Saturday, April 15, 2017

France gives citizenship to 28 African WW2 veterans

It is today in France that president Francois Hollande awards twenty eight Africans citizenship for their participation in fighting for the country during World War 2. This is a huge step towards something that I believed had ended decades ago, but apparently still has some stigma today. Decolonization started in 1945 and kept going, as other nations got inspired to abandon the authorities that had plagued their traditions with ideas of inferiority in terms of race, language, and religion. Most of the award recipients are from Senegal, which was colonized by France, and to read that these people fought for the country of their colonizers is absolutely revolutionary. It is especially revolutionary when one remembers the feeling of oppression encountered by the Algerians upon French colonization. This award did not come without hardships, though, as initially France did not see African veterans as equal to French veterans. This was recalled by the African soldiers through an incident in 1944 where lots of West Africans were killed by French soldiers when they rebelled against them for unequal pay as well as pensions. This inspired the daughter of one of the Senegalese veterans to create a petition for veterans rights that got all the needed signatures in less than one week. Due to the awards given to them, these veterans now have benefits, including travel.

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