Daniel Delomez, the mayor of the town of Annezin in northern France, confirmed Monday that he will step down because “(he did) not want to devote (his) life to assholes,” after finding out that over 38 percent of his constituents voted for far-right candidate Marin Le Pen the night before.
He told local media that the results of the first round were a “catastrophe,” but later apologized for the “excessive” word used to refer to his constituents. He said his reaction was due to the “shock and anger” that was directed at people he assumed voted for Le Pen.
Delomez belongs to the Socialist Party, which faced a record low in Sunday’s elections possibly leading to its erasure from the French political map.
However, leftist leader Jean-Luc Melenchon ranked first in Annezin with over 19 percent of support — a sign that Le Pen’s electoral base may not just consist in “assholes” but also people who feel abandoned by traditional parties and are interested in new proposals.
The Socialist Party was managing the country during the five past years with President Francois Hollande, who became the most unpopular president in French modern history. Hollande implemented a neoliberal economic and political agenda with the help and advice of former investment banker Emmanuel Macron, who is due to face Le Pen in the runoff vote on May 7.
UN Appeals for $2.1 Billion to Avoid Starvation in Yemen
On Tuesday U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed for a total of US$2.1 billion in aid to avoid the “starving of an entire generation,” in Yemen.
The request was made at the commencement of a donor session conference in Geneva. “On average, a child under the age of five dies of preventable causes in Yemen every 10 minutes,” said Guterres, adding that, “this means 50 children in Yemen will die during today’s conference and all of those deaths could have been prevented.”
Even if aid is provided, getting assistance to the Yemeni people amid the war-torn country may prove to be a serious challenge. It has been reported that the Saudi-led coalition may continue to target the strategic port of Hodeidah.
According to U.N. officials, nearly two-thirds of the Yemeni population — approximately 19 million people — are in need of emergency assistance. UNICEF’s Mideast and North Africa Director Geert Cappelaere told AP, “There is no single country in the world where, today, children are suffering more than in Yemen.”
Robert Mardini, Red Cross’s regional director for the Middle East, told RT, “Saying that the humanitarian situation is catastrophic is certainly an understatement. Today in Yemen we have teams on the ground and they bear witness every day of the immense suffering of the Yemeni people.”
Yemen’s hunger emergency is mostly due to the Saudi-led, US-backed military campaign against the country. The U.N. has sharply criticized previous attacks on the country’s main port of Hodeidah which has obstructed attempts to import food and fuel supplies.
5 Ways the British Empire Ruthlessly Exploited India
According to a YouGov poll in 2016, 43 percent of British citizens thought the existence of the British Empire was a “good thing,” while only 19 percent disagreed. It’s a myth that British imperialism benefited one of its richest colonies, India, when on the contrary it drained all its wealth and resources just like colonizers do.
“They don’t talk about the colonial textbooks, it should be taught as part of the history because after all, it is their history. It’s also about acknowledging their past and learning about their ex-colonies. Denial is the worst thing,” said Assistant Professor of History Ruchika Sharma at Gargi College, Delhi University.
1. First traders, then colonizers
The British East India Company made its sneaky entry through the Indian port of Surat in 1608. Originally the company started with a group of merchants trying to seek a monopoly over trade operations in the East Indies. In 1615, Thomas Row one of the members approached the ruling Mughal emperor Jehangir to gain permission to open the first factory in Surat.
Slowly as they expanded their trade operations, the British started forming colonies. Penetrating deep into Indian politics, the imperialists took advantage of the infighting between the ruling royalty in different states, pitting one against the other by taking sides and offering protection.
To monitor the activities of the company, the British government installed the first governor general of India, Warren Hastings, who laid the administrative foundation for subsequent British consolidation. The East India Act of 1784 was passed to dissolve the monopoly of the East India Company and put the British government in charge. After the Indian Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, the British government assumed full control, disolving the trading company.
Imperial rule destroyed India’s local hand looming industry to fund its own industrialization. India became one of the major cotton exporters to the U.K. The raw materials from India were taken to the U.K. and the finished products were sent back to Indian markets and other parts of the world, leaving the Indian handloom industry in shambles and taking jobs away from local weavers.
