Wednesday, August 15, 2012

When Mali was thrown into turmoil in March/April, I fled Djenne while my studio team continued working on an order of make-up bags for Lela in South Carolina( They were working through the night since there was no day time electricity in Djenne. Today Lela sent me photographs of the results!

Meanwhile August skies hang pregnant with rain over Bamako. But there is some brightening at the horizon in the thick clouds of malcontent and disunity that have weighed this troubled capital down for several months: Diounkounda Traore, the acting President is showing signs of becoming a wise leader.

He has not yet announced the new unity government, insisted upon by ECOWAS and the International Community, but he has revealed that the interim Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra will stay on in this position in the new government. Diarra has been criticized on two fronts: he is seen to have continued to confer with Captain Sanogo, the coup leader, and he has been attacked as being inefficient. However, Diounkounda may well be realizing that Diarra’s continued connection with Sanogo is valid in so far as this latter still enjoys an enormous following amongst the ordinary Malian people who now refer to him affectionately as AYA. It would be foolish, arrogant and indeed dangerous to underestimate what ‘AYA’ still represents for many people: they do not see the renegade criminal who destroyed the Malian democracy, as described and believed by the international community, but instead the hero who toppled a hated and corrupt government which was nothing like the model of democracy that the West liked to believe.

The day before yesterday a meeting of the ECOWAS in Bamako regarding the assistance of the surrounding countries for the deployment of troops to the North has now finally born some fruit, alhamdil;ullah! There is now hope that the road may finally be paved for a concerted effort to liberate the occupied territories.
There was already an offer of assistance with troops from the ECOWAS a couple of months ago. Some people have not quite understood why this offer was not accepted. The problem was that there was to have been three stages of the deployment of troops: in stage 1 the troops were supposed to remain in Bamako ‘to oversee the transition’ and ‘ensure the security of the institutions’. This was not acceptable to Mali who saw it as a meddling in Mali’s internal affairs. The attack on Diounkounda Traore by soldiers supposedly loyal to Sanogo in May– there was a strong condemnation of this aggression from Cheick Modibo Diarra at the time-was seen as proof of the need for ECOWAS troop deployment in Bamako. Now Diounkounda himself has insisted that he has every faith in the security forces of Mali. This has provided the key to unlock the deadlock, and the spectre of ECOWAS troops loitering in their thousands in Bamako is no longer a threat: a state of affairs which many had feared would accomplish nothing but the spread of prostitution and AIDS.

And what else?
Spending my last time at Ann’s in Bamako: she is taking her children and moving to Conakry, Guinea, one of the many toubabs leaving an unstable Mali in order to secure a peaceful coming school year for their children. But Bamako will not be the same without Ann!
I am working once more at the Artisanat, making bogolan boots and bogolan rag rug+ leather bags!
More soon...


Blogger Unknown said...

Bonjour Sofie.
Are you living in Mali still now?

I hope you, your families your teams and your friends have hope in their lives.

Yuko Japonase
( I was introducing Japanese travelers to your hotel through Satimbe. )


1:43 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

Dear Yuko,
thank you for your message!
I am still here, making things instead of being a hoteliere, as you can see.
But I hope you will one day be back and that tourism will one day florish here again inshallah!
All the best,

1:50 PM  

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