Paris's candidacy for the 2012 Olympic Games has received the support of the sports ministers of 39 Francophone countries and regions. Among them was Morocco, represented on the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which despite its good relations with the Zapatero administration did not hesitate in giving its support to France. The participants in the 30th Conference of Sports and Youth Ministers (CONFEJES) "unanimously supported" Paris's candidacy, after Mauritanian sports minister Ahmedou Ould Ahmadou introduced the motion. Mauritanian head of CONFEJES Youssouf Fall explained support for Paris's candidacy by stressing "France's important experience in organizing sports competitions, as well as Paris's excellent quality infrastructure." Paris's official commission said in a press release, "This decision is a major international push for Paris's candidacy, which is now guaranteed of strong support in the final vote on July 6 in Singapore." The choice of the site of the Games is not voted on by the countries as such, but rather by the members of the IOC, who can vote as they wish. Nevertheless, among the 39 countries that support Paris, there are many whose representatives have a vote, including Morocco, Canada, Egypt, Cameroon, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Guinea, and Tunisia, and the Paris 2012 committee stresses that "the Francophone community of Belgium and the Canadian provinces of Quebec and new Brunswich have also given their support." Among other countries at the CONFEJES meeting were Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Greece, Haiti, Lebanon, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Mauritania, Níger, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rumania, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Chad, Togo, and Vietnam. In addition, French sports minister Jean-Francois Lamour stated yesterday that this vote shows "one additional proof of the support and determination Paris's candidacy can count on. The more chances we have to explain our project, the more support we get, both inside and outside France." Meanwhile, Madrid mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardón presented the Madrid 2012 project to prime minister Rodriguez Zapatero.
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One of those things I was supposed to have been taught in school was history. It could be an innate curiosity on my part or a failing on the various American educational establishments on theirs, but I am always learning things that seem to be important enough to include in school curricula that I rarely or never encountered in class.
After reading that impressive list of countries, I decided to do a brief search of their modern history.
|Country||Duration of French Imperialism||Is French currently an "official language"?|
|Benin||1872 - 1960||Yes|
|Burkina Faso||~1900 - 1960||Yes|
|Burundi||(Belgium) WWI - 1962||Yes|
|Central African Republic||1903 - 1960||Yes|
|Comoros||1912 - 1975||Yes|
|Congo||1891 - 1960||Yes|
|Ivory Coast||1904 - 1960||Yes|
|Djibouti||1896 - 1977||Yes|
|Gabon||1885 - 1960||Yes|
|Haiti||1697 - 1804||Yes|
|Lebanon||1920 - 1943||No|
|Madagascar||1896 - 1960||Yes|
|Mali||1883 - 1960||Yes|
|Mauritius||1715 - 1814||Yes|
|Mauritania||1904 - 1960||No|
|Níger||1898 - 1960||Yes|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||(Belgium) 1885 - 1960||Yes|
|Rwanda||(Belgium) WWI - 1960||Yes|
|Senegal||1659 - 1960||Yes|
|Seychelles||1770 - 1814||Yes|
|Chad||1900 - 1960||Yes|
|Togo||WWI - 1960||Yes|
|Vietnam||1884 - 1954||No|
Out of those 27 CONFEJES-appearing countries, 20 were under French rule and three more were under Belgian control. All information taken from the CIA World Factbook, the Lonely Planet guides, or Wikipedia.
Remarkable, isn't it? The end dates for those colonies indicate the general unwillingness of nations to continue ruling foreign lands, a positive trend in the history of individual liberty. Perhaps that unwillingness will one day devolve from the international sphere to the intranational. And then the interlocal to the intralocal.
It took centuries for the first step to be taken. Hopefully, the next steps won't linger about so.