Chad: Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world Chad including roots of poverty, many dialects, French and Muslim conflicts.

CHAD

NOTES

A 1952 New York Times article explains another root cause of Chad's poverty apart from the paucity of natural advantages and the advance of the Sahara Desert: "French penetration was accompanied by highly uneconomic methods of colonization.....France simply assumed title to all the land and then proceeded to portion vast tracts of it out on concession basis to large monopolistic companies.....These companies depleted all the human and natural resources that they could easily get their hands on and returned virtually nothing to the economy of the country."

Over 100 different dialects are spoken in Chad and this reflects some of the diversity and potential tension which has permeated the nation since its independence. The greatest rift lies between Muslim northerners and black southerners. Northerners claim that shortly after Charles de Gaulle granted Chad independence, this pastoral country was taken over by the southerners, who helped their own kind, e.g.: 95% of the southern children have been sent to school versus 5% of the northern children. Overall, only 35% of the school-age population actually attends school.

Leader of the Muslims, Dr. Abbe Siddik, a European-trained surgeon and former Minister of Education, claims that France has continued to rule Chad even after Chad's independence and that Chad remains "underdeveloped and overcolonized." This dissatisfaction led to the eruption of guerrilla groups along the Libyan and Sudanese borders: the Front de la Liberation Nationale de Tchad (Frolinat) and the smaller Front National Tchadien (FNT). They aim to overthrow the Government, reduce French influence, and tie in with the Arab states of the north.

To put down the Muslim insurgents, the Chad Government called in 2,500 French Foreign Legionnaires. France pulled half of them out eventually but the rest stayed on as "advisers" more or less integrated into the Chad army.

Among the Sara tribe, the most important person in the village is the veteran who served in the French army. With his pension, his galvanized steel roof and modern latrine, and his ability to schedule himself according to Western time frames, he has become a model his fellows try to emulate.

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