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Women Speak Out! A Report of the Pacific Women's Conference. October 27 – November 2

New Caledonia

New Caledonia

The law is that of a society of prisons, truncheons, barbed wire, hand-cuffs, and chains. It was in the name of the law, that is, colonial law, that the land of my people was taken, under the pretext that we were savages. It was page 69 in the name of this same law, that the Kanaks were locked up on reservations to permit them to starve in peace. It is a law which is always applied in such a way that justice is on the side of the whites and never on the side of the blacks. It is a law made by whites for whites, not for people of colour. And I know something about that: last year, on the 24th of September, the day commemorating the taking of New Caledonia by the French Government, we demonstrated with several comrades. Two of us were arrested and imprisoned on the same day: Elie Poagoune and Henri Bailly. That day, I asked the prosecutor why he had not locked me up as well since I had committed the same crime as they, he answered: “Because you are a woman and you have a seven-month old baby who needs you. Besides, you don't send women, especially mothers, to jail”. I told him “Don't give me that, for if tomorrow you can arrange it, you're going to send me to prison even if I am a woman and have a seven-month old baby”.

What I want to point out to you in recounting this, is that I do not believe that a representative of the colonial law can have any consideration for me or the health of my child because he is part of that band of colonialists who have massacred the Kanak people like the Maori people of New Zeal and and the Aborigines of Australia. And these are the same colonialists who have oppressed the people of colour everywhere in the world: the Indians and the Blacks in the U.S.A., the Indians in Latin America, the Africans in Rhodesia and those who test their bombs on the people of the Pacific, particularly on the Polynesian people. Moreover, concerning what I said to the Prosecutor, the next day, September 25th., he gave me four months on the prison farm for having organised, with other comrades, a sit-in protest in the courtroom against the conviction of Poagoune and Bailly.