Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Traditional medicine manuscript dealing with treatment for certain eye diseases (Djenne Manuscript Library)

"Where do people get their information from?"

I asked in disbelief in the last entry. Well, I have investigated a little, and I do know where this particular information came from. It must be a misunderstanding of the New York Times article by the art critic Holland Cotter which came out on the 18th of April: A Tribute to Islam, Earthen but Transcendent

This is an interesting article which deals only partly with the manuscripts. This part is mostly correct because I sent the information concerning the library to the journalist myself. However, he says that there are already 40 000 images online. That is not true. There are not yet any images available online. We are not ready for this and still in the middle of the project.

The journalist Holland Cotter had spent a few days in Djenne, staying at hotel Djenne Djenno, where I obviously greeted him, and spoke at least a few words with him as I always do. Unbeknown to me, he had then been shown around the town and taken to the Imam's library only. His guide had not even spoken about the Djenne Manuscript Library, and this is by far the most important library in Djenne! It was only when he was doing further research before writing his article that he came across information about the British Library Project in Djenne, so he contacted me. I could have spoken to him directly at the hotel, taken him to visit the Djenne Manuscript Library and given him an understanding of our work. Instead this had to be done online!
And this information gets misinterpreted by a Swedish broadsheet, who claims that the Mosque Project has been closed down by the 'religious authorities'! This 'religious authority' whose name I will not spell out, but whose identity must be clear by now, has been trying unsuccessfully to close down the project since the very beginning.

Oh, well, at least the project is in good health: it is about the only thing happening in Djenne at the moment. I am much looking forward to seeing the team at the end of June!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I quote:
“Mosque project stopped.
The Mosque in Djenne in Mali contains unique Arabic documents such as copies of the Koran, books about magic and the oral islamic tradition, and these are being digitized by the British Library. But recently the project was stopped: the town’s religious establishment owns a large number of the documents, and they now insist that only the Koran is digitized, and absolutely no books that deal with the oral or magic tradition.”

This notice appeared in Svenska Dagbladet (a Swedish quality broadsheet) on the 23rd of April this year! I found the little cutting at my mother’s place.

It is of course, thankfully, as all faithful readers of this journal know, utter tripe!
For a start, there are NO manuscripts in the Djenne mosque! There was once a library in the mosque, but the manuscrips that were kept there have been transferred, either to the Djenne Manuscript Library or to the private library of the Imam. He may well be the 'religious authority' referred to, but we are not digitizing any of his manuscripts and they represent only a minute proportion of the manuscripts of Djenne! The rest is owned by individual families of Djenne and they are free to do as they like: an astonishing number have handed their manuscripts over for safe keeping and digitization in the Djenne manuscript Library.

The British Library project steams on regardless of political and practical difficulties, and every night ca 300 new images, representing all different subject matter including magic are added to the digital collection of Djenne, which is already many, many times larger than that of Timbuktu! (where the future of the manuscripts is now uncertain.)

I immediately wrote a letter to the newspaper asking them to retract. I also offered to write an informative article for them about the project.

Where on earth do people get their information from???

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Bogolans and Guida's 'Never Again' Manifesto
MaliMali's bogolans are drying by the Bani river (the tributary to the Niger, which flows close by Djenne). There is plenty of activity in the MaliMali studio even though I am sitting by another water, far far away from the Bani river: lake Siljan near Leksand in Dalarna, Sweden, where a gentler sun is warming my limbs.
But my mind turns to Djenne, and Mali of course.
Dembele and the others in the studio are working to produce some fabrics requested by the World of Interiors for their October issue! The fabrics must arrive in London for the photographic shoot before the 22nd of June. This is fantastic news, since it will help in our scheme to try and survive in Djenne without tourists. Meanwhile I am also working, with my website designer Mark, on the MaliMali online shop and the updated website which should be ready end June insh'allah...

Keita is hesitant as to whether I ought to be living in Djenne on my return at the end of June for security reasons. I do hope to return to Djenne as usual but also to spend more time, perhaps a week/ten days a month in Bamako, hopefully to deal with the dispaching of all the orders we will get for MaliMali studio!

But everything concerning Mali has an enormous question mark hanging over it...
The situation seems to deteriorate by the day, with the country in a deep and double existential crisis both over national leadership and the occupation in the north.
In Bamako groups and organisations are springing up daily all trying from different positions to find a solution to the enormous problems that beset the country.

