Thursday, 20 June 2013

* Chetan Ramchurn : "Mauritius needs to be Mauritius"

It is said, and the Cantino Planisphere would seem to lay credence to the hypothesis, that Mauritius was discovered by the Arabs as early as in the sixteenth century. Discovered it might have been, but we are in the third millennium it has yet to find itself. And 2013, even more than its predecessors, has been a year marked by the loss of bearings and a greater sense of suffocation. We are at war with ourselves.

While the many grudges we bear towards each other have origins dating back to times when we were yet to attain freedom, the post-independence leadership has been unable to heal the wounds. And why would it wish to do that? Division is of greater pecuniary significance to the many beggars that have occupied key roles at the helm of our country. Some of them having filled their coffers and sent their wards away from the mess created by them even talk, in the kind of faked pathos akin to political nonentities, of their sorrow at seeing young professionals leave for foreign shores.

Manipulated by string pullers, we gnaw at each other. So busy are we condemning our own that we seem oblivious to the obvious. Damnant quod non intellegunt. This was put into clear view and vehemently expressed on radio waves recently following the PRB issue. Bile was spewed without judgment on all those benefiting from a long overdue increase and private and public were pitched against each other by many…while the core of the matter remains the disparity between salaries in both sectors and the existence of fat cats. The latter are those having the last laugh at the expense of the many.

Further entangling us in the hate labyrinth are improvised thinkers who are offered platforms to further separate Mauritians from Mauritians. These specimens, who unfortunately never seem to be in short supply, talk at length about concepts they have come across in glossy magazines or formatted foreign TV shows. The solution that they keep assaulting on us is that our country needs to be Isle de France, Singapore remixed or Little India. Mauritius needs to be Mauritius. The copy and paste formula ingrained at school has done more than its fair share of damage.

This is Mauritius; former political failures posing as neutral observers, dynasties continuing to inflict themselves upon us, journalism relegated to cheap voyeurism, ministers wielding power to save their own skin and that of their close ones and abject failures fighting for power against utter fiascoes.  No, it is not about coming up with poorly scripted slogans to create buzz. It is about being bold and changing the system.

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