MP for Muvman Liberater and Government deputy Chief Whip, Ravi Rutnah, lost his cool in a neighbourhood meeting in Treffles when replying to a woman journalist. He says she said in an article that he had been “aboyeur du service” (sic) (1). He interprets this as meaning barking or howling like a dog. He then called her a “femel” (female dog, bitch). His remark has rightly caused a storm for its extreme sexism, exacerbated by the fact that it isn’t even clear that it was her that wrote the article. She denies it outright. The editor of L’Express, Nad Sivaramen says he wrote that Rutnah was an “aboyeur”, and says he still maintains that he is “aboyer”. In general, L’Express staff looks down on Ravi Rutnah, saying his French is not up to par, but all this is beside the point.
The political fall-out is huge.
The Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth was called out of a UN meeting around the General Assembly in New York to make a comment on Radio. He sensibly called for the MP to apologise.(2) Rutnah has withdrawn his remarks, and has apologised in the case that it is not the woman reporter who wrote that he “aboyer”. But the storm goes on. Other political parties, with their macho leaders, have all thrown their arms up in the air. This can only be a good thing. It will serve to remind them not to show similar disregard for women in future, themselves. So, we hope that standards remain high in the fight against misogyny in political men and in the Press. But, this battle will not be lost and won so easily.
Donald Trump, the sexist politician, and Mauritian Donald Trumps
In general, male politicians who make sexist comments are now, over the past decade or so, forced by the Press to apologise – with notable exceptions like Donald Trump, and a Mauritian Donald Trump or two, who benefit from ongoing “press pardons”, not unlike Medieval vatican “pardons”.
The very same journalists, now rightly upset by Ravi Rutnah’s sexist comments, however, very often flatter one such “pre-pardoned” (pre- as in pre-paid cards) politician in their editorials.
Recently one such was granted an interview in which, what an irony, he accuses, just as Rutnah does, one LALIT woman member that she “agresse” him “first”! She did not aggress him at all. He just uses this as an excuse, invented years after the event, for his whole disgusting, sick, sexist diatribe, a million times more violent than Ravi Rutnah’s, which is, quite rightly, upsetting the editors of the same newspaper so much. The “documentary proof” of this man’s sexism and worse is readily available on line. (3)
This Ravi Rutnah incident follows another incident that also highlighted the febrility of the Government MPs in general. Minister Shawkutally Soodhun lost his cool with a woman representing a housing association, when she heckled from the participants’ benches, saying that the Minister was “out of subject”. He clearly was. Instead of replying to her, he made her leave the seminar. There also, he added an extremely sexist remark. That storm also continues. The Minister is also speaking to the Police “under warning” today for death threats on the Opposition Leader, Xavier Duval. That is the state of the Government.
All this comes just a week after Attorney General Ravi Yerrigadoo had to resign. And today we had new drama live on Radio Plus, as his denouncer came and recanted. His rejection of his own affidavit does not touch on the point that brought the Minister’s resignation, but it calls into question quite a lot: in particular, that there was quite a plot being hatched against an MSM Government Minister. It is now not so easy to know who were the knowing collaborators. And anyway, the Minister fell into the trap, so his resignation is warranted.
The Government has now lost three Ministers (Dayal, Bhadain, Yerrigadoo), plus three Ministers out of four who went with the PMSD. It also has many others in precarious positions. Pravind Jugnauth himself is in the difficult position of having an Appeal coming up before the Privy Council on conflict of interest charges over the Medpoint issue.
We can expect the Press, as it should do, to continue exposing Government Ministers and MP’s when they err.
Yerrigadoo’s resignation is an interesting story. Let us look at it.
Gambling, the Attorney General, and “Who is a Bourgeois”
Yerrigadoo was called upon by Pravind Jugnauth to resign following his most improper intervention in facilitating someone claiming betting gains (or supposed gains?) at some big international gambling den in Switzerland.
