Blaming Azerbaijan for New Caledonia’s quest for independence
    French colonial hypocrisy

    ANALYTICS  17 May 2024 - 16:45

    Murad Abiyev

    Don't pit a hole for others. You are sure to fall in yourself. This simple wisdom is only conditionally applicable to the situation around New Caledonia and France's relations with Azerbaijan. Why with a certain degree of conventionality? Because, in contrast to the problem of the Karabakh Armenians, which has been blown out of proportion and faded into oblivion by France, the issue of self-determination of the Caledonian Kanaks is one of the most acute issues on the anti-colonial agenda. Located 17.000 kilometers away from Europe, New Caledonia, unlike Karabakh, the heart of Azerbaijan, has never been an integral part of France, but became a part of France as a result of the latter's colonial policy of conquest. Sooner or later the Kanaks had to intensify their struggle.

    The Baku Initiative Group and 14 political movements fighting for independence in the last French colonies - Kanak (New Caledonia), Maohi Nui (French Polynesia), French Guiana, Martinique, Guadeloupe and Corsica - issued a joint statement. "The deliberate desire of the French state, which positions itself as a 'human rights country' and at the same time tramples on the Kanak people's right to self-determination, to expand its electorate in order to leave the Kanak people a minority in their own land is leading to the aggravation of the current situation," the statement underlined.

    Paris may temporarily drown the Kanak rebellion in blood, but it is obvious that its policy in the long term only contributes to the aggravation of the situation, to the hatred between the native and the newcomer population. France, boasting its ambitions as a high-tech power, is using rude and crude colonial tools to solve the problem of the islands. In this struggle, France is doomed to collapse. Suppressing the just aspirations of the Kanaks may restore peace and quiet "in the kingdom" for a while, but it will cause the Fifth Republic enormous reputational damage. In the long run, however, war, revolution, a Kanak victory, and the shameful expulsion of the French colonial administration await the islands.

    As if anticipating this fiasco in advance, the confused officials of the Fifth Republic found nothing more effective than to once again lay the blame for the events on... Azerbaijan. Thus, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin made absurd accusations against Azerbaijan in connection with the events in New Caledonia. In an interview with France-2 TV channel, the Minister accused Azerbaijan of "interference" in the riots in New Caledonia. The Interior Minister also said that the supporters of independence allegedly made some kind of "deal" with Azerbaijan.

    However, the minister did not stop there and "in between" also accused Azerbaijan of "massacre of Armenians". Take a look at the following excerpt of the interview.

    Journalist: "Do you think there is a factor of external intervention in the events in New Caledonia? A few days ago, in the legislative commission of the Assembly, you, noting the role of Azerbaijan, condemned the disastrous intervention. Is this a fantasy or a reality?"

    Minister Darmanin: "About Azerbaijan, it is reality, not fantasy. It is a dictatorship that massacred a part of Armenians. I also regret that some of the supporters of Caledonian independence are cooperating with Azerbaijan. This cannot be denied. And they (leaders cooperating with Azerbaijan) call it democracy".

    Then, apparently realizing that he looked ridiculous along with the entire republic, the minister added something contradicting his own statement: "But I must say that today no country, despite all attempts, has the resources to manage the violence in New Caledonia, even if there are attempts to intervene.

    Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry responded to the French minister's outburst.

    "First and foremost, we once again strongly condemn the French side’s insulting expressions against Azerbaijan and urge to stop the smear campaign against Azerbaijan with unacceptable accusations, such as the massacre of Armenians.

    It would be more appropriate if the French Minister of the Interior recalled the history of his country committing crimes against humanity toward local peoples and the brutal murder of millions of innocent people as part of its colonial policy implemented for many years.

    Moreover, instead of accusing Azerbaijan of allegedly supporting pro-independence protests in New Caledonia, the Minister of the Interior of France should focus on his country’s failed policy towards the overseas territories that led to such protests. We once again call on France to stop baseless claims against our country,” the statement by Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry said.

    This is not first accusation of Azerbaijan by Darmanin. Recently, he spoke before the Legislative Commission of the National Assembly, where he condemned the signing by the Milli Majlis of Azerbaijan of a memorandum of cooperation with the Congress of New Caledonia, calling Baku's actions, as La Tribune reports, "an extremely destructive interference".

    In other words, the Kanaks, in front of whose eyes they are being forcibly assimilated, turned into second-class people, actually ethnic cleansing, it turns out, are waiting for an order from Baku to rise up against this blatant arbitrariness. One does not need to be a seven-fingered man to see the big picture: instead of comprehensively understanding the problem and trying to find a just solution (an unjust solution in colonial politics is always a postponement), French officials are eager to appoint a shooter - the young South Caucasian republic. This is not only ridiculous, but also highly unprofessional.

    One might be tempted to respond to Darmanin with an imperishable phrase from Soviet classics: "People like you disgrace the republic. But that would be too superficial. The very system of governance in France has degenerated to such an extent that people who do not quite adequately perceive the world around them speak on its behalf. The constant whining of the minister of a "great" power about Azerbaijan only increases the feeling of shame. It seems that the figures of the Fifth Republic lack even a minimum of reason to realize this.


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