About being civilised: US and Mauritius Politics

obama_at_grant_park

Barack Obama was elected yesterday as the 44th President of the United States. It was an election that has been followed the world over since for the first time, the US would have a President of African Origin while Afro-Americans represent maybe 10% of the US.

So why does that interest me? After all I’m in the small island of Mauritius far far away from the US. Well the US is the last remaining super power and whatever they do is bound to have an effect on the whole world. But more than that, it’s just that in Mauritius, there is an unwritten rule which says that to be the Prime Minister (the equivalent of President in the US), you have to be of the right ethnic group and right caste in that group as well!

Of course some people will say, well Berenger was Prime Minister. Yes but he was not elected to be the Prime Minister directly. He had an agreement with Sir Anerood Jugnauth where the latter would be Prime minister for the first three years and he (Berenger) will be the Prime Minister for the remaining two years. So contrary to what many people are saying, we did not show the way to America! That’s total bullshit!

On the other hand, some Mauritians (many of whom gave Obama no chance at all) are now saying: well, America is different and you can’t compare the US to Mauritius. Indeed, they are right. They are just not civilised enough to be able to consider that a man can not be of their ethnic group and be a worthy leader!

In the US, it’s: Yes we can. Here it’s: No We can’t! … honestly we really can’t!!!

12 responses to “About being civilised: US and Mauritius Politics

  1. I so understand where you’re coming from. In my country Jamaica we had a female prime minister for the first time in 2006 and she was constantly snubbed because she came from among the poor.

  2. “In the US, it’s: Yes we can. Here it’s: No We can’t! … honestly we really can’t!!!”

    We really can’t what? So, we have to vote someone LIKE Obama (i.e. black, which he is not neither… Btw he’s a ‘metisse’), someone from a minority, someone who’s not (supposed to come) from the majority… What point are you making exactly?

    I think you miss something too: Mauritius was ruled by White people since the 1600s (were they not a minority?) and non-Whites have led for only a few decades (i.e. since Independence till now, except for that ‘bizarre oddity’ which happened in 2003). So we too are having our ‘Obama’…

    … and 95%+ black Amricans voted Obama and turnout (I well said turnout, i.e. the percentage of eligible black voters going to vote) was very high (almost double than 2004!). Sounds familiar? Looks like some old habits never die. Is this what you call ‘being civilised’?

  3. @ Bilbo
    I was expecting that kind of reaction🙂

    So

    1.
    Did I at any mention that we need to vote for a guy from a minority? I can’t see that in my post! What I want to say is that it’s stupid to not vote for someone just because he’s not of your colour, religion, …

    2. Mauritius was led by the white. We didn’t vote for them. They just happened to own the island and did what they wanted with it – can anyone do anything about that? Plus I can’t see you point, where do we have our ‘Obama’?

    3. The “black” voted in numbers. Yes but do you mean that Obama was elected only because black people voted for him? Get your figures right – they are a minority there! He was elected because white people voted for him too! That’s what I call civilised: being able to vote for the guy you think is the best irrespective of where he’s from, his skin colour, his religion,…

  4. 1. “Did I at any mention that we need to vote for a guy from a minority? I can’t see that in my post! What I want to say is that it’s stupid to not vote for someone just because he’s not of your colour, religion, …”

    I ask you the question: the fuss is surely about him being a minority…and he’s black too! The opportunity was there and it so happened that he got elected. That was my point.

    2. “Mauritius was led by the white. We didn’t vote for them. They just happened to own the island and did what they wanted with it – can anyone do anything about that? Plus I can’t see you point, where do we have our ‘Obama’?”

    Hmmm… And why did you bring Berenger in your blog post then? Why mention his name when you’re talking about Obama? And where does the caste issue come from in all that ‘Obama’ frenzy?