One of these new groups is founded by Guida Landoure, our friend who I interviewed in this blog regarding the Mali situation (see blog April 8.) He has sent me the manifesto that he wrote with some likeminded young Malians for their new organisation "Never again". I believe that their diagnostic for the reasons for the mess, as well as their recipe for how to build a new strong Mali are interesting and perceptive, and I have translated it here below.

The reasons for Mali’s derailment

From Independence until today, Mali’s successive governments have failed to meet people's expectations. The different leaders have either promoted a vision that differed from that of the people of Mali (first republic; led the country into a nepotistic and authoritarian state (second republic; or mismanaged state property (third and recent republic). These failures have led to the overthrow of all these governments, and the coup of March 1991 was the most significant and dramatic.

In March 1991, the Malian people, with the help of some of the military overthrew the dictatorial regime of General Moussa Traoré. After 23 years of autocracy, nepotism and lethargy, the population had suffered increasingly by delays in salary payments and lack of development in the priority sectors. They took to the streets, urged to action and encouraged by those that called themselves "genuine democrats" and who included the then general Amadou Toumani Toure. They succeeded in overthrowing the regime on March 26, 1991 but not without the cost of many lives. However,many had been willing to offer this ultimate sacrifice for the establishment of democracy. The watchword became: a state run ‘by the people, for the people and with the people’.

In the aftermath of this coup a new hope was born in everyone: young, old, men and women. The possibility of choosing Mali’s leaders and hence participate in the country’s future seemed within grasp. There was hope of seeing increased performance in education; there was hope that finally the state would treat its citizens with dignity: that wages would increase and that jobs would be created. Finally there was hope that the state would develop the primary sector to eradicate the poverty which was endemic.

Democratic elections were held and all or at least many expressed their choice through the ballot box for the first time, bringing to power the first democratically elected president, Alpha Oumar Konare.

However, although there was some progress in some sectors, it is clear that disappointment began to take hold in the population from the early years of the third republic. The education sector has deteriorated over the years; corruption has reached incalculable levels, as made obvious by the many billionaires among the civil servants. Government opposition has been discouraged and political debate, without which no system can consider itself democratic, has been stifled.

These evils have only worsened over successive administrations, resulting in further impoverishment of the population and a deterioration of public functioning. Twenty years after the advent of "democracy" a deep malaise has spread within the Malian people: large scale corruption and misuse of influence has become the currency; an attitude of mediocrity and laissez-faire has become wide-spread; the legal system is degraded and society lacking in justice. All these evils have created a rupture of confidence between the people and those in power.

Who should be blamed?

1. The Politicians.
The politicians in charge of the first democratic government (the third republic) have been more concerned with efforts to weaken the opposition, killing political debate and lining their own pockets than with finding lasting solutions to the problems for which they were elected. Therefore elections are now decided by the purchase method: politicians are buying their votes from the impoverished electorate, organizing huge political rallies where money and cloth and other commodities are handed out for the sole purpose of ensuring their election. This political game has created distrust and disillusionment in the people, causing a rift between politicians and voters. It has culminated in the participation of a smaller and smaller proportion of the population at the elections. We have gone from around 30% participation in 1992 to 15% at the last election, raising the question of government legitimacy.

2.The Population
Although the behavior of the politicians has been wrong and irresponsible, the Malian people themselves must also carry some of the blame: we should not have given up since we do possess the weapon of change: the vote. Instead the population has fallen into fatalism, perceiving itself to be powerless against these politicians who are regarded as all the same: all of them talking the same language pre-election and then turning their backs after being elected. Fatalism has reached such levels that people think that politics has become just another way to get rich.

3. The International community
The international community sees elections as the only barometer of democracy in Africa. The reality of day to day life in these so-called African democracies where corruption and nepotism is rife is of no interest to them. They continued to support the various governments, knowing full well that public funds were being squandered by some politicians.

Observations and solution:

The politicians alone are not capable of solving the problems of society. The population itself must exert pressure on the government by claiming its responsibility in the management of public affairs. This is done by both observing and questioning government actions from the very beginning of the mandates, and by insisting on both consultation and accountability in any great decisions which affect the future of the nation.

