Click on the thumbnails below for full-size graphics.
The inimitable Yaacov Kirschen has been imitated. I hope he forgives me the impertinence but I appropriated his latest cartoon and adapted it to the United Kingdom and France, both former and current colonizers who presume to moralize to Israel but somehow forget to apply what they say to their own situation. There is a word for this – hypocrisy.
The U.K. first
Many assume that the Empire where the sun never set† ended when they were kicked out of India or pushed out of Belize. However they still have a great deal of overseas territory – settlements, if you will, under their control. Sovereignty is disputed and they were all aquired by force, trickery or taking advantage of someone’s weakness. Gibraltar is claimed by Spain, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are claimed by Argentina, and the British Indian Ocean Territory is claimed by Mauritius and Seychelles. The British Antarctic Territory is subject to overlapping claims by Argentina and Chile, while many nations do not recognise any territorial claims to Antarctica.
That Internation Law doesn’t necessarily recognise Britain’s claims – or as in the case of Israel, it was never asked, has always been ignored by Britain. It certainly didn’t stop them going to war over the Malvinas* in 1982. There is another significant difference with Israel. These settlements are hundreds if not thousands of miles‡ from Britains shores and none of them can be considered essential to her survival or even their moral claim to the British mainland.
However I didn’t use the fourteen British overseas territories for my example. Ask the Scots, Welsh and Irish. The countries that make up the United Kingdom were joined by war, trickery and immigration.
The French example
This was a bit harder for me as my Anglo-Saxon education somehow managed to ignore French history, except where it clashed with the English narrative.
France has eleven overseas territories and collectivities (?). Corsica is almost always listed among the other régions of Metropolitan France rather than an overseas territory. This is despite being much closer to the Italian than to the French mainland. It was once briefly an independent Corsican Republic. The Genoese, despairing of ever being able to subjugate Corsica again, with the Treaty of Versailles sold their rights over it to the Kingdom of France. After a war (why should France be any different) it was incorporated into France in 1769.
New Caledonia has a referendum coming up between 2014 and 2019. This is, of course, after the French have been busily and violently putting down the Kanak, native independence movement.
Why French Guiana. No particular reason. It just fit the space. In the 1970s the French settled Hmong refugees from Laos without a whisper about the Geneva Conventions.
I can’t recall a recent major war that France has had over their settlements. Who remembers Vietnam or Algeria? Did recent peacekeeping actions in Côte d’Ivoire, which involved brief direct fighting between the French and Ivorian armies in 2004 get any media attention? So in the spirit of the Dry Bones cartoon I went further back in history. Back to English claims on what is now French soil.
On a personal note: I was living in a hostel for olim during the Falklands War. The Anglo Saxons§ maintained a much friendlier relationship with the Argentinians, with whom they were at war than the French, after a hundred years of peace. Go figure?
† Sounds better than where the sun don’t shine, doesn’t it?
‡ Out of deference to her Majesty, I didn’t say kilometres.
* Out of deference to the people of Argentina, I didn’t say Falklands.
§ British, Australians and South Africans. Also Americans and Canadians.