Saturday, May 30, 2015
Friday, May 29, 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
"A Fortress for Ewoks???"
The House of Detention
And did it do us any good? Impossible to tell. The show was supposedly frequented by potential clients: architects and interior designers who might want to use our textiles for various projects. People wandered in and out of my 'cell', some of them casting a furtive glance only but picking up a business card, others staying and chatting for some time, while I went through the rigmarole of explaining everything about the bogolan manufacture in detail, only to find out as often as not when I asked who they were that they had nothing to do with design whatsoever, but they were in 'human resources' or 'IT' or ran a restaurant up the road..... Oh well, at least it passed the time and made me forget for a moment how dreadfully cold I was. The faintly annoying thing was that I had to reply to exactly the same .questions as those facing me when I am at Hotel Djenné Djenno: "how long have you been in Mali?' "What made you decide to live in Mali?" etc. etc. The picture behind me of Dembele made everyone think I was showing Kenyan fabrics because he looks like a Masai, draped in the Zebra fabric. I had to disappoint them all by explaining that Dembele is an accountant, not a Masai Warrior.
Let's see what it will bring... I am now intending to concentrate on having a holiday!
Sunday, May 17, 2015
A Peace Agreement without Peace
IBK's attack has been taken very badly by the head of the UN mission, Hervé Ladsous, who on Saturday accused Mali of being ungrateful, stating that the mission to Ma1i has been very costly in human terms with 35 dead in the last two years. IBKs speech may have lacked in diplomatic finesse, but it did nevertheless express the sentiments of a large proportion of Malians.
Sadly, in the aftermath of this signing , and in the absence of the CMA (Coordination des Movements de l’Azawad ) there remains perhaps only a vestige of hope that the long brokered accord will make any real difference.
Thursday, May 07, 2015
Brrr! SOOO Cold!
Meanwhile in Bamako the temperature was 46 degrees today but here I am wrapped up in whatever sweaters I can lay my hands on ( this happens every year!) I never remember how unbelievably COLD London is!
Monday, May 04, 2015
Slightly Tipsy in Casablanca
But David has insisted that I post some pictures of this year’s Crépissage of the Great Mosque of Djenné, so I feel must try , albeit a little belatedly. ..
This year’s event distinguished itself by the presence of some Togolese UN soldiers in Djenné to guard , somewhat ostentatiously , certain UN personnel . Noone has ever seen UN troops in Djenné before but here they were, travelling about in a proper TANK and armoured vehicle with sub machine guns. They seemed to be enjoying themselves at the ‘crepissage’ and told me there was nothing even remotely like it in Togo.
The reason for my somewhat unusual decision to have the hotel guarded was that I had had a peculiar phone call from the security section of a major embassy in Bamako the day before the crepissage. ‘Was I aware of anything going on in Djenné, any panic at all?
Any unusual events in Djenné? Had I heard about any people leaving the town?’ The security officers were in possession of a transcript from a radio broadcast from Mauritania which gave the information in Songhai and in Tamachek that ‘Djenne was in imminent danger of a terrorist attack ; that the population was in a state of panic and leaving the town in large numbers for the safety of towns like Mopti.’ They sent me a translation of the transcript of this broadcast by email. I said I would look into it.
And now, a week later, I am myself once more leaving Mali somewhat reluctantly, on the eve of momentous events. Will the peace treaty be signed on the fifteenth of this month? Mali is all but stable- the cease fire is repeatedly broken in the northern areas. If the peace agreement is finally signed it will continue to be an uneasy peace alas...