The 18th summit of the Francophone Organization was held in Tunisia on 19-20/11/2022 where the Tunisian president delivered an introductory speech in French. What does this organization mean and who does it serve? What is the importance of this summit for Tunisian President Kais Saied Al-Tunisia and his relationship with France? Does this mean that Britain’s influence has completely ended in Tunisia? Why didn’t Algeria attend the summit, even though it is a member of the Francophonie Organization? Jazak Allah Khair.
To clarify the answer, we review the following matters:
1- The Francophone, which means the International Association of Francophonie, consists of 88 permanent members and observers. It is based in the French capital, Paris, and began holding conferences every two years since 1986. Among its members are former French colonies in Africa in particular and others in general, and among its members are from those who do not speak French and were not a French colony. The member states of the organization are not necessarily affiliated with France, as some of them are and some are not. The number of French speakers in the world is estimated at 321 million. It was founded in 1970 to promote the French language and political, educational, economic and cultural cooperation between the member countries as indicated in its charter. It focuses on spreading the French language, French values and Western ideas of democracy, secularism, public freedoms, human rights and women’s rights. It works to preserve the colonial heritage of France in its colonies, and to ensure its continuity by spreading the French language and culture, which is the most important aspect for France to continue colonialism, extend hegemony, expand the circle of influence, and secure the greatness of France. After France left its colonies in the early 1960s it began to think about establishing an organization similar to the English Commonwealth, which was established by Britain to maintain its influence in its old colonies, which were forced to give them formal independence in the face of the new campaign against them and France by the new colonizer, America.
2- Tunisian President Kais Saied was keen to hold the Francophone Summit in Tunisia. He delivered the opening speech in French to prove his connection with France and the achievement of its goals so that it would continue to support him. He said: “I am convinced that the Francophone space will be able to transform our commitments into solidarity actions and tangible achievements at the level of our peoples especially our women and our youth.” (Monte Carlo, France, 21/11/2022). Kais Saied is interested in the summit because he is seeking support for his rule, and he found it in France, and wants to legitimize what he did by overthrowing the previous government elected by Parliament, then dissolving Parliament, dropping the 2014 constitution and producing a new one. Most people objected to it, and it was considered illegal and anti-democratic for those who look at it from this angle. Thus, he faced criticism at home and abroad, and a low participation rate in the vote on the constitution that he proposed on 25/7/2022, at about 27.54%, as announced.
When member states and others come to Tunisia and participate in the summit and do not boycott it as a protest against what he has done, France will have secured his support as there were calls to hold the summit in another country, yet France insisted on holding it in Tunisia. Approximately 89 delegations attended, including 31 heads of state and government, and 7 leaders of international and regional organizations. This is considered an endorsement of what Kais Saied has done, legitimizing him and strengthening his powers.
3- French President Macron declared once again his support for Kais Saied, saying, “It is not the role of the French president to tell the Tunisian president what he should do in relation to his country. What I presented to Kais Saied, whom I consider a friend of mine, is that France will support Tunisia, which lived through a revolution and triumphed over Terrorism, and faced the Coronavirus epidemic, as happened in all countries of the world.” He added, “I think a great constitutional jurist like Kais Saied is aware of such things, and this is the focus of my meeting with him a short while ago. Today, Tunisia is experiencing a change in the political scene. I hope that this change in the political arena will have results, and that the upcoming legislative elections include all political parties and forces in Tunisia, with the aim of completing the course.” He stated that he “called on Saied to study the possibilities of French-Tunisian cooperation to support Tunisia with the aim of completing this path on the economic and political levels. The support that France provided to Tunisia on the occasion of this summit, that amounts 200 million euros, is not a blank check regarding basic freedoms and democratic principles.”(Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed page, quoted from the French TV5 Monde channel, 21/11/2022).
