Thursday, June 26, 2014

Corsica: National Liberation Front abandons armed struggle

FLNC press conference in 2006
The National Liberation Front of Corsica (FLNC) announced yesterday their decision of unconditionally abandoning armed struggle, beginning a demilitarization process and a gradual exit from clandestinity. 

They make a call to the Corsican elects to implement a new negotiated statute with the French state, as well as an exit for prisoners and other victims of political repression.

They underline that their decision means changing from a phase of armed resistance to one of constitution of a true Corsican political power.

They recall that their historical armed action, which began in 1976, had a significant impact in the struggle against touristic speculation but that, starting now, their members will reject armed actions in Corsica and France. 

They denounce that, since the invasion of 1769, which destroyed the Corsican Republic (a true forgotten pioneer of democracy in Europe and the World), France has treated the island as a colony, installing nepotism and cronyism as the centerpieces of political power. 

They also link their struggle to that of other peoples of Western Europe such as Ireland, the Basque Country, Scotland and Catalonia, rejecting as well this European Union of the states 
... which denies the rights of the peoples, their cultural specificities and traditions, subjecting them to the yoke of senseless rules whose only goal is the domination of big trading cartels, despising the environment, citizen health and social achievements.
Source: Naiz Info[es].

Historical background

Flag of Corsica
Like many other Mediterranean islands, Corsica has a convoluted history of invasions by mainland based powers, be them European or African.  Between 1347 and 1729 Corsica was ruled by the Republic of Genoa. The Corsican Revolution achieved, after 26 years of struggle, the foundation of an independent republic in 1755, which was an influential pioneer of democracy and founded the first university of the island at Corte. 

In 1767, a throughly defeated Genoa sold their "rights" to Corsica to the Kingdom of France, which invaded the island in 1769. Pasquale di Paoli, leader of the Corsican Revolution and President of the Executive Council, had to find refuge in England. 

For a brief period Paoli supported the French Revolution of 1789 but soon became disenchanted with Jacobin hyper-centralism and allied himself with the English, establishing a short lived kingdom (1794-76). 

The island was attributed to Britain in 1814 but London gave it to France.

After the loss of Algeria, some 18,000 French settlers (known as "pied-noirs") were installed in Corsica. Today it is estimated that some 50,000 French live in Corsica, plus some other 50,000 immigrants from other countries. Corsica has a population of c. 322,000 people, a third of them without roots in the island.

In the 1960s Corsican nationalism resurfaced and in 1976 the National Liberation Front began its armed struggle, largely directed against settlers' properties and the tourism industry. Since 1979 they managed to "bring the Corsican problem to France" by repeatedly bombing many Paris-based banks, the Court of Law and killing several military policemen.

Upon the election of social-democrat François Miterrand as President of France, the FLNC decreed a cease-fire but were soon disappointed by the French reaction and returned to struggle. On August 19th 1982 they attacked 99 targets in a single day.

A second cease-fire, this time negotiated with Paris, began in 1988 but it only caused splits within the guerrilla. These divisions stepped up in the 1990s, including deadly clashes between the factions.

In 1998 the Prefect of Corsica, Claude Erignac was killed by the FLNC.

In 2009 the FLNC was reunified. Even if not much publicized, the FLNC has been continuously carrying armed attacks against French colonial interests. In 2011, for example, they claimed responsibility of 38 attacks in just four months, however in that same communication they announced their wish for peace.

Yesterday, June 25th 2014, the FLNC declared a unilateral cease-fire, demanding a new political statute for Corsica and a solution for the political prisoners and other victims of state repression.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please, be reasonably respectful when making comments. I do not tolerate in particular sexism, racism nor homophobia. The author reserves the right to delete any abusive comment.

Comment moderation before publishing is... ON