With this in mind, we have come together to build a movement whose aim it is to stimulate the spirit of citizenship in the population by inviting them to take their rightful place in the management of state affairs. This requires their involvement at all levels: in choosing their representatives; in recognizing and rejecting any act contrary to law; in questioning and putting pressure on their elected leaders concerning the problems which affect the country in general and their own localities in particular. It is only in this way that we are going to be able to avoid the events that happened on the 19 November 1968, the 26 March 1991 and the 22 March 2012.
We are committed to work actively in bringing about a new awareness, leading to a civic awakening in the population. This awareness will demand the end to impunity and to laissez-aller; an end to corruption and to nepotism.

We will require the establishment of a strong and just state where excellence is the only guarantee of access to a responsible position; a state concerned with the development of key sectors such as education, health and food self-sufficiency.
We are convinced that it is only by respecting these principles that we can ensure that we have no more coups d’états.

The nation-building is not up to politicians alone, they have shown their limits. The building of our nation is incumbent upon all native sons and daughters of Mali. In respecting our daily duties as citizens we will be certain to force a change of behavior in our leaders.
We propose to call this movement

"Never Again".

The goals of our Movement:

- Raise awareness in the people by pushing them to get involved in the management of state affairs,
- Create a forum for dialogue and reflection on the evils that plague society in order to find sustainable solutions,
- Stimulate the patriotic spirit of Mali by improving the individual behavior of everyone,
- Encourage if not insist upon the discussion of ideas and policy that is the bedrock of any development.


I think Guida hits the nail on the head by the observation that democracy is also the responsibility of the people, not only the politicians. Malians have become lethargic and fatalistic indeed, and have felt that they have no power in the face of a corrupt, so called 'democratic' state. This has led to a climate in which corruption can flourish freely and unchecked.
But the largely uneducated Malian people have long way to go before they have the confidence to assume this responsibility. It seems that a people must believe in themselves before they can believe in democracy. Is Africa ready? It is perhaps not a co-incidence that Guinea Bissau had a coup just before their elections too? Democracy must grow new roots in African soil, and this soil is different to the West. Perhaps our sort of democracy cannot be imposed on Africa just exactly the way we want it? Guida's attack on the West's lazy acceptance of anything as long as its called 'democratic'is quite justified.
But Guida's movement is at least a beacon forwards, so may his 'Never Again' movement inspire Malians towards a new African democracy!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Writing this on the last leg of my whistle stop European voyage: on the train north to Leksand in central Sweden, where I plan to do very little for a couple of weeks next to my mother and the delightful MNH (Mother’s New Husband).
Travel writing has been sketchy and also anachronistic. For the record my journeys went like this: Andrew and I took the ferry at Harwich bound for Hoek of Holland, and onto Amsterdam and Birgit. This is a neglected way to reach the continent, much in the shadow of the Euro-Star. However, it is fun! It has cheap and surprisingly comfortable cabins. Do take an outside one. Also make sure you dine in the proper restaurant and disregard the one-armed-bandit brigade, and it becomes a little mini-cruise! Here I am, happy and excited to have arrived in Hoek of Holland.

And here is Andrew, happy to be in Amsterdam, where much fun was had by all, Birgit included.

After Amsterdam I went to fabulous Lyon as seen in recent entry- then, as described, took train across Switzerland and Austria- I cannot recommend this enough- absolutely amazing! and managed to miss two dear friends, Elisabeth and Hinnerk, frequent hotel guests at Djenne Djenno in happier times ( even this last Christmas!) who live in Vienna. Instead I stayed in a hotel I shall not mention and wish to forget. But comfort was at hand: the Polish experience was unforgettable.

Arriving from Austria at the border of the Check Republic, there is all of a sudden an almost palpable change. The ghosts of communism are lingering. Suddenly the quality of everything goes down by several notches. Nevertheless, once in Krakow, the seat of the Polish kings from time immemorial, the weight of this splendid past more than made up for the horrors the last century has inflicted on this great city. It is difficult to escape the comparatively recent past, however, with tour guides bouncing up, smiling broadly and offeringly guided tours to Auschwitz!

Gilliane(right)and I were the guests of Elsie(left), the administrative and logistics person in charge of the Krakow Philharmonics. She gave us overwhelming Polish hospitality, as seen here: we had beetroot salad, Polish Wurst and cheese while she played Karol Szymanowski’s splendid 3rd Symphony over breakfast!

