Saturday, May 9, 2015


Easy to confuse Mauritius with Mauritania, but only because the names are similar. Mauritius is a really rather gorgeous volcanic island in the Indian ocean, east of Madagascar, a paradise of lagoons and white beaches – much the same sand that you will find in Mauritania, but somehow sand makes for a good habitation when it’s on the beach, whereas it just makes for a bad death when it’s inland. 

What makes Mauritius stand out is the way in which it has defied human nature for decades. It used to be dependent on sugar for its economy, and sugar was both slave-manufacture and profits-elsewhere; but now it produces textiles for home-use as well as export, provides the world with a significant banking centre, specialises in out-sourcing, and of course there is tourism. Not to mention its constitution, which is thoroughly democratic, generally functions by coalition governments, and looks after the rights of all the many cultures that comprise its population: Asians, Europeans and Africans.

And you just read that paragraph, and believed me? Never believe anything you read in the media, not even an independent blog like this one! Or believe it, but only after you have carefully deconstructed its propagandistic euphemisms, and it still remains credible.

* textiles for home-use as well as export - low-wage jobs in poor conditions

a significant banking centre - euphemism for tax haven and money laundering

specialises in out-sourcing - humanoids on telephones earning a pittance

tourism - service industry work, where the quality of obsequiousness determines the quantity of the gratuity

the many cultures that comprise... - about one-third of the population are the descendants of African slaves (yes, they even took slaves to countries as close to home as this), who live in dire poverty and are thoroughly discriminated against.

It was in Mauritius incidentally that the dodo was hunted to extinction in the 17th century, and there are significant numbers of other species, both flora and fauna, that are severely threatened – tourism the biggest cause of this because, well you don’t need me to explain how people discover “unspoiled” places, see money to be made from bringing lots of people to gaze in wonder at them, and then spoil them by doing so. Though it would be hard to spoil the extraordinary seven-coloured earth, which is shown in the picture above (actually, on reflection, it wouldn't be that hard: graffiti could be scrawled or sprayed on it, agents for Islamic State could blow it up, speculators could cut it into shards and sell it as art to rich collectors, thousands of feet could scratch it into greyness...)

On the subject of coalition governments, I happen to be a great fan of coalition governments. Oligarchies everywhere will tell you that coalition governments prevent anyone from doing anything, because the minorities you depend on hold you back, demanding concessions that you are reluctant to give, at threat of pulling out. So coalitions don’t last long, and another election reconstitutes another coalition, but the beauty of the system (look at Italy, Sweden, Israel) is precisely what the oligarchs complain about. Nothing gets done. Oligarchs come with ideologies, and insist on interfering. Change the tax system, change it back again; change the education system, change it back again; nationalise, denationalise, renationalise, redenationalise. Interfere – and generally for the worse. 
Or have a large enough majority to impose your despotism. Governments should stick to agreeing a budget, maintaining the police and army, doing international diplomacy, and cutting ribbons; that and nothing else. If politicians were actually prohibited from holding opinions, let alone ideologies, but simply elected to agree and administer the items mentioned above, peace and prosperity would probably dawn upon the Earth in, well, about the time it takes to hold a new election under the new constitution.

Marks for: 3

Marks against: 3

Copyright © 2015 David Prashker
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The Argaman Press

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