Today is the International Francophonie Day (Journée internationale de la Francophonie), which celebrates French language and culture across the world.
‘Francophonie’ shouldn’t be defined in geographical, political or historical terms only.
It is more than that: It’s about shared values around a common language, and the respect of diversity.
It is, of course rooted, in history, with colonialism. And we can regret it (and even hate it).
Léopold Sédar Senghor wrote: « Dans les décombres du colonialisme, nous avons trouvé cet outil merveilleux – la langue française. La colonisation a été une aventure humaine. Comme toute aventure humaine, elle a charrié de la boue et de l’or. Pourquoi ne faudrait-il prendre que la boue et ne pas retenir les pépites ? » meaning in essence that in the rubbles of colonialism, we found a marvellous tool – the French language. Colonialism was a human adventure. Like any human adventure, it brought mud and gold. Why not recover the gold from the mud.
It is about positive outcome… The International Organisation of La Francophonie, was created in 1970. Its mission is to embody the active solidarity between its 77 member states and governments (57 members and 20 observers), which together represent over one-third of the United Nations’ member states and account for a population of over 890 million people, including 220 million French speakers.
For more information on background and events visit http://www.francophonie.org/ or check your local French Institute.
francophonie map (source: francophonie.org)
Categories: Culture & Society