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Geopolitics

Ivory Coast: French Firepower And Diplomacy Do The Right Thing

Editorial: The French daily Le Figaro gives a warm applause to the government for its timely and efficient intervention to help oust strongman Laurent Gbagbo

Ivory Coast: French Firepower And Diplomacy Do The Right Thing
Pierre Rousselin

PARIS - The fall of Laurent Gbagbo sends a basic yet important message to the rest of the world: anyone who loses an election should pack up and go. It is a message that concerns Africa probably more than any other continent, and one that deserved full engagement from France and of the rest of the international community.

It is, however, a shame that four months of crisis and violent combat was needed to reach this result, that the stubbornness of a single man, who for five long years has denied his people of their lawful democratic elections, had to bring the Ivory Coast into such a sad and bloody mess. Fortunately, Gbagbo has been captured alive so that he can answer for his acts. His trial will be the foundation of a new Africa.

Ivory Coast deserves so much better than what it got these last years. Alassane Ouattara has a huge job ahead of him to rebuild and reconcile this big country with itself, with the help of the international community and France. He will need to be firm but generous with his opponents, and impose the same authority over his allies. Whether he shall fail or succeed in doing that will also be a test for the future of the continent. Because the stakes are so high, foreign countries have to continue supporting Ivory Coast and help it get back up on its feet economically, which is a priority.

France has played an essential role in Ivory Coast, despite being active in the Libyan war as well. It pulled its share of the weight despite a sometimes very stormy relationship with its former colony, and did everything necessary to promote international legality.

Accusations of a "neo-colonial conspiracy" can only be part of Gbagbo's propagandistic fantasies. Ouattara's victory at the polls has been recognized by the Organization of African Unity and by the Economic Community of West African States. No action has been taken without an explicit mandate from the United Nations; the Unicorn Operation, the French Armed Forces's peacekeeping operation, has only acted in support of the United Nations Operation in Ivory Coast.

Alain Le Roy, under secretary general for peacekeeping at the United Nations, deserves much credit for the way in which he has combined the United Nations' legitimacy with France's military capacity. This has allowed the international organization to restore its image and our country to resolve a major crisis.

Read the original article in French.

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Society

Papá, Papá, On Repeat: Are We Men Ready For Fatherhood To Change Our Lives?

There is a moment on Saturday or Sunday, after having spent ten hours with my kids, that I get a little exasperated, I lose my patience. I find it hard to identify the emotion, I definitely feel some guilt too. I know that time alone with them improves our relationship... but I get bored! Yes, I feel bored. I want some time in the car for them to talk to each other while I can talk about the stupid things we adults talk about.

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This is what a friend tells me. He tends to spend several weekends alone with his two children and prefers to make plans with other people instead of being alone with them. As I listened to him, I immediately remembered my long days with Lorenzo, my son, now three-and-a-half years old. I thought especially of the first two-and-a-half years of his life, when he hardly went to daycare (thanks, COVID!) and we’d spend the whole day together.

It also reminded me of a question I often ask myself in moments of boredom — which I had virtually ignored in my life before becoming a father: how willing are we men to let fatherhood change our lives?

It is clear that the routines and habits of a couple change completely when they have children, although we also know that this rarely happens equally.

With the arrival of a child, men continue to work as much or more than before, while women face a different reality: either they double their working day — maintaining a paid job but adding household and care tasks — or they are forced to abandon all or part of their paid work to devote themselves to caregiving.

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