India, that was one of the major exporters of finished products became an importer of British goods as its world share of exports fell from 27 percent to 2 percent. India was once referred to as “Sone ki Chidiya” or “The Golden Bird” before the British looters drained all its wealth. At the beginning of the 18th century, India’s share of the world economy was 23 percent, as large as all of Europe put together, but by the time the British were kicked out of India in 1947, it had dropped to less than 4 percent, according to the BBC.
2. How the British Empire starved India
The last famine in India, in Bengal between 1943 and 1944, claimed over four million lives. The Bengal famine — also referred to as the man-made famine — between 1943 and 1944 claimed over four million lives and is said to have been engineered as part of an unsympathetic and ruthless economic agenda, according to Rakhi Chakraborty’s book titled, “The Bengal Famine: How the British Engineered the Worst Genocide in Human History for Profit.”
Madhusree Mukerjee, a U.S.-based journalist, points out in her book, “Churchill’s Secret War: The British Empire and the Ravaging of India During World War II,” that U.K. Prime Minister Winston Churchill ignored farmers’ pleas for emergency food aid, leaving millions to starve as their rice paddy fields were turned over to jute production. Mukerjee cites ministry records that reveal ships carrying cereals from Australia bypassed India on their way to the Mediterranean Sea where supplies were already abundant, the Telegraph reported.
According to Crimes of Britain, during the Bihar famine of 1873, the so-called “relief efforts” were deemed “excessive.” The British didn’t intend to end the misery caused by the famine but instead devised a strategy to prolong the starvation. The people suffering the famine, in what the empire called the “distance test” were made to walk over 10 miles to and from the relief works, according to the Crimes of Britain. The food provided at these slave labor camps where the annual death rate in 1877 was 94 percent was less than that provided at the Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald.
3. Stolen from the language of the oppressed
Imparting the English language was a colonial instrument designed to help the British empire oppress the Indian masses. The strategic decision by the East India Company was made to create a class of Indians, the “Babus,” who could act as a bridge between the millions of Indians who didn’t speak the language. Secretary to the Board of Control Lord Macaulay, in a nasty 1835 “Minute on Education,” urged the Governor-General to teach English to a minority of Indians, reasoning, “We must do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indians in blood and color, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect.”
In their 200 years of rule, the British couldn’t help but steal words from local Indian languages that are now part of the English vocabulary. Ironically, one of the first words that they took was “loot” equivalent to “plunder.” According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word was rarely heard outside the plains of north India until the late 18th century, after which it became a commonly used term across the U.K. Some other common words stolen from the subcontinent include bungalow, cheetah, chutney, juggernaut, maharaja, mantra, nirvana, pundit, thug, veranda, pyjama, shampoo and bangle, among others.
4. Indian Railways: “Dogs and Indians not allowed”
In 1843, Governor-General Charles Hardinge said the construction of railways would benefit the empire and help with “the commerce, government and military control of the country.” The railroad was paid for by Indian taxpayers. The British shareholders claimed the investments guaranteed massive returns.
The colonizers were only interested in exploiting India’s natural resources as they transported items such as coal, iron ore, cotton and other natural resources to ports for the British to ship home to use in their factories. Indians were prohibited from riding in first class compartments in the trains that they helped build even if they could afford it as the first compartments were labeled as “Dogs and Indians are not allowed.” Thousands of Indian workers died during the construction of the railroads.
5. The Imperialist policy of Divide and Conquer
The British Empire adopted the age-old political strategy of divide and conquer throughout their colonization of India. The occupiers used the strategy to turn locals against each other to help them rule the region. Whenever the British felt threatened by Indian nationalism and saw it growing, they divided the Indian people along religious lines.
In 1905, Viceroy of India Lord Curzon partitioned Bengal dividing the largely Muslim-dominated eastern section from the Hindu dominated western part. But the strategy didn’t last long as Bengal was reunited in 1911. After oppressing India for 200 years, draining its wealth and filling their own coffers, the U.K. ripped the Indian subcontinent into pieces just before they finally left. The partition of 1947 that came along with India’s independence left nearly one million dead and 13 million displaced. Billions of dollars were lost in property left behind.