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French Caribbean, Palestine, Israel: Economic Boycott?

French West Indians and Caribbeans have expressed their solidarity with the population in Gaza in many ways since the bombings began. By early January, the French and Creole-speaking Caribbean blogosphere had already echoed much of the reactions and opinions in the population; there were posts [Fr] announcing the organization of rallies in Martinique, statements [Fr] of intellectuals like Raphaël Confiant, and the Muslim Community of Guadeloupe posting a call for action and support.

Thousands of miles away from the Middle East, most West Indians empathized with Gazawis, shown dying or suffering on TV. This empathy is explained by Zandwonis, when he addresses a Guadeloupean politician about the Israeli attack over Gaza [Fr] on January 12th:

Comment à l’époque de la globalisation, du « village mondial » voulez-vous que nous ne soyons pas solidaires des 350 enfants massacrés par l’armée israélienne? Comment voulez-vous que nous Guadeloupéens peuple issu de l’esclavage, peuple installé sur cette terre après le génocide des Amérindiens, nous soyons sourds et muets aux malheurs qui s’abattent sur des êtres humains vivants au Proche Orient ?

How can you imagine that, at the time of globalization, when the world becomes a “global village”, Guadeloupean people wouldn't sympathize with the 350 children killed by the IDF? How can you imagine that We, Guadeloupeans, a people born in slavery and settled on this island after the genocide of Native Americans, could be deaf and dumb when such terrible evils befall human beings in the Middle East?

This partly explains the general understanding for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez‘s stance on this issue: he and his government expressed their support to Palestine by expelling the Israeli diplomatic staff. Here [Fr], blogger Mabool quotes Martinican author Raphaël Confiant, who praised the decision. In his speech entitled “African and Caribbean states should follow the example of Venezuela” [Fr], published and reproduced many times, Confiant states his opinion:

Une nouvelle fois, le chef de la révolution bolivarienne, Hugo Chavez, vient nous désigner la voie de la dignité et de la résistance en expulsant l’ambassadeur israélien au Venezuela.

Once again, the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, Hugo Chavez, has just pointed out the way towards dignity and resistance by showing the Israeli ambassador the way out of Venezuela.

Although a controversial ceasefire has been decided upon, people in the French Caribbean islands have not been pacified at all. This goes a long way to explaining the latest Martinique-based campaign, designed to show support to the victims in Gaza and “retaliate” at the economic level.

In CaribCreoleOne, a question is asked: “Do Caribbean people fund the Israeli war?” For the blogger, the answer is found in two household furniture and electrical appliances superstores, located in Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana, “Conforama” and “But“. It is rumoured that the three heads of the company which owns the two stores in the Caribbean, have some involvement in pro-Israeli lobbying and funding. It is with caution then, that CaribCreoleOne lists the alleged links between the CEOs and Israel, asking this final question:

Peut-on conclure que l'argent que nous dépensons dans les magasins Conforama et But sert à financer les bombes au phosphore qui ont été lâchées sur les civils palestiniens ? La question est d'actualité et mérite d'y réfléchir

Are we now able to say that money spent at Conforama or But is funding the phosphor bombs used on Palestinian civilians? The question is up to date and is worth being thought over.

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