Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Easter in Blewbury
Thursday, April 17, 2014
I am not supposed to be here!
Alas, things don’t always turn out the way we expect...
Friday, April 11, 2014
Last night in Djenné
And I will leave for Bamako tomorrow and Algiers on the fifteenth, just before the Algerian elections and then England… more soon .
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
"'Is there some kinda Way out of here?' said the Joker to the Thief.."
Well, if that is what they are thinking they are quite mistaken. Levy and I retire to my house to watch an episode of Dynasty. Malians who were young in the eighties all remember Dynasty, the first soap opera shown on Malian TV. They all love it. I have brought with me the whole 9 series, dubbed into French. I was too much of a snob at the time to watch such things, so I am following it now for the first time, and I am hooked of course. But the best thing is not watching the screen itself- however fascinating- the best is to watch Levy watching Dynasty. He is living it 100%. He is outraged at Alexis behaviour and huffs and puffs. He is shocked if Crystel steps outside the saintly image he has of her : ‘She should not have kissed that man ! She is married to Blake ! ‘he wails. I try in vain to console him by saying that she didn’t go any further, so there was no harm done… but Levy shakes his head unhappily as he is taking his leave…
Monday, March 17, 2014
Toubab attempts more political commentary...
I am continuing to watch Algerian films in preparation for my exciting trip to Algiers for the elections and for Easter. These films, in particular the one I mentioned the other day: the fabulous The Battle of Algiers , have made me begin to form a theory....it concerns the MNLA and the French:
Saturday, March 15, 2014
there has been an unprecedented amount of people (over 160) from Ukraine reading this journal in the last month! I have discovered this from the statistics I can access. As far as I know noone from there has ever read it before. Well, I am flattered. I thought they had more pressing things to think about? But perhaps they turn to me for some light relief. In any case: ALA K'AN KISSI! as they say here: May God be with you and protect you!
Of Inks, Dyes, Medicines and Magic
Africa is behaving according to its nature: that is to say that it is either totally unbearable to be here or the most fantastic and exciting experience imaginable. During the 24hours of any given day, one will visit both these places several times...
Sometimes all things seem to converge: it is that way with the 8th of April this year. We have Helen Skinner, a paper conservator from Sweden arriving, on a small grant given to MaliMali to investigate what is needed to begin conservation work at the library. She will work with a Garba Traoré, a Malian conservator from the Ahmed Baba institute.
Meanwhile Maman has been sent off for his under-cover mission to the goldfields of northern Guinea, and I have just booked my flight back to Europe via Algiers where I will stay for the election and for Easter with my friend Carin Wall, former Swedish Ambassador to Mali and now to Algiers. I am watching anything Algerian I can lay my hands on and last night I saw the fabulous ‘Battle of Algiers’ by Gillo Montecorvo- much recommended watching, but quite controversial in that one finds oneself on the side of terrorism....
Friday, March 07, 2014
National reconciliation ?
" Action to reconcile opponents, in mutual disagreement ; from ‘ to reconcile’ "according to the dictionary . And ‘ to reconcile’ means : " To bring people to mutual agreement, to restore friendly relations " in the same dictionary- Larousse .
So who are these " people " we should " reconcile" in Mali? Is there a problem of understanding between the Tuareg and Songhai of Mali?
Between the Songhai and Arab of Mali?
Between Belah and Songhai ?
Between Arab and Tuareg of Mali ?
Between these communities and the State of Mali ?
THE ANSWER IS CLEAR AND IT IS NO !
So where does this term ‘reconciliation’ come from, this word so fashionable at the moment in Mali?
It stems from a misunderstanding of the Malian crisis.
Mali does not have and has never had a problem of understanding between her communities which have lived for millennia in perfect symbiosis: some nomadic traders; some pastoralists and some sedentary agriculturalists or merchants…
…After two years of crisis the problem remains despite the Serval intervention and despite the MINUSMA theatricals and the ostentatious retraining of the Malian Army.
The worst thing is that certain peddlars of illusion and certain Western countries have succeeded in deceiving the United Nations and France that these armed bandits (the MNLA) actually represent communities in Mali, and that they have political demands " that you need to look at" and " engage in a political dialogue."
The reality is that we have armed men in northern Mali who do not represent any of our communities and who took up arms for their own interests as mafia and bandits.
On the one side we have these armed thugs that were asking for the Independence of the 3 Regions of the North of Mali and who are now asking for autonomy which for them is one step towards independence. But they are not mandated by any community in Mali!
What to do?
Should we get organized to subdue these rogues or should we try and reconcile the members of a family which have no problem?
Well, you don’t reconcile people who have no need for it, but with armed bandits you either bow to their demands or you combat them.
But what is the Malian state doing during this time?
Well, exactly the opposite: that is to say it does not combat the armed bandits, and it doesn’t cede to their demands either.
We are therefore blocked and there is neither war nor peace and banditism is on the increase. To divert our attention the Malian state talks of National Reconciliation…etc.”
“ It is time now that the Malian state reclaims the north of our country and attack militarily these armed thugs in a WAR WITHOUT MERCY until the complete eradication of the vermin MNLA.”