Here, Macron announces that France supports the Tunisian President Kais Saied politically and economically, and considers him a friend, and supports the measures he took because he is a man of the law who knows what he is doing and is attentive to what he is doing, meaning that this is legitimate and acceptable. He provided him with financial support, a usurious loan of 200 million euros, which is not a blank check, but rather for his dependence on France, in the name of basic freedoms and democratic principles. The European Union announced a usurious loan of 100 million euros to Tunisia to support its budget. And when Kais Saied chose to make his first foreign visit, his destination was to France in June 2020, and he showed humiliation and submission to its president, Macron, and rejected Parliament’s request for him to ask France to apologize for its colonial era and refused to consider it colonial, but rather it was a request for protection, and he obtained a usurious loan of 350 million euros. He found what he needed in France and in the European Union, which is chaired by France alongside Germany.
4-Kais Saied won French support when he staged a coup against the regime he carried out on 25/7/2021. He himself mentioned that he “received a French delegation on 23/7/2021 (i.e., two days before the coup) that came to provide medical aid to help the government confront the increasing number of Coronavirus patients, and that it was in the process of taking some measures.” He pointed out that “these measures will be implemented with the tacit consent of an actor.” After that, on 25/7/2021, the parliament was closed, he brought down the government, and suspended the constitution. A few days later, i.e., on 7/8/2021, Macron announced to his Tunisian counterpart, “France’s readiness to stand by Tunisia in order to preserve and defend its freedom.” The Elysee statement said, “Tunisia can count on France to overcome the economic, social and health challenges it faces” (Al-Jazeera 21/11/2021). And all of this shows the extent of Kais Saied’s association with France, and that he obtained support from it to carry out a coup against his regime to strengthen his powers when he took his decisions to dissolve Parliament, overthrow the government, and appoint a government headed by a woman affiliated with the Francophone movement, and then cancel the constitution and introduce another constitution.
5-At the conclusion of the summit, Sunday, 20/11/2022, on the island of Djerba, Tunisia, the Secretary-General of the Rwandan organization, Louise Mushikiwabo, said during a press conference at the end of the summit that “Djerba did not fail us… Tunisia did not fail us… We are headed towards a Francophonie of the future, modernized…. it should strive to be a link”… Mushikiwabo, on her part, called for investing in and improving education in the French language on the African continent, and for strengthening the presence of the French language on the Internet and in international organizations… (French Monte Carlo 21/11/2022).
It is clear from all of this that the convening of the organization’s summit in Tunisia, France’s insistence on the venue, and Kais Saied’s opening speech in French! And what came in Macron’s speech of praise for Kais Saied, and the speech of the Secretary-General of the Organization… All this indicates the extent of French support for the Tunisian president and the French language!
6- Does this mean that the dominant influence in Tunisia has become solely French influence, and that the British influence has ended in Tunisia? The answer to that has already been clarified in our publication dated 1/8/2021. I will quote what was mentioned in it on that matter:
[By examining Britain’s position, it becomes clear that the events in Tunisia have shocked it. British newspaper The Guardian published, according to Al Jazeera Net, on 27/7/2021, an article titled “The Guardian view on the coup in Tunisia: Spring turns into winter” and stated that Tunisia is witnessing a counter-revolution, considering that, (“The Security’s storming of television stations is not a good sign at all” and stated that “citizens act indifferently and accept illiberal concepts because freedom and democracy did not achieve political stability and a prosperous economy. Instead, corruption, inflation and unemployment persisted, a third of families in Tunisia feared that they ran out of food last year after the outbreak of the Coronavirus epidemic, and that the government, according to leaked documents, was ready to cancel bread subsidies in negotiations for a $4 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, which is the fourth in 10 years, and the anger at the government’s handling of the epidemic only worsened due to the level of the national debt, as loan payments are now six times the size of the country’s health budget…
With all this, it is clear that Britain’s influence in Tunisia has actually weakened, and with the continuing circumstances that weaken it, France has found a door for it to enter strongly into Tunisia…”). We then added in the conclusion: [All indications of the raging international conflict in Tunisia indicate that it is a conflict between Britain, the one with former and great influence in Tunisia, and France, the new and unstable influence in it…From all these international positions, it is clear that France is in conflict with Britain to seize power in Tunisia, but the dispute is within Europe…Therefore, it will not take the shape of a long conflict. Rather, the consensual formula will return, and it is likely that Britain’s influence will not leave Tunisia. Britain has mastered the political cunning that France lacks. [22 Dhul Hijjah 1442 AH – 1/8/2021 CE] End of quote from the Answer to Question.