We then tried to repay her by taking her to a Krakow restaurant of her choice- we ended up at a place with panoramic views and fantastic ice creams! The sun was shining and the whole Krakow experience was an unforgettable interlude- since then I have been travelling non-stop!

And Mali…. More worrying news three hours ago: the MNLA, the Touareg rebels who declared an internationally ignored unilateral independence from Mali about a month ago, have reached a truce with the Ansar Dine, the Muslim fundamentalists who were previously linked solely with the AQIM- The Al Quaida in the Maghreb. The MNLA have clearly decided they are powerless in the face of the gun power of the Islamists- who are being supported from several mysterious but rich sources. Although the MNLA want a secular independent democratic state, they will never get there unless they join forces with the Islamic factions that allowed them to capture the North.
This development is worrying since it heralds a truce in the north, and as long as the various factions were fighting each other, the possibility of recapturing the North seemed a possibility, however problematic in prctical terms.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Krakow, Central Market Square.
Writing from Malmo, Sweden. It is evening, I have just arrived after a long journey from Krakow, Poland. This was a fabulous place which deserves much more than just a brief mention, especially as I met up with my dear old friend Gilliane who came down to meet me from Warzaw- I will return to this.
But just now I spoke to Keita, courtesy of Skype and news is worrying from Mali, as I had predicted. It seems that a large crowd of pro-junta protesters have today attacked and injured Diankounda Traore, the interim president, near the presidential palace in Bamako. They are very angry about the deal that has just been brokered with the ECOWAS which allows him to stay in power for a year, to give time to sort out the problems in the north, and to organize elections. It appears that they feel betrayed by Captain Sanogo, who does indeed seam to have been ‘bought’ by being promised the status of a former head of state, with all the related privileges, in return for his acceptance of Traore’s continuing as a President. The reason the protesters do not want Traore to continue as interim president is two-fold: firstly, and most importantly, they do not want to see any member of the old ruling political class, (such as Traore, ) viewed as rotten and corrupt to the core, to have anything further to do with the government of Mali. Secondly they do not want the ECOWAS to dictate to Mali how to run their country.
It is also quite clear by this attack, which was independent of the ex-junta, that Mali’s leadership crisis would not be solved simply by the removal or defusing of Sanogo’s power. Even if he himself is bought off what he represented is a widespread movement for change which cannot be so easily disregarded or squashed.

Friday, May 18, 2012

I spent two happy days in grey and overcast but as always lovely Amsterdam with Andrew, who came with me from England for this first leg of my Grand European Tour, when I visited my dear friend Birgit as usual. I also saw Ton van der Lee, the film maker, writer and creator of what is known as the Sandcastle, the large mud house by the Bani crossing as you arrive in Djenne. Ton thought that I should calm down and not worry too much about the immediate international launch of MaliMali Studio. He thought I should go back to Djenne, sit tight, spend very little money; develop products, build up stock, research delivery options. This was soothing advice to me since I had been getting increasingly nervous about how to go about things. I think he is right- and it is not because I am lazy- at least I hope not….

I want to write a blog, but I am constantly interrupted by the scenery which demands my attention. I have just boarded the train in Zurich, with destination Vienna. It is not just the scenery: improbaby blue lakes with snow capped mountains in the background with Hansel and Gretchen houses and church spires in the foreground. It is also the innumerable splendid horses in the emerald green fields and the frolicking overfed cows, a large number of which seem to be on heat and mating furiously. All these things are diverting my attention and keeping me from writing this blog which is long overdue.

Nevertheless,I will soldier on regardless.

Oh, dear! The mountains are getting improbably large. It is all turning into a John Martin painting.

I continued on to Lyon and two more dear friends- this time Pascal and Monique who always come to stay in Hotel Djenne Djenno when they go to Mali, which has been several times. I now know everything there is to know about Lyon courtesy of Pascal’s encyclopaedic knowledge and considerable pedagogical talents.

