|The flag of Kanaky|
Need another reason to be in favor of independence for France’s colony of New Caledonia? Here’s one: Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s neo-fascist, immigrant-bashing Front National (F.N., or National Front) party is against it. Nonetheless, she visited New Caledonia’s capital, Nouméa, recently, and told a crowd that she wanted New Caledonians to vote on independence as soon as possible. This is mainly because she fears a delayed vote is more likely to result in the loss of the colony.
|New Caledonia’s location in the South Pacific|
|Nouméa Accord signatories meeting last year|
Secondly: right now the two main anti-independence parties, le Rassemblement–U.M.P. and Avenir Ensemble, control just over half the seats in New Caledonia’ territorial legislature, while separatists occupy only 8 of the body’s 54 seats. This does not at all reflect actual sentiment in the islands, which divides pretty closely along racial lines. Instead, it reflects how deeply divided the squabbling pro-independence factions are, which has led many Kanakas to vote for the white parties in hopes of more political stability. But anti-French and anti-colonialist feeling is still strong among Kanakas, and a delayed vote would also increase the possibility that separatist would find common cause and tip the political balance, while colonialist forces could falter or experience their own divisions.
Already, many pro-French leaders are seeing the possibility of a narrow result against independence stoking indigenous resentment, perhaps violently. So some New Caledonians who want to remain in France realize that it may never be able to do so peacefully and are preparing to vote “yes” to independence as the lesser of two evils. This is only one of the splits that could threaten the anti-independence coalition and dilute its message.
|Nicolas Sarkozy in New Caledonia|
|Marine Le Pen with a swastika on her forehead,|
as displayed at a Madonna concert which ran afoul of European laws for such things.
(Sorry, it was the most flattering picture of her I could find.)
[You can read more about Kanaky, (French) Polynesia, and many other separatist and new-nation movements, both famous and obscure, in my new book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas just published by Litwin Books under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements and Aspirant Nations, from Abkhazia to Zanzibar. The book, which contains 46 maps and 554 flags (or, more accurately, 554 flag images), is available for order now on Amazon. Meanwhile, please “like” the book (even if you haven’t read it yet) on Facebook and see this interview for more information on the book.]