhythm of the West African tonal language.
Despite these similarities, the influence of French culture and the special relationship between islanders and France did make matinique and Guadeloupe different from the rest of the Caribbean.
The career and attitude of the outstanding Martinique poet and politician Aime Cesaire may best illustrate this.
Philosophy of \"negraff\" 72-year-
Old Cesar, deputy mayor of Martinique, French National Assembly, Ford-de-
The chairman of the French and Martinique regional committees is the most powerful political leader on the island.
Found as a poet and a half
A hundred years ago, French surrealist Cesar and his friend, poet Leopold senhall, former president of Senegal, developed the philosophy of black consciousness known as \"Negrillo, this helps to create an independent movement among black Africa and black people.
Islands that ruled the Caribbean after World War II.
However, former Communists Cesar, who is now close to the Socialist Party, stopped calling for the independence of Martinique.
Although the deputy leader of the Cesar party warned French whites in 1979 to start packing, Cesar now only advocates increasing autonomy on the island.
Welcome Mitterrand at the quaint wooden theater in the Castlede-France\'s clock-
Cesaire\'s city building and the top City Hall, speaking in precise and elegant French, said that Martinique had completed \"a quiet revolution \", now is the time to shift from a political struggle to a fight against underdeveloped economies.
Residents of the island have to give up a lot for any independence.
In terms of social security benefits and various grants, the French government spends more than $1,800 a year on each islander than on taxes.
According to French law, the minimum hourly wage for the island\'s residents is guaranteed. -now $2. 90 an hour--
This is slightly lower than the minimum wage in mainland France, but far higher than the minimum wage in the rest of the Caribbean.
In addition, Islanders, as French citizens, have the right to find jobs in France, Europe, at any time.
More than 200,000 people live there now.
Contrast with the rest of the Caribbean.
Beggars do not strike up tourists on the street.
There are no scenes like Haiti, where groups of boys and old women oppose a potential customer in sultry hysteria, trying to sell pencils, soap fragments, blades, batteries.
On December, Mitterrand unexpectedly visited Guadalupe Island and stopped in a shantytown known as Boissard, just outside the town of Pointe --a-
Pittel promises that one day this stain on housing will be removed and replaced.
By French standards, Boissard is a shame.
However, by the standards of the Caribbean and the rest of the Third World, this is far from the case.
Boissard is a poor and crowded area where many people live in wooden and corrugated sheds.
But the pipes carry water to their homes and there are sewers.
In spite of poverty, there is still order and cleanliness in the narrow, twisted, makeshift dirt streets.
There are also signs of relative affluence: cars, large stucco houses, shops that stock up on food.
There was no despair in Jamaica, no dirtiness and chaos in Haiti, and no Cottage in Honduras.
Many independent countries will be proud to have shantytowns like Boissard, not those that clog the city.
The prices paid by BenefitsMartinique and Guadeloupe cost the benefits of their French status.
Their dependence on the French economy has been deepening, making it increasingly difficult for them to get rid of the unreal economy.
On top of that, the islands, as a legitimate part of France, were not able to get help from President Reagan\'s regional aid program, the Caribbean Basin Initiative.
There may also be psychological costs.
There is always a slight hint in relations with France that islanders are not equal to their fellow Europeans or political leaders from Paris.
Although Mitterrand made an official visit to all parts of France, not just to the overseas sector, his recent official visit to the islands of matinik and Guadeloupe is still colonial, the great white president dropped from the sky on a Concorde plane to meet his dark goal.
It is difficult to break the psychological colonial model.
France took over the two islands in the 17 th century.
The French killed the local Indians and then brought in African slave labor to turn the colony into a rich sugar producer.
The French Revolution has partly divided the future of the islands.
The British used the revolution to occupy Martinique, a move that freed the settlers from revolutionary unrest.
White and mixed
However, the leader of the race of Guadalupe stood on the wrong side of the revolution and was later killed in large numbers.
As a result, a lamp
In Martinique, the elite continues to grow, while Guadalupe needs to develop new leadership.
As the people of Guadalupe were dissatisfied with the preferential treatment they thought the people of Martinique had received, a competition emerged.
\"It\'s not our fault,\" said a school teacher in the town of Ducos Martinique. \"If the French government has its military headquarters in Martinique, if they have the university principal here, but we are blamed by the people of Guadalupe.
We are all French. Paris is the one who made these decisions, but they blame us.
\"The differences of the past may have led to the differences of the present.
Unlike Martinique, the island of Guadalupe has been shaken over the past few years by an outbreak of anger against France.
In these most famous places, Pointe-a-
Pitter was paralyzed last summer by rioters demanding parole for a Guadalupe Island prisoner who was sentenced to wielding a machete and cutting a black student.
The riots did not subside until the prisoner on hunger strike was released.
The most shocking incident was that last year, four radical nationalists, guadlopias, were killed by a premature explosion in a bomb they carried.
In the past few years, four bystanders have been killed by other explosions.
If these events were to be used as a reflection of widespread discontent in France, it would be wrong.
In the last presidential election in May 1981, the voters of Martinique and Guadalupe, regardless of the strength of the left-wing parties, cast three votes for former president Valery gikard Destin, he voted for it.
There is only one problem in the campaign.
Rumours of Mitterrand\'s weakness in the French Caribbean have spread that, if elected, he intends to move the two islands towards independence.
Voters in the two French departments, Martinique and Guadalupe, will not be involved in the operation.