    3. “The “black” voted in numbers. Yes but do you mean that Obama was elected only because black people voted for him? Get your figures right – they are a minority there! ”

    I know they are a minority and voted massively. Get your figures right. How do you think McCain lost narrowly in Florida. Answer: the black vote. I do agree white people voted Obama, but just assume white people voted just like the blacks did…98% for McCain…that would have been interesting. As I said, the opportunity came and they voted in numbers. I don’t blame them and never will🙂

    4. “He was elected because white people voted for him too! That’s what I call civilised: being able to vote for the guy you think is the best irrespective of where he’s from, his skin colour, his religion,…”

    Come on… you’re kidding right. I too wished Hispanics and black people vote a white guy in the same proportions next time. That’s what I call civilised too, by not being a racist by not voting a white guy😉

  5. 1. Indeed the opportunity was here but they could have not voted for him! Voting for him shows they have no bias.

    2. Why Berenger? Berenger is a political leader but he’s from a minority like Obama but given that he’s in Mauritius (unlike Obama who is in the US) he hasn’t yet been able to become Prime Minister directly!

    3. The minority voted for Obama and so did the majority. Again the fact that the majority voted for someone from the minority since they thought he deserves it shows maturity which we unfortunately have not had yet here!

    4. We must wait and see for that. If a deserving white guy needs to fight against a poor black candidate. Then we’ll know. Now we can’t say that! Certainly not!

  6. 1. “Voting for him shows they have no bias. ”
    What is the definition of bias then?

    2. Nobody voted him directly (yes, directly) as a prime minister. Was it because Mauritians offer his opponents a cheap vote so that he’s not elected? Or are there some people who vote for him at all costs to see him as PM, but the so-called demographic reality prevents him from being elevated to the post of PM? Are we to blame? So why does he look up to members of the majority community as potential PMs when he has the full capacity to be one! Let us wait and see. Maybe you are young enough to live that long and witness any historic event😉

    3. This is true. This happened not only in the US. What about Sarkozy vs a Royale (a pure-blood Frenchie), a Roman Catholic as Japanese PM, an East German leading Germany… But do you mean that all this time, people who do not vote a minority candidate are not mature? I too wish minorities vote majority candidates too. I voted during the last general elections and mind you, I voted the ‘economy first’ just like many Americans, not by figuring out who belongs to ‘mo banne’🙂

    4. My answer: it’s not easy to judge on what grounds a candidate is elected. We must not be too quick to jump on conclusions esp. given that Barack is from a minority, it becomes a national craze and everybody looks for his own national Obama… as disgusting as L’Express reported last Sunday. Some Mauritians have a tendency to think outside the box…all but wrongly.

  7. 1. Def of bias: prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair

    2. I do hope that I will see this “historic” event. Things change and I’ll be very sad if I do not see the day when Mauritians decided to vote for what they think is the best one instead of just from their group.

    3. It’s not a question of voting for the minority. It’s a question of voting for the best one. My problem is when people do not even start to consider who is the best one but just vote for people coz he/she is from my group.

    4. I’ve not read L’Express. I think it’s a national craze coz people see a parallel between what happened in the US and what could happen here.

  8. Well Bilbo, it’s quite obvious that you’re not for a Mauritian Obama!!

    The closed-mindness of the majority of Mauritians urged me to leave the country 3 years ago and I can tell you from my own experience that elsewhere is way more civilised than Mauritius. The day Obama was elected, Perth city’s “Barrack street” was temporarily renamed to “Barack street”.

    And sadly Pascal, “Yes we can!” is very unlikely to ever happen in Mauritius.

  9. Americans voted for Obama, not because he is of mixed race descent, but because they felt that he was the best guy for the job- Somebody who could make a difference. Berenger was a political opportunist who is a racist, thriving on divisive racist politics, staking out the anti-hindu coalition as his birthright. I have no doubt that Mauritians will vote for anybody , white ,black or brown, who can demonstrate that he/she is better than the other candidate. But he/she has to have the political savvy of Obama, who harnessed the internet to get his message across. I have yet to see such a Mauritian. It is all too easy for a black Mauritian politician to identify him/herself to blacks, or a Muslim to identify with Muslims for his/her political base, as it is easy for a Hindu to identify with a Hindu political base. It will take a special Mauritian to transcend ethnic/religious boundaries for universal appeal- a Mauritian Obama. Until then guette tamasa –mange pistache..or mange pistache-guette tamasa…or something to this effect!

  10. Pingback: Comment on About being civilised: US and Mauritius Politics by … | Headlines Today·

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