Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Incomprehensible things in African Markets
Sunday, August 18, 2013
Back to Library Business
When the manuscripts of the Ahmed Baba Institute in Timbuktu were partially destroyed by the spite of the Islamists as they fled before the liberation of the city by the French in February, the world became aware of the importance of Mali’s written heritage. Although most of the interest naturally focussed on the city of Timbuktu which had lived through the horror of the Islamist occupation, our work at the Djenne Manuscript Library also gained an added sense of urgency and the British Library project to digitize the manuscripts of Djenne did receive a certain amount of welcome attention by the international press.
I am returning to Djenne with £55 000 worth of funding by the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme for a further 2 years of digitization work. This is of course wonderful. However, just photographing the collection is an unbalanced way to support the library, and there are factions in the town which sees digitization work as a form of theft: the images will be ‘stolen’ and eventually put up for free internet access through the British Library. ‘And what do we get out of it?’ the population of Djenne asks...
Thursday, August 15, 2013
(see Colonel Gamou in the blogsearch above).
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
The power of a name
By any other name would smell as sweet."
Mali is emerging from its deepest crisis in modern history.
see blog April 24 2012
(This national consciousness has never included the Tuaregs, who have always stood aside from the rest of the Malian tribes. In the twilight days of the Malian Empire (the beginning of the 15th century) the Tuaregs defeated and chased out the ruling Southerners from the city of Timbuktu, which they then ruled for a couple of decades until they were in turn chased out in 1468 when Sonni Ali Ber established the Songhai empire.)
Soumaila Cisse congratulates IBK on his victory
Although the official results have not been pronounced, everyone knows that IBK has won a very significant victory. This reconciliation step is very important since it calms fears of post election violence.
Monday, August 12, 2013
Landslide Victory for IBK probable
There is a good reason why noone wants to pronounce the victory quite yet: during the first round Malijet offered the same service, and the results then also showed a massive victory for IBK, which produced premature celebrations in the IBK camp who believed there would be no second round. However, those first indications showed an exaggerated IBK victory and when the results from the country side were taken into account a second ballot was confirmed.
Last night's figures showed over 75% for IBK. These figures will be modified. Nevertheless, it is enough of a trend to understand that he has won. The official figures, pronounced by the Constitutional Court will follow on Friday.
Saturday, August 10, 2013
Last minute election maraboutage …
Djenne is the centre of Malian Maraboutage, as we know. This is a form of Islamic Magic still practised and believed in, at least to some degree, by every Malian I know. Now it is very much part of Malian election campaining...
During the first round campaign both the two remaining candidates came to Djenne and met with the Djenne Marabouts. I have inside knowledge through Yelfa, my friend and Grand Marabout at the Djenne Manuscript Library and can therefore tell you that IBK gave 1000 000FCFA (ca E 1500) to the Marabouts while Soumaila gave 2000 000 FCFA. ‘But this is not very logical’, I objected to Yelfa. ‘There can be only one winner in this’. The Marabouts can’t make both win!' Yelfa explained that they wanted only the blessings of the Djenne Marabouts for a peaceful election. But now the stakes are higher and methods are becoming less genteel:
The Bamako ‘Reporter’ has come forward with some interesting information which it reported yesterday totally without irony. I translate below the main gist of the article:
“ Soumi’s Sacrifices (Soumi=Soumaila Cisse, IBK’s adversary in tomorrow’s second round)
Ever since the closing of the polling stations and the proclamation of the first results which gave... IBK the victory already in the first round, the candidate of the URD (Soumaila Cisse) and his entourage have been consulting their Marabouts. These have given the instruction to slaughter camels, an instruction which the URD candidate has followed to the letter. ..Therefore hundreds of camels have been ordered and sacrificed in one of the northern regions. This proves that Soumaila Cisse’s marabouts understand the seriousness of the task ahead, and Cisse himself affirms that he will win the election, but not without great difficulty.”
'Mali must sacrifice 70 horses in order to prevent a post election crisis.
The elections will proceed in peace if the authorities sacrifice 70 horses. If they fail to do so, Mali can expect the worst, because there will be a post election crisis which will have serious consequences for her very existence. It is in fact quite probable that the result of the ballot will be contested. At least this is what has been predicted in certain Bamako mosques during Friday prayer yesterday, in particular the Mosques of de Niamankoro, Faladié et Siarakoro, where the young imams are purporting to have special knowledge that in order to avert a disaster-a blood bath- Mali must sacrifice 70 horses.”
(A blood bath whatever happens in other words...)
But an IBK supporter commenting on this article on www.malijet.com was not so convinced, at least about the potency of Cisse's camel sacrifices:
Tuesday, August 06, 2013
Everything boils down to the bare essentials in this second round and what emerges are the legends and the hopes. There must be a break from the old and the candidate who is able to stir peoples' dreams will win. This is true of all elections perhaps, but never so much as in Mali right now. There is a yearning for a new Mali. This is why people who never voted came out and voted in the first round, making this the largest turn-out in Malian history.
Somaila Cisse and his party URD, together with the large party ADEMA belongs to what is known as the FDR, the 'Front uni pour la Sauvegarde de la Democratie et la Republique' or the 'anti-Putchists' for short. They represent for a large number of the Malian people all those who were happy to line their pockets at the people's expense and who wanted the status quo to remain.
'Les deux GRANDS VOLEURS du Mali sont ds le meme CAMP maintenant.....' (the two great thiefs of Mali are now in the same camp) wrote a commentator on Malijet after this announcement.
Meanwhile 20 of the smaller candidates have rallied behind IBK, it was announced last night. The Cisse camp came out in a storm of protests of 'disgust', seeing in this rallying only an unseemly scramble for potential ministerial posts in a future IBK administration. Even the hapless ADEMA candidate Draman Dembele has joined the IBK camp, against his own party- probably for an impure motive along the above lines... However, what cannot be so easily explained is that the ADEMA youth movement has also rallied IBK!
Hmmmm.... most interesting.... I wish I could be in two places at once Bamako on Sunday will be THE place to be, inshallah!
Vive le nouveau Mali, Vive IBK!
Monday, August 05, 2013
One foot in Mali, one in Europe...
I then jumped on a plane bound for Sweden, and have arrived at my childhood Paradise Torekov on the Swedish West coast where I am having a dreamlike time in the bosom of my family- that is all my cousins and their numerous off spring.
Nevertheless, I keep a constant eye on developments in Mali via Malijet and telephone conversations with my Keita- was disappointed that IBK did not win outright in the first round. Concerned about the rumour of 400 000 distroyed or illegible votes in the first round- how can that happen??? Mali is crawling with thousands of international election observers, surely they don't just observe the voting centres but they keep an eye on the whole process, including what happens later with the votes? It will possibly be a close run thing in the second round...
But yesterday, far from the concerns of Malian politics, my cousin Lasse and I sailed to Halland's Vadero under a cloudless sky!
Must rush to the beach now! In contrast to Mali where I hide in the shade, I reverted to Swedish national behaviour immediately: we seek the sun of course, and want to take advantage of every last ray of sunshine! The forcast for tomorrow is rain...