Lyon is a most wonderful city, hitherto undiscovered by me. Not only does it have two great rivers, LE Rhone and LA Soane, it has ‘La Colline qui Prie’ (The Hill that prays) with the Cathedral St. Jean and a Sacre Coeur style Basilica on the top; it also has ‘La Colline qui Travaille’ (the Hill that Works) where all the silk weaving of Lyon – and nearly all of France –took place in the 18th and 19th centuries by people in clogs (sabots) who were called Canuts. The word ‘Sabotage’ comes from the Revolte de Canuts, one of the first up- risings of the working classes to improve working conditions, sometimes in the 1830’s I believe.
Anyway, the Canuts are said to have taken off their Sabots one day and used them to smash up the silk- weaving looms, hence the word Sabotage…And you don’t walk in the streets of La Colline qui Travaille, you traboule through strange criss-crossing passage- ways which takes you through the Canuts’ houses and court yards.

Then, when you’ve finished trabouling, you don’t eat in restaurants, but in Bouchons, where you don’t drink wine from wine bottles but from pots, beautiful thick-glass- bottomed bottles and where you eat Cerveille de Canut (silk- weaver brains) and finish off with Fromage St. Marcelin.

All in all a much recommended experience.

And now on to Wien and Krakow tomorrow.

And, in the midst of all this merry making, what about poor Mali?

Keita is in good health and safe in Segou. In Djenne the library team is still working according to plan, although still at night because of continuous day-time lack of electricity. Baba and Maman at the hotel are not very forthcoming with news, which may or may not be a good sign… ‘Is everything OK?’ I ask every other day, and get the same tongue-tied reply: ‘Oh yes, everything is fine!’

But Mali is of course not fine. And the rest of the world has seemingly forgotten about it.
There is a crisis looming in a few days, on the 22nd of May when the 40-day period of the interim Prime Minster Diankounda Traore runs out. According to the Malian constitution elections should now be held. This is of course going to be impossible with half the country in rebel hands. But much pressure will be put on captain Sanogo and his team to disappear from the scene and ‘return to the barracks’ as his opponents in the ECOWAS, many of whom also came ‘from the barracks’ at some point are fond of calling it. I do not believe he will do so. This is likely to entail new sanctions from the ECOWAS and unrest in Bamako and elsewhere… Keita and his friends still do not want him to quit power, and there are many who agree. Others want a return to the old order at whatever cost- this cost is viewed by Keita and his like-minded to be the certain return to endemic corruption and powerlessness for the people if and when the old political elite gets back into power.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My old pal Cressida Bell has been kind enough to let me conduct an experiment in her textile printing studio.
I wanted to know whether it is possible to use mud for silk screen printing for bogolan? The answer is YES!

I had brought a bottle of real Mali mud from the Niger river and Dembele had prepared some of our handwoven cotton with the red dye that is derived from the bark of a tree, the name of which now escapes me, but which grows in the Malian bush only. We needed to use a silk screen-just anything would do, to find out whether the mud would go through the fine mesh.

We were both at the Royal College of Art in our final year (I did Fashion, Cressida Textiles) during the great miners’ strike in 1985. And lo and behold, she found an old screen in the back of her studio which must go back to those days! Although it was not her own screen, clearly, her father not having been a miner… but I digress.
The fact is that it is possible to print with mud, and that is fantastic news! I will bring out screens and we will probably be able to expose them in sunlight only! It means we can make much finer lines, and therefore we could for instance make bogolan scarves with Arabic writing on them, taken straight from the manuscripts – it would be great for a future little shop at the manuscript library for instance…Talking about the manuscripts, the team is still working every night in Djenne, and I have been to see the team here at the British Library who are pleased with the progress.
But I digress yet again…
The most important thing at the moment is to get the MaliMali furniture fabrics/clothing/accessories going on a larger scale, and to that end I am seeing my website designer this very afternoon to make a selling MaliMali website, and tomorrow I am going to see the organisers of Decorex, an interior furnishing fair where I hope to have a stand for MaliMali at the end of September. The stand will have mud walls- it will be terribly chic!
The lovely Richard Trillo, writer of the rough Guide to West Africa amongst other oeuvres, has kindly taken it upon himself to try and nudge me gently into the 21st century by being my guide in the labyrinthine world of new technology /internet phenomena such as Twitter. Ladies and Gentlemen, I am now a Twitterer, courtesy of the said Richard. In his opinion, this is the way forward to try and market MaliMali to the modern world. But I am but a fledgling yet, so don’t hope for much if you manage to find me on Twitter- I am called MaliMaliSophie, you can apparently also find me under my name Sophie Sarin….

