During his four-day traverse across Africa to promote relations between France and African nations, French President Emmanuel Macron lost his temper when asked about human-trafficking in Libya which has burgeoned following the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO, invasion of the African country.
In Burkina Faso, Macron spoke to a crowd at the University of Ouagadougou, and addressed his country’s colonial and exploitative past by saying that the “crimes of European colonization are indisputable.” The French president proposed a joint European-African plan to combat human trafficking in the region but quickly placed the burden of solving this problem on Africans themselves.
“In Libya, we’re engaged in diplomatic relations to find a political solution,” he said in his speech before quickly turning on local communities.
“Who are the traffickers? Ask yourselves – being the African youth – that question. You are unbelievable. Who are the traffickers? They are Africans, my friends. They are Africans. Ask yourselves the question.
“It’s not the French who are the traffickers, it’s the Africans. So everyone should understand the responsibility, and we’ve started to do that, to dismantle them. But stop the argument saying, ‘It’s someone else.’
“Show me a French, Belgian, German person, who carried out trafficking between Nigeria and Libya. This person doesn’t exist,” Macron added in his remarks. “So, these days in Africa, there are Africans who make other Africans slaves, this is the reality. And there are Europeans who benefit from this misery in Europe, it’s unacceptable. In both cases, these are crimes. We are fighting both cases.”
A student at the university in which the speech was delivered asked Macron about the presence of French soldiers in Africa, which seem to outnumber the number of African university students. Macron referred to the deaths of French soldiers in Africa, recommending that the student applaud the service of French soldiers.
Macron is no stranger to distasteful remarks as he has in the past said that continent’s problems are “civilisational” problems and blamed women that are having “seven or eight children.”
“The problems Africa face today are completely different … and are ‘civilisational’,” Macron told a reporter from the Ivory Coast during a G20 summit. “What are the problems? Failed states, complex democratic transitions and extremely difficult demographic transitions.”
At the time, French Libération newspaper pointed to research by a prominent political scientist, Françoise Vergès, by noting that French influence had lead to systemic underdevelopment, thus creating overpopulation issues.
“Third World women are made responsible for underdevelopment [but] most studies show today that it is underdevelopment that causes overpopulation,” Vergès wrote. “The theory of overpopulation also avoids questioning the role of colonialism and imperialism in poverty.”
Similarly, Macron’s reaction to Libya’s blossoming slave auctions avoided addressing the role of France in Libya’s fall from having the highest standard of living in the African continent, to a virtual failed state.
France was an instrumental part of the EU-NATO alliance as French jets led the invasion and struck Libyan military forces before allies followed close behind.
The instability resulting from the fall of Libya’s popular, revolutionary leader, Muammar Gaddafi, is widely credited as the catalyst for Libya’s descent into chaos.