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Clamour for independence and New Caledonia’s political future 

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The crisis in New Caledonia, where the indigenous population has launched a struggle for their rights against the French administration, raises fears of a new round of imperialism and colonialism. In the context of global geopolitical confrontation and economic crisis, the US, UK, and other countries of the “golden billion” are quite ready for any measures to seize natural resources and maintain their dominance.

The riots and clashes in the French Pacific possessions, where Paris tried to revise the rules of elections and referendums in favor of white settlers, bring to mind the conflicts of the era of colonial empires. Captured in the nineteenth century, New Caledonia had gone through all the difficulties and crises experienced by other countries and peoples that had fallen under the rule of European powers.

For a century and a half, the indigenous population, mainly Kanak, suffered from disease, and lack of health care and education, and was gradually replaced by French settlers and laborers imported from Asia. Even today, the Kanak population accounts for less than 40 percent of the total population of the archipelago, leaving the Kanak almost entirely without influence over important decisions about their destiny. Thanks to this imbalance, the French administration has already won three referendums to retain control of New Caledonia, forever depriving the islanders of the possibility of independence.

The mass protests and clashes that broke out a fortnight ago were also provoked by Paris, which has planned yet another reform favorable to it that will result in more newcomers from the metropolis having the right to vote in local elections. The moves on the part of President Emmanuel Macron are said to have provoked justifiable indignation on the part of the Kanaks, who are losing what remains of their influence on key decisions about their future.

Critics say the manipulation of the law and gross violation of justice should be seen only in the revival of colonial policy and its worst practices. France, once the second-largest colonial empire, has been rapidly losing its influence in its former overseas possessions in recent years. Although the French formally relinquished their power over most of the countries invaded in the 19th and 20th centuries, many African states were under the control of Paris, which maintained some semblance of its influence on them. There have been accusations of exploitation of the natural resources of these countries, amid poverty and misery of the people.

New Caledonia is as important to France in this regard, just like African countries that are now expelling former colonizers. The situation on the island, where French soldiers are now defending the authority of the metropolis, could certainly be repeated in other overseas possessions of European countries, especially given that France, Britain, the Netherlands, and Spain still control the remnants of their once vast colonial empires in the twenty-first century.

Recent happenings have left some holding the view that the only way today to prevent the tragedies that have already occurred during the heyday of imperialism and colonialism is to consolidate all those nations that could at any moment attract predatory attention.

Proponents of platforms such as BRICS believe that the forum is creating new alliances and availing more opportunities in the present world order compared to the situation back in the nineteenth century.

Agencies
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