Paul Lismore


Rédigé par Paul Lismore le Jeudi 21 Mai 2020

In an island where disunity and fragmentation is often more evident than the " ene sel lepep, ene sel nation" slogan many like to brandish, religious festivals have become the occasions of choice for us to rediscover the Mauritian spirit of "Unity in diversity".

Christmas is celebrated by everyone, whether you are religious, agnostic, an atheist, or a non Christian. The same applies to Divali, Eid, Ougadi, and all the other religious festivals by various groups.

Of course, there will be a few brainwashed fanatical idiots who will claim that " pa nou relizion sa! pa nou fete sa!", but the vast majority of us acknowledge our gratitude that we live in a multicultural society where we really can see that the whole of our nation is greater than the sum of the various parts that form our society.

I asked a friend from our neighbours in La Reunion how he felt things were in his society. This is what he sent as a reply, and I cherish the day when we too will be able show the same generosity of spirit regardless of race, culture, or religion: 

" A la Réunion, comme chaque année lors du ramadan, chaque ville organise un repas convivial pour la rupture du jeûne avec toute les communautés confondues. Cette année avec le Covid-19, malgré le déconfinement, les précautions sont indispensables ainsi que les gestes barrières. L'association UNIR avec l'aide des restaurateurs se sont mis d'accord d'offrir des repas à emporter à ceux qui le souhaitent, peu importe sa religion. On sait tous que dans la restauration comme dans chaque secteur d'activité économique, tout le monde est frappé de plein fouet part la crise, mais malgré tout, il y a ces petits gestes qui montrent que l'humanité est plus fort que tout. Sans surprise dans cette liste, il y a aussi des restaurateurs mauriciens installés à la Réunion depuis des années. Ce vendredi, le Iftar se fera dans le partage dans la ville de St Denis. Peu importe qu'on soit croyant ou pas, l'important c'est de mettre l'humain avant tout."

The one thing that is missing from his message, but which unfortunately happens too often in Mauritius, is the apparent need for individuals to publicise their 'caring nature' with numerous selfies showing them handing food to poor people. Politicians are notorious for doing this, and they plumbed new depths of shame and stupidity when they pictured themselves distributing dates that had been given to us by Saudi Arabia for free.

The other thing that he told me was something that is unfortunately rarely seen in Mauritius, esp during these dark days of Covid-19.

This is what he said: " Vous savez depuis le début de l'apparition du Covid-19, plusieurs personnes et associations à la Réunion se sont relayés pour offrir des plats à emporter pour le personnel soignant des différents hôpitaux de l'île qui soignent les patients du Covid. Là aussi tout dans la discrétion. Pas de publicité. Juste de l'humilité. " 

I often read in the press how the same thing happens on a daily basis in the UK, France, and other countries, where ordinary citizens take it upon themselves to bring parcels of food for doctors, nurses, indeed all hospital staff working long hours looking after those who have been infected with the Coronavirus. They put themselves at risk of catching the virus, and an enlightened population shows its gratitude by showing that their efforts are indeed deeply appreciated. 

We also know about Captain Tom, the 100 year old gentleman in the UK, who raised over Rs 40 millions (or 1 billion rupees...) for the National Health Service during the Covid-19 pandemic.

If Captain Tom (now Sir Tom, after his recent knighthood...) was Mauritian and tried to do the same thing here, no doubt many idiots would come up with childish comments like " Sa laz la? Li mank travay? Li p rode la mort?"

I wish I could say the same thing about our mentality in Mauritius, but that would be wishful thinking. Covid-19 seems to have opened a gateway for thieves and chancers to steal, loot, and plunder at will. Whether it is the supermarkets raising the prices of basic stuff in a callous and utterly selfish manner, or the lazy bastard pissing on the sweat and hard labour of planters by stealing their vegetables. "Pou ene ti carri", they say when caught with bags full of the stolen vegetables...

But coming back to the way communities band together for Ramadan and Eid, I am sure you will share my hope that we could one day all live like this. Unfortunately, some religious freaks from all religions have stupidly turned people's religious faith into a battle for their God's supremacy over the Gods of other faiths.

The good deeds over Ramadan and Eid in la Reunion are replicated during Cavadee and Divali festivals where all communities feel involved.

Unfortunately in Mauritius, too many of us still think and believe that " Pa mo fete sa!" Pity about the distant dream of "Ene sel Lepep, ene sel nation"...

Jeudi 21 Mai 2020

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