It is clear from this that the French influence is the strongest in Tunisia and that Tunisian President Kais Saied is following in its footsteps now, and that the British influence has weakened and retreated. But this does not mean that the British influence has ended and left Tunisia. Rather, many of its men are still moving about and rely on their moves on the British political shrewdness that France lacks.
7- As for why Algeria was absent from attending the summit of the Francophone Organization in Tunisia, firstly, it is an observer member and not a full member… Secondly, the summit was held at a time when Algeria is witnessing popular discontent with France because of the colonial era and its refusal to apologize for that era and its refusal to pay compensation for the tragedies it caused, and its refusal to open files related to that and its nuclear explosions in the Algerian Sahara in the 1960s, in addition to its fight against the Arabic language and Islam and its attempts to impose French on them. The number of its speakers has shrunk greatly to less than a third of the country, so Algeria is working to get rid of the use of French. The Algerian president alluded to Tunisia and its relationship with France when he said: [France always have Algeria in mind (worries about its reactions), addressing his words to the journalist, who asked him if France still views Algeria as a French province, correcting that by saying, “No, no.” He continued: “You mean another country that they give orders to and it keeps silent and implements.” Some considered that the words of the Algerian president had a reference to Tunisia, especially after the statements of the President of the Republic, Kais Saied, during his visit to France, in which he said that Tunisia was not under colonialism, but was under protection… (Al-Hosari website, 7/8/2021)].
For your information, Morocco, which is a member of the organization, was also absent from the summit. This indicates that the regimes in Algeria and Morocco, which are loyal to the British, refuse to provide support for Kais Saied, who turned against the regime loyal to the British in Tunisia and showed his dependence on France, as this conference is considered in support of Kais Saied and legitimizing what he did as an attempt to adhere to France and distance himself from Britain, contrary to what the two countries are doing.
8-In conclusion, we emphasize two points:
First: that everything that France and its Francophone organization, as well as other Western countries, rant about in terms of democracy, freedoms, human rights, women’s rights, and the rights of minorities does not mean anything if it is the one with influence in the country, and if it is not, then it used it as a tool of pressure. These countries colonized their colonies for decades, including more than a hundred years, and did not preserve freedoms, human rights, or their imaginary democracy. Thus, they were violating all of them, killing people, violating their honour and money, trampling on their dignity, and plundering their wealth in order to feel greatness and achieve their interests. It does not respect its ideology and is not keen on implementing it as much as it is keen on plundering wealth and sucking the blood of people and leaving them to suffer from poverty, deprivation and diseases. After France left its colonies, the Francophone was established, i.e., the so-called League of French-speaking peoples, in order to preserve its influence and secure its interests.
The French language was considered a means for this.
Second: Those politicians and their parties in the colonies of those countries who adopt democracy and secular ideas are corruptors and not reformers, they have a corrupt political vision, as they are swayed by the West and its ideas, they were trained to be subservient to the West, whether to Britain, France, or the new colonizer, America, in order to obtain support and access to power.
The issue is to remove them all from the political center and from governance, and to work to convince people of the sincere and aware politicians who view political events from the angle of Islam and reject any political, intellectual, cultural, economic or military dependence on any colonial state, and adopt Islamic solutions based on the Book and the Sunnah and working with strength and wisdom to establish the Khilafah Rashidah (rightly-guided Caliphate) on the method of the Prophethood to implement the rules of Islam… This is the call of truth, and these are its people.
[وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ قَوْلاً مِمَّنْ دَعَا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحاً وَقَالَ إِنَّنِي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ]
“And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, “Indeed, I am of the Muslims.” [Fussilat: 33]
4 Jumada Al-Awwal 1444 AH – 28/11/2022 CE