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Went to Mass at St Francis of Assissi this grey English Sunday morning with
my old friend and Mali veteran Andrew . We ambled trough the Notting Hill streets with their ice cream coloured houses, the familiar and well-trodden territory which I replaced 6 years ago by the dusty ochre hues of the Malian savannah.

‘I am the Vine, you are the branches’, Fr. Michael read from St. John’s gospel. ‘Remain in me and you will bear much fruit’.

I am more than ever aware of how much in need of help and divine guidance I am. I need to bear much fruit! And it is not just for myself: it is for everyone else that depends on me this time. MaliMali has to work now! 10 people on the hotel staff and 5people in the MaliMali studio- all relying on income that I must somehow generate. We need to earn money to replace the money from the missing hotel guests. They are unlikely to come back to Mali for years!

I have got nowhere so far. I email people trying to get appointments to show our fabrics, to try and find an agent, to try and just get a place at a furnishing fabric fair called Decorex, held in London in September. My emails must all disappear into people’s spam folders! I am reminded of what it was like to leave art college when you were at the bottom of the ladder and had to spend days just to get one appointment! But this time it isn’t just me, I represent a number of people in a war-torn third world country …. I feel somehow entitled to a break somewhere- just a little help? But there is probably help at hand- perhaps I just haven’t known where to look and how to tap into it?

The fact is that MaliMali did have a great break in 2007 when we were featured in the World of Interiors- just about the most prestigious Interior design magazine in the world! Literally hundreds of people wrote and wanted to buy our stuff… but we were not set up properly, and anyway the hotel was taking all my energy. The chance we were given was not really exploited like it should have been… and people would kill to get into the World of Interiors! I have decided to swallow and go back and see if I can’t persuade them to help us again…

As I was walking down the road I passed a smart Notting Hill restaurant just now. A pretty young woman came running, she had seen me through the window- where on earth did I get my shawl? It is bogolan isn’t it? Where could she find one like that? I felt encouraged again: surely it will work? Surely MaliMali will take off? More soon…

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Counter Coup Attempt in Bamako

David, friend and frequent commentator on this blog alerted me to this news through his comment this morning, as I emerged from the steam bath on this my last day of Health Farm pampering...

Appalled, I called Keita as usual for inside news.
Indeed, the counter coup was led by the red Berets, the Presidential Guard, still loyal the the deposed president Amadou Toumani Toure (ATT) and his set, i.e. those that the world press call 'the political elite'. Among this 'elite' you will find the same Sumaila Cisse and Modibou Sidibe that were arrested in Bamako on the 17th of April - see blog this day- amid rumours of a conspiracy that time involving Nigerian mercenaries. They were later released, Modibo Sidibe for the third time since the coup of 22nd March, because of international pressure.
The red Berets now had reinforcements from mercenaries from the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso. Captain Sanogo's troops are said to have killed 'a number' of these in heavy fighting during the night in Bamako.

The status quo is regained. But it is a fragile situation. World opinion still swings towards what it regards as the injured party, the democratically elected president ATT, ousted just before the election. Therefore an attempt to restore the old regime will be viewed with leniency. The Ex-junta of Sanogo can probably never achieve any legitimacy in the world opinion, although they are now carrying out exactly what they said they would do. The terms of handing over power to a civilian government were negociated with Blaise Compaore in Ouagadougou on April 6. This agreement placed several of Sanogo's team within the interim government, thus granting them that legitimacy which is now apparently ignored.

Sonny Ugoh, a spokesman for the ECOWAS commenting on the counter coup attempt to the BBC said he was not surprised by the fighting because the junta was "still meddling" in the affairs of government.
"We urge [the military] to get back to barracks" as he puts it.

It would be helpful if the ECOWAS and the rest of the world would understand that Sanogo's junta had and still has the vast majority of the Malian people behind them. They are now acting according to the Ouagadougou agreement. There is now a President and a Prime Minister who has chosen his interim cabinet. None of these people are part of the ancien regime, the corrupt old political elite who are now stirring up trouble. This old political elite are still vastly wealthy owing to the money they stole from the Malian people during the last 'democratic' decades and they are more than able to hire mercenaries to try and recoup their lost power!