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More Trouble in France: Mayotte Riots

Why did France keep so many overseas dependencies or counties, whatever the cost? One explanation is that they have been part of the French destiny for several centuries, or have been partially settled by European French. Another is that when the decisions were made to keep them in between 1945 and 1970, the cost seemed quite low both in financial and political terms. Geopolitical interests were also at stake: in order to become a nuclear power, France needed Polynesia as a testing ground. In order to become a spatial power, France needed the Kourou launch site in Guyane. And controlling hundreds of islands and islets all over the world means controlling huge exclusive maritime zones around them: France is second in the world in this respect with 11,035,000 square kilometers, just behind the United States.

In order to keep such an empire in a postcolonial and politically correct age, one has to fully integrate the overseas realms in legal terms, or at least overflow them with benefits and privileges. The cost, for France, has been very high, and is getting higher year after year.

It does not stop there. Most DOM’s are seen as shortcuts to Mainland France by potential illegal immigrants from the rest of the world. Day after day, French-speaking Haitians and English, Spanish, or Portuguese-speaking Caribbeans or Latin Americans infiltrate the West Indian DOM’s or Guyane for that purpose. The same holds true for many Africans who flock to Indian Ocean France and especially to Mayotte, which is both geographically closer and more poorly managed than Reunion Island, one of the oldest -- and ethnically most balanced -- French overseas territories. According to Bernard Lugan, one of the best French experts on Africa, pregnant women from the Comoros, Madagascar, East Africa, or even the Democratic Republic of the Congo come to Mayotte to give birth. Under French law, any child born on French soil is granted citizenship. And all his or her relatives may be allowed, under family reunion dispensations, to join him and live with him on French soil as well.

The major case against the French politically correct neo-empire is that it doesn’t work well even in the overseas territories. There were riots in the French Caribbean islands in the late 2000s because the locals had a feeling that they were too far behind the French average in per capita income. And now, there is Mayotte.