Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Went to the internet café this morning, escaping from the hotel for a little while. The television is always on, and there was vintage footage of Thomas Sankara addressing the people of Burkina Faso. Sankara is still the undisputed people's hero of West Africa, a champion of the poor, the down trodden, and of the women of Burkina Faso. Visionary, inspired and naive, he decreed that all the men of Burkina Faso had to go to the market and cook and take the place of their wife for one day to see what a woman's lot was like. In my opinion the reason women of Burkina Faso ride bicycles (see end August, beginning Sept. entry) is due to Thomas Sankara's emancipating influence.
He wanted to eliminate the tradition of Muslim mendiant children, insisting that the Koran instructed that man should work, not beg for a living. He banned all land lords, decreeing that accommodation should be free. Not surprisingly he was looked upon as a dangerous fire brand by the international community.
Sankara was first chosen by Blaise Compaoré, his military brother-in-arms, to become president of the little land-locked country, then assassinated by the same Blaise for being too radical. Blaise Compaoré is now president, and noone speaks too much about these things in Burkina Faso...except in hushed tones only. There is something grand and truly tragic in a Greek sense about the story of these two blood brothers. Posted by Picasa


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