Rwanda drops French as official language

#1
An interesting shift in geopolitics if true.

Gwynne Dyer: Rwanda abandons French language
By Gwynne Dyer
Just over half of Africa’s 52 countries speak French, but the number is dropping. This month, Rwanda defected, announcing that henceforward only English will be taught in the schools. It would not be overstating the case to say that this caused alarm and despondency in France.

You couldn’t help feeling, either, that Rwanda’s trade and industry minister, Vincent Karega, was deliberately rubbing salt in the wound when he explained why French was being scrapped. “French is spoken only in France, some parts of West Africa, and parts of Canada and Switzerland,” he said. (In parts of Belgium, too, actually, not to mention Haiti, but you get the point.) “English has emerged as a backbone for growth and development not only in the region but around the globe.”

No country cares more passionately for its language than France, and it has waged a long and expensive campaign to guarantee the survival of a French-speaking zone in Central and West Africa. It even provided the bulk of the foreign aid for the former Belgian colonies that spoke French: Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi. But the present government of Rwanda has special reasons not to be fond of France.
More here
 
#2
In Rwanda a lot of the do speak English already. It appears that the country was never a strickty francophone one, but has always been more mixed.
 
#3
Actually, they are just dropping it from the Schools... I should read the piece before posting

:oops:

However, this seems to be a bit of a kick in the soft parts for France.
I have nothing against the French, but I imagine of the inevitable wailing and gnashing of teeth would be the same over here if some ex-colony changed their language away from English?
 

old_fat_and_hairy

LE
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
#4
Schleswig-Holstein said:
Actually, they are just dropping it from the Schools... I should read the piece before posting

:oops:

However, this seems to be a bit of a kick in the soft parts for France.
I have nothing against the French, but I imagine of the inevitable wailing and gnashing of teeth would be the same over here if some ex-colony changed their language away from English?
Oh, I don't know. We didn't mind too much when the Americans did.
 

BiscuitsAB

LE
Moderator
#5
old_fat_and_hairy said:
Schleswig-Holstein said:
Actually, they are just dropping it from the Schools... I should read the piece before posting

:oops:

However, this seems to be a bit of a kick in the soft parts for France.
I have nothing against the French, but I imagine of the inevitable wailing and gnashing of teeth would be the same over here if some ex-colony changed their language away from English?
Oh, I don't know. We didn't mind too much when the Americans did.
Nice !
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#7
We may have given up our empire, but our culture and language still rules the world!
 
#8
Is it at all possible that this may be a subtle revenge for France's somewhat dubious approach to Rwanda's internal affairs pre collapse with France alleged to have supplied the Hutu and was still meddling in Rwanda in 2007.......?

Having a quick look on the web suggests that the Tutsi now loathe, detest and despise the french..............

Poor France..... :D
 
#9
Kitmarlowe said:
Having a quick look on the web suggests that the Tutsi now loathe, detest and despise the french..............
Does that make the BNP Tutsis? :twisted:
 
#10
old_fat_and_hairy said:
Schleswig-Holstein said:
Actually, they are just dropping it from the Schools... I should read the piece before posting

:oops:

However, this seems to be a bit of a kick in the soft parts for France.
I have nothing against the French, but I imagine of the inevitable wailing and gnashing of teeth would be the same over here if some ex-colony changed their language away from English?
Oh, I don't know. We didn't mind too much when the Americans did.
I do so wish I had said that :D
 
#11
A sudden thought crossed my mind......If the British Police is aware of any members of the French Civil Service, Armed Forces or Government having enaged in activity that aided or abetted geniocide......Should they nick em...? I'm asking as it appears quite legal to now nick foreigners for comitting various crimes in other parts of the world

And another point...If the Police are aware of any member of HM's Government who has knowledge of any activity by said French that aided or abetted said genocide and did not report their information to the police, Can they be niced as well?
 
#12
English is the main language of the world, so.........
 
#13
rickshaw-major said:
old_fat_and_hairy said:
Schleswig-Holstein said:
Actually, they are just dropping it from the Schools... I should read the piece before posting

:oops:

However, this seems to be a bit of a kick in the soft parts for France.
I have nothing against the French, but I imagine of the inevitable wailing and gnashing of teeth would be the same over here if some ex-colony changed their language away from English?
Oh, I don't know. We didn't mind too much when the Americans did.
I do so wish I had said that :D
"You will Oscar, you will" (Whistler)
 
#14
Kitmarlowe said:
A sudden thought crossed my mind......If the British Police is aware of any members of the French Civil Service, Armed Forces or Government having enaged in activity that aided or abetted geniocide......Should they nick em...? I'm asking as it appears quite legal to now nick foreigners for comitting various crimes in other parts of the world

And another point...If the Police are aware of any member of HM's Government who has knowledge of any activity by said French that aided or abetted said genocide and did not report their information to the police, Can they be niced as well?
It would be a political decision but the answer is yes seeing as crimes of genocide are crimes which have universal jurisdiction. This means the alleged perpetrator can be arrested and tried anywhere in the world. However, as both the UK and France are both members of the ICC they would be handed over to the Prosecutor of the ICC as it now has jurisdiction. If the genocide was that committed in Rwanda during the last crisis then they would be handed over to the ICTR as it has the best jurisdiction.

