Segregationist policy in the heart of Europe
    Corsica - a pain in the neck for Paris

    ANALYTICS  17 March 2023 - 14:21

    Huseyn Safarov

    An international conference titled "Islamophobia as a Specific Form of Racism and Discrimination: New Global and Transnational Challenges" dedicated to the International Day against Islamophobia was held in Baku on March 15-16 with the support of the Baku International Centre for Multiculturalism, the Centre for Analysis of International Relations and the G20 Forum of Interreligious Dialogue.

    The conference was attended by residents from 32 countries, including scholars, clerics, experts from international agencies and non-governmental organisations. The main issue on the agenda was the consideration of approaches to combating Islamophobia, its manifestations in some countries of Europe, and the world media. The purpose of the event was to provide an academic platform for discussing worrying trends against Muslims and countries with Muslim populations.

    Participants noted that in Europe, discrimination has become a problem not only for Muslims but also for members of other faiths. It is particularly acute in France, where along with Islamophobia there are other dangerous forms of human enmity and even outright hostility. The French Republic, which positions itself as the cradle of democracy and almost the most tolerant country in the world, has long traditionally discriminated against a minority such as the Corsicans. As recently as a week ago, Corsican deputies were banned from using their native language during debates in the local parliament. The court in its ruling cited an article in the French constitution that French is the only language allowed in the performance of public duties. According to the court, the long-standing tradition of the Corsican assembly to allow the Corsican language for debates "is unconstitutional" and should therefore be reconsidered. And the judges did not limit themselves to the language issue and ruled that the very provision "for the existence of the Corsican people" was also a violation of the country's constitution. In fact, the Fifth Republic questioned the very existence of the Corsican ethnos.

    For this reason, a public discussion on "The Corsican Question and Violation of Fundamental Human Rights" was held at the initiative of NGOs in the framework of the international conference "Islamophobia as a Specific Form of Racism and Discrimination: New Global and Transnational Challenges". The discussions were moderated by Saadat Bananyarli, Chairperson of the Azerbaijan National Branch of the International Society for Human Rights.

    Speaking at the discussions MP Asim Mollazadeh said the latest developments in France have created a dangerous situation, and pointed out that this is a blatant disregard for European values and principles. "How, according to what laws, has a population of 150,000 people lost the right to be called a people?" the MP wondered.

    Mollazadeh, like the other panelists, expressed his belief that the small ethnic group that has lived on the island of Corsica since biblical times has a right to its language. "Corsicans will try to defend their rights. It is not possible that there is such a situation in the centre of Europe. While the problem persists, the French government wants to deal with a certain so-called 'Artsakh' issue. I believe that the French people will find a way out of this dangerous situation. This is a violation of the principles of freedom and fraternity of the French Republic," Mollazadeh said.

    In turn, the head of the Azerbaijan Journalists Network Public Association Ayaz Mirzoyev, who spoke at the public debate, said that the ban on the Corsican language is another clear sign of aggression from France. "This decision has caused fair protests not only from Corsicans but also from the international law-respecting European public. It is necessary to recall the historical crimes committed by France in North Africa and the Arab countries. France does not want to part with its historic colonial claims. This country must abide by international law and respect moral values.

    The prohibition of the Corsican language is a shameful event for humanity, said MP Malahat Ibragimizi. She noted that France is the country that has the most active colonial policy in the world. Though this policy seems to be eliminated, France continues new colonial expansion. "Unfortunately, France is now the centre of religious colonial politics in the truest sense of the word. France's violation of basic principles towards national minorities, committing crimes in this direction has become widespread. I think the issue of Corsica is a wake-up call in this direction. Amidst all this, French President Emmanuel Macron is advocating the so-called 'rights' of the bogus 'state' in the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan. France is interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. Today, France supports the separatist tendencies of Armenians living in Karabakh," she said.

    Chairman of the Youth Organization of the Non-Aligned Movement Ordukhan Kahramanzadeh brought to the attention of the audience that official Paris pursues a policy of linguistic discrimination against Corsica. By abolishing the right to use the local language in Corsica, France has violated the requirements of the international documents it supports. Among these documents is the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, the most important document of the French Revolution in 1789, which defined individual human rights. The recent judgment of the Bastia Court, as well as France's policy of discrimination against Corsicans in the first place, are in violation of Article 11 of the Declaration. The policy of colonisation and assimilation pursued by the French government should be more severely condemned by a public that respects international law".

    MP Kamal Jafarov is of the same opinion. He said France's policy towards Corsica is inhumane: "Corsicans want to speak their language, but France does not allow it. France considers this behaviour of Corsicans to be contradictory. The Corsican language is spoken by 150,000 people. Teaching is allowed in English but not in Corsican".

    In fact, official Paris, represented by President Macron, by banning Corsicans from communicating in state institutions and conducting paperwork in their native language, is showing the whole world what double standards are.

    Incidentally, the Corsican language is still not on the list of languages allowed to be taught in France, although back in 1951 France passed a law, La loi Deixonne, which allowed the study of regional languages as part of the general education curriculum. Despite this, the law still considers Corsican a dialect of Italian and classifies it as a foreign language.

    Macron himself, however, zealously defends Armenia's separatist agenda and does not recognise the rights, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan. But when it comes to France, and specifically to the issue of the autonomy of Corsica, he demonstrates exactly the opposite position. Moreover, after Azerbaijan's victory in the 44-day war, Macron acts as an ambassador for Karabakh separatist gangs not only in Europe but all over the world.

    Meanwhile, France is known worldwide for its tough policy towards national minorities. There is only one officially recognized nation in the country, and it is the French, and only one language, French. And Macron, to please populism, claims to be willing to give Corsica more autonomy, but in reality, as we can see, forbids Corsicans even to speak their own language.

    The more outrageous are France's claims against Azerbaijan with regard to the Armenian population of Karabakh, which is by no means autochthonous. Moreover, the Azerbaijani authorities do not even think of forbidding Armenians to speak their own language. However, instead of taking care of preserving the identity of its own people, Paris is concerned about the "violation" of the rights of Armenians of Karabakh, which is tens of thousands of kilometres away from France. And while European and Western institutions play the famous composition of the three monkey figures, France, having taken Armenian terrorists under its wing, will terrorise the civilians of Corsica under the pretext of "anti-terrorism measures", while simultaneously telling the world community about the rule of democracy and human rights.


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