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Journée de la Décolonisation

Published: August 7, 2019

Painting earlier in the day

Bonjour !  Hello! Today's theme was 'decolonization,' which focused on the process and lasting effects that French rule had on many countries, such as Algeria, Burkina Faso, and Guinea.  We learned about some of the consequences of colonization which persist today, including arbitrary borders, the repression and loss of minority languages, and the mandated implementation of French economic and educational systems, in our veillée  (program) this evening. 

Reading the demands for independence

For the veillée, villagers and counselors divided into groups of countries that were colonized by France. Each group then wrote a letter demanding independence from France, led by a historical figure of decolonisation such as Um Nyobé, an anti-colonialist leader from Cameroon, or Marie Koré, the first female resister from Ivory Coast. After having read these letters to the "French government," French representatives tried to convince the country groups that they couldn't exist without the French: education, economic sectors, and even monetary systems had been taken over by the French government. Guinea was liberated, however, many other countries' leaders were captured or imprisoned! Negotiations began between the French and the countries, with France demanding either complete submission or threatening complete isolation. 

Sharing our perspectives

After this rather intense simulation, we had a debrief in English. Villagers spoke about how unfair the situation was for the colonies, and how they felt throughout the simulation. We also discussed how the actions of a government do not necessarily represent the wishes of its citizens, in the case of France, but also how colonization is not distant history; Algeria won its independence from France in 1962. The discussion was somewhat heavy, but the villagers and counselors alike had a lot of knowledge and valuable perspectives to contribute-- be sure to ask your villager what they learned during this simulation. 

To cooperation and compassion,

Eliénore

For more photos from today, click here!