The feeling of a pressing need for social and political transformation in Mauritius is becoming more urging as news of poor governance unravel like a soap opera.
At times, some scandalous dealings around COVID-19 which have been portrayed as pilfering the public coffers in broad daylight, or the amateurish handling of the Wakashio oil spill leaving our exquisite seas and coasts to the mercy of ecological threats, the national democracy being a little more than a laughing stock owing to overzealous authorities, the level of the current National Assembly falling to shambles to the dismay of the 900,000 plus voters as a result of an abusive Chair, the cheap mansplaining towards the elected women in the opposition of the National Assembly, and a poor management of the finances of the countries burdening the Nation with kilometres of roads, tons of concrete and morsel in their plates.
This feeling seems to be more of a reality, albeit the handful die-hards, “chatwas” and “chatwarains” still standing like spineless soldiers to defend their leaders.
In many democracies, history bears witness that the struggle for social and political transformation has been deeply rooted in the social injustices and the rights of the oppressed and the minorities, including the human rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer (LGBTQ).
In the United States, Women liberation, the fight against racial segregation and the Gay Rights movements have been closely entwined. Closer home, in South Africa, Cecil Williams who was a theatre director and anti-apartheid activist; and who self-identified as a gay person, helped Madiba (Nelson Mandela) in the fight against apartheid. Madiba drove around South Africa in a limousine disguised as a chauffeur for Cecil Williams while organising the armed struggle against the apartheid regime. South Africa is the first country in the world to safeguard sexual orientation as a human right in its Constitution. Both the Interim Constitution, which came into force on 27 April 1994, and the final Constitution, which replaced it on 04 February 1997, forbid discrimination on the basis of sex, gender or sexual orientation.
In the same line looking at the struggle for our own independence in Mauritius through social justice and human rights lenses, we might be left dumbfounded and inspired with the numerous considerations for the rights of minorities instilled in our Constitution by Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam and other stalwarts of the Mauritius Labour Party, Sir Abdool Razack Mohammed and Sir Gaëtan Duval. The Best Loser System is a relic of affirmative action and positive discrimination for the representation of minorities in our sacrosanct parliament.
Standing by our shared Mauritian values of diversity, inclusion and anti-oppression, as Queer People and social justice activists, we would have failed in our duty if we did not raise the red flag alert when an activist like Bruneau Laurette is making a gimmick of democracy through blatant homophobia. The nationwide protest of 29 August 2020 was not without the participation of Queer people and other activists who are allies to LGBTQ people.
The social and political transformation of Mauritius would not be a reality if issues like the human rights of LGBTQ people, women representation and participation, equal opportunities, rights of ethnic minorities, economic empowerment of the disadvantaged, the disabled, the conditions of our fellow citizens in Rodrigues and of the Outer Islands, ecological considerations and climate change, freedom of the press, the youth, migration issues and workers rights are not taken on board, altogether.
Young Queer Alliance