The media hype concerning the 9/11 - now moved to 9/10 - protest is unjustified. The ultimate outcome of all this nonsense will be a resounding failure, with a maximum of 3,000 youths expected - and I am in a generous mood today - and no opportunity for a concrete political movement in its aftermath. There are various signs pointing towards the failure of their endeavour: The movement itself has been inflated by the organisers who already had contacts within the local media. Thus, the inflated number of around 20,000 fans on Facebook is the direct result of the semi-celebrity status and media contacts of the organisers, and not a natural adhesion from 20 thousand angry youngsters. Any movement inflated either by money or celebrity is bound to deflate afterwards, and will be ephemeral.
It is easy to like a Facebook group in front of one’s PC while sitting comfortably on a chair. Getting the numbers on Facebook is not so hard when you have the proper logistics and networking. However, what is really hard is to engage the fans into turning their “likes” into a concrete form of protest: marching on the streets on a Saturday afternoon. How many youngsters will choose to go to Port Louis instead of the revision sessions of private tuitions in the middle of the third term? How many Facebookers, who have been tired by a long working week, will really sacrifice a Saturday afternoon for an abstract cause?
Organising a protest march one day after the day dedicated to the Blessed Father Laval is a sign of political naivety and a disrespect to the sensibilities of the multi-cultural Mauritian community. This is the sort of mistake which tells you that the organisers do not have the proper knowledge and tact to handle a multi-cultural country. Alienating a sizeable section of the Mauritian community - the one which right now feels the more inclined to protest - by choosing a stage a protest march the day after 9/9 is a grave political mistake.
The laudable demands of the march are based on the assumption that the Mauritian Youth in general wants a country free of communalism and corruption: WRONG. The organisers would do well to attend one election campaign for the student unions of the UoM and UTM, and revise their expectations towards the Mauritian youngsters. In fact, I have seen enough to be convinced that equality and justice is a value truly cherished by a minority of idealist young people. Sadly, most Mauritian students nowadays are inclined to bend the rules or have resort to communalism if it suits their interests. Saken rod so bout!
The Mauritian people like to complain, but are not in urgent need of change. Most of them have enough to eat and enough drama to entertain themselves. They are truly well asleep with the bread and circuses provided by the three traditional parties, and the protest march will be yet another entertaining event, which will be long forgotten in a few weeks time.