DJIBOUTI: Ceremonies at the Gate of Sorrows

France, which once ruled nearly half of Africa, gave up its last formal foothold on the continent this week. At a Sunday midnight ceremony in the decaying Red Sea city of Djibouti, a new flag of blue, green, white and red replaced the French Tricolor atop a floodlit pole at the high commissioner's residence overlooking the mud flats at the edge of Djibouti harbor. As a 21-gun salute boomed out and fireworks lit up the night sky, the French Territory of the Afars and Issas (T.F.A.I.) became the Republic of Djibouti, Africa's 50th independent state. The most notable visitor...

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