The French government defying worldwide protests continue their nuclear blasting in the remote Pacific atoll. Remote that is from France. The nuclear test gave the world a vent for all kinds of anger and rightly so. In Tahiti smoke arose from dozens of fires ignited to protest this "crime" being committed against the inhabitants of the area. The fight against testing also brought to the forefront the call for independence. The people there complained that apart from being colonized by France, their environment was now being decided as how also they should live and think.
The French President as most of them act- snobbishly turned his head at any criticism and rhetoric by the environmentalist. This refusal to pay head to such pleas was an indication he was out of touch with the feeling of ordinary people in their own lands. The Tahitians also view themselves as invaded and abused.
The French by this brazen act have offended all their European partners except the British. Germany and Sweden have voiced reservations about France's destruction of nature. Countries affected by the fall out such as Australia and New Zealand have banned French products. Japan has became nervous because these tests might fuel China's own nuclear program.
Russia, which along with the United States no longer conducts tests, said the Mururoa blast is "counter productive since it undermines the integrity of nuclear powers observing the moratorium for nuclear tests"
However, France is oblivious to all the eruption of anger at their act. Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans said a few days ago that "the French have reaped the whirlwind which they have sown". I am sure he is predicting a grand finale for Chirac's decision.
A friend asked me yesterday why is France doing all this? Why are the French deliberately destroying the environment and causing havoc to friendly and harmless people like the Tahitians?
The lame exercise by France is that they are doing this for Europe and that in some way the French bomb can be a European bomb. But a European bomb against who? he persisted. Perhaps against the Russians, against us or just a deterrent was my reply.
The answer was not convincing. French hypocrisy surfaces wherever affects reassure an angry world that they no tough plan to test after the comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. These are doses of morphine to quiet the protest. Most analysts view Chirac's decision to continue testing as a vain attempt to prop up declining popularity. To him old-fashioned issues like nuclear weapons are now more attractive. The French were use their captured territories for tests rather than conduct them on French soil. That itself speaks of Frances's two faced policies.
Popular opinion around the globe is against nuclear weapons. The French who have questioned the rights of other countries to have such type of weapons are now committing a great mistake by not comprehending that popular and official opinion in many places are hostile to their government France's credibility is at stake "What is the price of pride for Chirac?" asked Simon Cardll Greeenpeace's international disarmament expert.
The answer can only be given by the French people. And right now they could not care less.