+3906689791 scrivici@era.ong
Politica e lingue

AMBITIOUS FRANCOPHONE SUMMIT OPENS IN VIETNAM

AMBITIOUS FRANCOPHONE SUMMIT OPENS IN VIETNAM

HANOI, NOV 14 (REUTERS) – THE CLUB OF FRANCOPHONE NATIONS OPENED ITS SEVENTH SUMMIT IN HANOI ON FRIDAY, WITH GRAND AMBITIONS TO TURN THEIR COMMUNITY INTO A POLITICAL FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH ON THE WORLD STAGE.
IT IS THE FIRST TIME THAT LA FRANCOPHONIE, A LOOSE ASSOCIATION OF 47 MEMBER AND TWO OBSERVER COUNTRIES, HAS HELD ITS BIENNIAL MEETING IN ASIA. AND IT IS THE FIRST TIME THAT COMMUNIST VIETNAM, NOT SO LONG AGO A VIRTUAL PARIAH STATE, HAS HOSTED AN INTERNATIONAL SUMMIT.
THE SUMMIT, WHICH WILL RUN UNTIL SUNDAY, OPENED IN A SPLASH OF CEREMONY, WITH VIETNAMESE CHILDREN SINGING AND WOMEN IN THE TRADITIONAL AO DAI DRESS.
BUT THE VENUE — A CONCRETE MONOLITH #BUILT WITH SOVIET AID IN THE 1980S KNOWN AS THE VIET-XO FRIENDSHIP PALACE — WAS A STARK REMINDER THAT VIETNAM’S LINKS WITH ITS FORMER FRENCH RULERS HAVE WORN THIN SINCE INDOCHINA WAS BROKEN UP IN 1954.
ESTIMATES OF THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO SPEAK FRENCH IN VIETNAM RANGE FROM 70,000 TO 500,000: EITHER WAY IT IS VERY FEW FOR A COUNTRY OF 77 MILLION PEOPLE.
VIETNAM IS NOT ALONE AMONG FRANCOPHONE COUNTRIES WHICH HAVE EITHER FAILED TO KEEP, OR NEVER HAD, FRENCH IN COMMON USAGE. IN EGPYT, FOR EXAMPLE, JUST 0.4 PERCENT OF THE POPULATION SPEAKS THE LANGUAGE COMPETENTLY.
LA FRANCOPHONIE SAYS IT IS NOT SO MUCH A GUARDIAN OF THE FRENCH LANGUAGE ANY MORE, RATHER A DEFENDER OF POLITICAL, CULTURAL AND LINGUISTIC PLURALISM IN THE FACE OF CREEPING GLOBALISATION.
FEW SAY IT PUBLICLY, BUT MANY SEE THE GROUP AS A BUFFER AGAINST ANGLO-SAXON — OR EVEN SPECIFICALLY AMERICAN — VALUES, THINKING AND ECONOMICS.
IN A BID TO MAKE THAT STAND MORE EFFECTIVE, LA FRANCOPHONIE WILL ELECT ITS FIRST-EVER SECRETARY GENERAL AT THE HANOI SUMMIT.
"FROM NOW ON, FRANCOPHONIE WILL HAVE ONE VOICE AND ONE FACE," FRENCH PRESIDENT JACQUES CHIRAC TOLD THE OPENING CEREMONY.
FORMER UNITED NATIONS’ CHIEF AND EX-DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER OF EGYPT BOUTROS BOUTROS-GHALI WILL STAND ALONE FOR THE JOB. IRONICALLY, HE WAS CHAMPIONED BY PARIS FOR A SECOND TERM AT THE UNITED NATIONS, BUT FAILED TO WIN IT BECAUSE OF STRONG OPPOSITION FROM WASHINGTON.
HOWEVER, EVEN BEFORE THE SUMMIT GOT UNDER WAY, THE PROBLEM OF TRYING TO MAKE A CONSENSUS-DRIVEN CLUB OF HUGELY DISPARATE MEMBERS TACKLE MORE SENSITIVE ISSUES BECAME APPARENT.
SEVERAL WEST AFRICAN STATES OBJECTED TO BOUTROS-GHALI’S NOMINATION BECAUSE THEY CONSIDER HIM AN ARAB AND ALSO FRANCE’S CHOSEN CANDIDATE. A DECISION ON WHETHER TO CUT HIS MANDATE TO TWO YEARS FROM FOUR WILL BE TAKEN DURING THE SUMMIT.
THE RUN-UP TO THE MEETING HAS ALSO BEEN OVERSHADOWED BY THE QUESTION OF VIETNAM’S HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD AND ITS CONTINUED PRODUCTION AND EXPORT OF LANDMINES.
FRENCH PRESIDENT JACQUES CHIRAC, ON A STATE VISIT TO VIETNAM BEFORE THE SUMMIT, SOFT-PEDALLED ON THE RIGHTS ISSUE AND SNIPED AT LOBBY GROUPS WHO HAD MADE A FUSS ABOUT IT EARLIER IN THE WEEK.
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH ON FRIDAY SAID SEVERAL FRANCOPHONE STATES MERITED CRITICISM FOR CONTINUING TO PRODUCE LANDMINES, BUT SINGLED OUT HANOI’S POSITION ON THE ISSUE AS "AN AFFRONT TO HUMANITY".
REUTERS
14-11-97

Lascia un commento

0:00
0:00