Special to Times of Oman
The images on the television are eerily reminiscent of the Rwandan genocide of 1994 that the world sat back and watched; a young man was burned alive while the crowd watched.
An Al Jazeera TV reporter pointed the microphone at an armed young man in the crowd. "We will continue to do this," he said. For him, the body he had just burned was nothing more than a meaningless lump.
This is the Central African Republic. Unending acts of violence have been going on since December.
Thousands of people have died and thousands others have fled their homes and the slaughter is getting worse.
As with almost all other African countries, five military coups have taken place in a short period of time in the CAR, which became independent in 1960.
The unpleasant tradition of military coups in backward countries has pervaded the countries of Africa, which have, with a few exceptions, almost never known peace.
Wherever there is conflict, we need to look for radical or materialist ideas or else political or material advantage. The CAR is the world's number one diamond exporter.
It is the mother lode of the gold, uranium, platinum and cobalt that come to mind when Africa is mentioned.
As with other African countries, the administration and sale of these underground resources is in the hands of the former colonialists; the former colonial powers are now deeply uneasy at the presence of China, Russia and the USA, all of whom have turned their attention to Africa since 2000.
There are always wretched people in regions where conflicts of interest between the great powers take place: Let us remember that the main cause of the genocide of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar is a pipeline extending to China.
The French Senate, which thought that colonialist interests were threatened following the Mali operation last year, prepared a report titled "Africa is our future." That report described the reason for the Mali operation as the improvement of relations in the African continent, where the influence of China and the USA is growing by the day.
The report therefore stressed the importance of France maintaining its military power in the Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mali, Gabon, Chad, the CAR, Somalia and Niger.
On the basis of that report, the reason for the current French presence in the CAR may be interpreted as simply maintaining its military force and hegemony; indeed, there is no lack of people blaming France for the slaughter that is now going on in the region. But is France really following a mistaken policy in its former colonies?
The reference to "the protection of military power" in the report is a clear statement of the error in French policy. Intellectual, sectarian, racial or religious conflicts are essentially ideological conflicts; they can never be overcome through "military power." That is why European and US investment in military power has always failed.
The French people are fine and worthy; they live by modern European culture, quality and nobility. The main problem of the French people is their materialist mind set which they also inflict on their former colonies.
This false materialist way of thinking, based on the principle of "the strong eliminating the weak," has unknowingly prepared the groundwork for fascist ideas and this has always damaged Africa.
It must not be forgotten that happy societies that enjoy modern ways of thinking and prosperity do not rebel and become angry. Instead of spending money on arms for African countries where it retains a military presence, France should engage in ideological investment to build peace and develop them.
It must stress religious unity, not division. Otherwise the religious conflicts in Africa, and the world's perception of France as a "wicked colonialist", will not change. This step is vital if there is to be an end to conflict in Africa and it must be taken at once.
As for the current violence in the CAR, it would be more rational for the UN to send an international peacekeeping force rather than a purely French one, as France is already the subject of suspicion.
The author is a well-known author and a political commentator based in Turkey. All the views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of Times of Oman.