French President Wants to Make French the First Language
The young French president Emmanuel Macron has always made headlines for his unconventional choices. This month, he is making headlines for his commitment to the French language. Although it is the world's fifth most popular language—with over 250 million people speaking it—Macron sees no reason why the entire world shouldn't benefit from the beauty and brilliance of French.
Pointing out that French did come to west Africa through colonization, Macron urged that the language should not be considered a "relic". He spoke about the need for French speakers around the entire planet to claim the language as their own. After the latest news out of Libya, Macron also addressed the crime of slavery. Stating that he wanted to put an end to the horrific activities of human traffickers and terrorists, Macron suggested that the European and African continents needed to work together. By identifying and then cracking down on networks between African nations and Europe, Macron believes that authorities will be able to head off the activities of these traffickers.
In the past, France has been criticized for meddling in the activities of its former colonies, but Macron stated that this kind of behavior will no longer take place. Instead, he'd prefer to see the countries themselves taking the reins and asserting their independence. Tensions were high at the beginning of the trip, when a hand grenade was hurled at French soldiers. Although it did not meet its target—a bus carrying French soldiers—the impact of the sentiment was felt. Clearly, Macron realizes that there is still a long way to go when it comes to the relationship between France and former colonies; the disruption before his trip underlined that fact. However, it also seems very clear that he intends to use the French language to build a bridge and bring different groups together.
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