This was exposed by the L’Express newspaper editor, Nad Sivaramen, and his journalist Axel Cheney. L’Express has published copies of original “documentary proof” that, if genuine, prove the Attorney General’s malpractice. The documents are vital to the Editor because his main witness (who is also the claimant of the betting win) has now been thoroughly exposed as a serial swindler, whose only professions seem to be gambling and swindling, and has now in any cases recanted. The L’Express staff are in the unenviable position of having to rely, otherwise, on the most unreliable witness imaginable.
Another character in the series, is the link man between the swindler and the Attorney General. He is one of those political creatures, who as an MMM Municipal Councillor, got to know all mainstream political leaders, while rising to become Manager at the huge enterprise, Dry Cleaning Services Ltd. Something interesting happened on this score: As if to make it abundantly clear that the bourgeoisie has a Marxist class analysis when push comes to shove, the Board of Dry Cleaning Services Ltd put out a paid press communiqué after the scandal became public to inform the public that the link man was not a Board member, but a mere manager, i.e. a mere employee! That’s the person (called misye la) who inexperienced workers often mistake for the big boss! (Gran misye la.) The same reminder of the scientific accuracy of a Marxist class analysis took place once before: a top radio journalist, who sees himself as “bourgeois” (by what definition is not clear) was suspended from his job after making a comment on sex over the air; he was sacked and re-employed as new. This way, the real capitalist class, from time to time, cruelly rubs in the true class position of managers. They are “mere employees of the capitalist or bourgeois class”. Only a few manage to bridge that gap.
Press has its agenda
At the same time as recognizing the importance of a free press in exposing corruption and sexism in politicians, we in LALIT, as people who want to see an end to class society, never lose sight of the fact that the Press always has its own political agenda. The press has a complicated set of layers of agendas: journalists may have their own views and even some petty scores to settle; top editors, who are nevertheless “mere” employees, have their own views (one even worked for the US State Department in the war machinery) and their own ambitions, their own clubs; the newspaper or radio’s funders (who fund the enterprise through advertising) have their own capitalist interests; the Board has its capitalist interest to make a profit, while individual board members may have different interests, too; the sectors of capital the press empire is linked with may have different interests that it can bring to play on the content, too. And all this is without taking note of the fact that both local secret services and the CIA, MI 6 and others, all have their “men”, and now “women”, too, in the news empires.
When the previous regime began to falter, it was a photograph in a newspaper of Ramgoolam with his Rolls Royce, and a video clip of him dancing sega in another newspaper, that led to his total electoral ruin in 2014, when he even brought down his ally, Paul Bérenger, with him.
In LALIT, we are the first to say he deserved to be brought down, as did Bérenger.
However, we are not so ignorant as to be oblivious to the fact that the British and US imperialists were furious with Ramgoolam for putting a case before the UN Convention on the Sea (UNCLOS) (later even win the case). And now, they are furious with Jugnauth for humiliating the UK and USA before the UN General Assembly and taking a case to the ICJ.
(1) Youtube clip on L’Express site
(2) ML leader Ivan Collendavelloo, unlike the Parti Socialiste leaders in France who, at the time, refused to bring DSK to book, at once apologised and called on his member to do the same.
(3) Below is the link for the Bizlall tract against our woman member, which we had to put up on our site in the interests of the truth. It is accompanied by the LALIT communiqué that he calls “aggression”, and that he blames a woman member for. In the communiqué, LALIT soberly criticized his violently abusive language, used when he addressed a public meeting on loudspeakers in Port Louis. Reading this link will make anyone hesitate to call Bizlall a “l’homme de gauche”. Warning that what you read will include Bizlall’s bad language and sexism, and also his boringly long tract, published originally by him in newspaper A3 format, but which we scanned in its original columns. The link: http://www.lalitmauritius.org/modules/documents/files/LalitMauritius-9766527f2b5d3e95d4a733fcfb77bd7e.pdf