If however, you were referring to the Australian man extradicted to Germany a few weeks back, I'd suggest you go back and read that thread properly before you got back on the outrage bus. The crimes he committed occurred in Germany and were not of universal jurisdiction. Hence, he was arrested and then extradicted to them to be tried. As mentioned in that thread it means criminals cannot just move to another country to escape being punished.



Anyway, back on topic. I think a lot of African countries now teach English in schools, especially those that have had the UN in post-conflict. It has been known for the UN to name English as a national language in a country where English was not widely spoken. I'm still yet to speak an African person who cannot speak English no matter where they are from and how many other languages they speak.

It tends to make it a lot easier in trade discussions etc on a national level and for tourism etc on a local level. I actually had a German friend moan at me because some German people she met whilst travelling hadn't bothered to learn English, she really couldn't understand it.
 
#15
My family & I were on holdiay in Vietnam a couple of years ago. English has replaced French as their second language. The only time my schoolboy French came into use was with an aged nun in Hanoi at the Christmas Day Mass.

Wandering around the lake that Senator MacCain knows so well :wink: , we were often hailed in English by young & old alike. They all seemed very please to have a chance to practice upon Westerners.

A pal of mine works out there and one of the Government ministers wanted to get his son a job with my pal's company. The first hurdle was that the son did not speak any English and the idea was dropped. However, my pal learnt soon after that the minister's daughter was studying hard on her English.
 
#16
jest265 said:
Kitmarlowe said:
A sudden thought crossed my mind......If the British Police is aware of any members of the French Civil Service, Armed Forces or Government having enaged in activity that aided or abetted geniocide......Should they nick em...? I'm asking as it appears quite legal to now nick foreigners for comitting various crimes in other parts of the world

And another point...If the Police are aware of any member of HM's Government who has knowledge of any activity by said French that aided or abetted said genocide and did not report their information to the police, Can they be niced as well?
It would be a political decision but the answer is yes seeing as crimes of genocide are crimes which have universal jurisdiction. This means the alleged perpetrator can be arrested and tried anywhere in the world. However, as both the UK and France are both members of the ICC they would be handed over to the Prosecutor of the ICC as it now has jurisdiction. If the genocide was that committed in Rwanda during the last crisis then they would be handed over to the ICTR as it has the best jurisdiction.

If however, you were referring to the Australian man extradicted to Germany a few weeks back, I'd suggest you go back and read that thread properly before you got back on the outrage bus. The crimes he committed occurred in Germany and were not of universal jurisdiction. Hence, he was arrested and then extradicted to them to be tried. As mentioned in that thread it means criminals cannot just move to another country to escape being punished.

Anyway, back on topic. I think a lot of African countries now teach English in schools, especially those that have had the UN in post-conflict. It has been known for the UN to name English as a national language in a country where English was not widely spoken. I'm still yet to speak an African person who cannot speak English no matter where they are from and how many other languages they speak.
God Good....! Nowt to do with that thread, that's a completely different issue. Something prompted my querry because I dimly recalled something in the news about an attempted arrest on such grounds of someone flying through the UK. It prompted me to wonder about the value of such laws if their application is flawed by external pressures. And ask that question. As quite clearly, what the ponit of passing a law that you are going to ignore because it punishes the "wrong people"?
 
#17
Schleswig-Holstein said:
Actually, they are just dropping it from the Schools... I should read the piece before posting

:oops:

However, this seems to be a bit of a kick in the soft parts for France.
I have nothing against the French, but I imagine of the inevitable wailing and gnashing of teeth would be the same over here if some ex-colony changed their language away from English?
Interestingly several ex-colonies mooted binning English as an official language, India being the biggest. However it was found that in practice it would have been a bad move as one national language would have to be declared official thus giving an unfair advantage to one part of the country over the others.
Also the second language teaching was set up for English and the whole system would have had to be revamped. India for example has a huge number of newspapers in English, and unless I am mistaken, universities teach at least partly in English.
Hence English was retained for practical reasons, not through love of the Imperial power or the language itself, a decision which now proves to be practical.

Where I live we have the Frogs just over the border and a generation ago everybody learned French as a second language. Now it is all English, and universities are beginning to teach some components in the language of The Isles. I tell them it is our quiet path to second empire, and soon we will join Spain to Gibraltar. They are less than impressed.
 

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