Thursday, January 31, 2013

Back in Djenne

Celebrating our arrival in Djenne last night by using Malik Sidibe’s picture of Keita and me  from 2007, when Mali was a very different place...
The bus journey from Bamako was long and dusty as always, but no one questioned my presence and why I wanted to travel north.
Djenne is calm and the Harmattan is sweeping in covering everything with dust. 

A large question mark hangs over Kidal. What is happening? Everyone is waiting patiently, and trying not to jump to conclusions. The French are there. They are waiting for reinforcements from African troops. Two Malian soldiers were blown up by  land mines between Douentza and Hombori. The road is long between Gao and Kidal. It is possible that great security measures are underway to demine before the troops  can join?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Kidal 'liberated?'

Moussa Ag Assarid, spokesperson for the MNLA and darling of the French Press has just announced that the MNLA have taken control of Kidal as well as another smaller northern town, and that they are willing to negociate with the Malian Goverment and the coalition. They moved in and seized the town without any opposition, he claimed.
This is very opportun for the MNLA, who have been sidelined by the Ansar Dine and other extremists groups for many months. What will the Coalition forces do? Will they listen or will they contimue and wrest control over Kidal from the MNLA?
It is would be a good idea perhaps to remember before welcoming with open arms  the MNLA, that they were the ones who got us into this mess in the first place. They were the ones who invited the Jihadist groups to fight on their side. Personally I do not trust them...but of course they are an improvement on the other groups because they do not want to promote Sharia, but only an independent Azawad.

Meanwhile in Bamako the enthusisam for the former colonisers is still running high, and  Lassina Keita, above, has done a roaring trade in Tricolors.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Gates of Kidal?

Just flew  into a Bamako which is in a mood of near euphoria- staying at the Villa Soudan., which is crawling with journalists.


 Trying to rest a little but can’t help watching the Malian TV channel  ORTM which keeps  running a government film about Kidal. When I first arrived in Mali 7 years ago this film was shown every few days as part of  a promotional drive to foster the spirit of National Unity. Every day a new region was given a focus in  pictures and music.
The French and the Malians have liberated Gao and Timbuktu- Are they are at the gates of Kidal?

Saturday, January 26, 2013


TAP, the Portuguese airline, had the charming idea of cancelling my  Bamako flight today, thereby taking charge of me and  putting me up at  quite a decent hotel In Lisbon in order to fly me out tomorrow morning with a much more civilized hour of arrival- midday in Bamako rather than midnight!
 And as an extra bonus I had an evening in Lisbon. Now, why don’t people rave on about Lisbon? It is surely one of the most magnifcent cities in the world? I mean, up there with Paris and Stocknolm, non?

I arrived in the middle of a teachers’ union demonstration

and moved on down through what must be the main Promenade, the Ramblas of Lisbon, where there was plenty of activity and fun going on.

The Portuguese are unusually decorative in their street paving- this spread into Brazil of course, where Niemayer’s cities are beautiful under foot.

There was more Brazil in the mild winter air, as a group of young people played and performed Capoeira , their graceful bodies swerving and pirouetting  in the playful  Brazilian martial dance more  for fun than for profit, it seemed. 


And then came the impossibly grand classical  square by the sea, where I sat in a bar for a moment and drank a Porto Seco, before returning to the hotel where I received a joyful message that Gao has been liberated!

Obrigada indeed.

Towards Bamako

Leaving a wintry London this morning for Bamako and onto Djenne in a few days, inchallah...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

let's get this straight... This is an attempt by Anna Alissa Hitzemann and Ben Zala for the Oxford Research Group to simplify the Mali crisis into a long running grievance by the ‘marginalized Nomadic peoples of the North’. They write: ‘The French-led intervention in Mali is only one of many in a growing list of attempts to control outbreaks of political violence and terrorism with military means... Common to all of these examples is the reluctance to match military operations against rebel groups and insurgents with serious, long-term efforts to address the factors that underlie the feelings of resentment and marginalisation that drive such conflicts.... it is worthwhile examining the political, socio-economic and cultural divisions which have sparked the uprising in the north of Mali.... The formation of the Tuareg-led MNLA movement...led significant armed struggle and resistant movements against colonisation by the French and later the central Malian government.... Long-term sustainable security and stability for Mali will not be possible without seriously addressing the long-standing and deep-seated grievances that stem from the marginalisation of the northern territories and their peoples. If the problem was only the MNLA’s claim for independence, this conflict could most probably have been solved by negotiation and by the creation of a semi-autonomous Azawad Nation. But the problem is no longer the MNLA’s fight for an independent state; it is the fact that they went into unholy alliances with Jihadists to reach their goal. These Jihadist groups are mostly alien to Mali’s soil, and they used the MNLA as a Trojan Horse to gain control of northern Mali. Once they gained control, they ousted the MNLA who are no longer players in this game since they no longer hold any significant territory. Therefore to speak of ‘ resentment and marginalisation that drive such conflicts’ is no longer relevant. The French went in to help ousting the terrorist groups, not the MNLA Touareg freedom fighters.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

human rights abuses? This is a very disturbing article, but it would be helpful if the Guardian tried to analyse the situation with some fairness, rather than accusing the Army of taking advantage of the situation for racial discrimination. Some Fulani have complained of being singled out and are now staying indoors reports the Guardian, and goes on to describing the situation as if there had always been racial tension between Fulani and southerners. This is absolutely not true. With the exception of the Touaregs who have wanted independence and whose relations with the rest of the Malian tribes have always been uneasy, Mali’s tribes live in enviable harmony. The situation in the warzones in Mali is becoming very difficult because of the Islamist’s tactics of integrating inside the population and hiding out in people’s houses. Therefore it must be necessary to control any unknown new arrivals, and inevitably light skinned people will attract more attention. The other day I spoke to Samake in Djenne. He said three people had been arrested there. They were indeed of a lighter complexion. They were also completely unknown to anyone in Djenne, and they remain in prison there for the moment, apparently. They were suspected of being Islamist spies. I think there will be arrests of this kind, inevitably. This is a war situation, and regrettably harsh measures cannot be avoided. The Guardian reports: Amnesty International says that it has documented evidence of abuse by the Malian army, including extrajudicial killings. It says that in September, a group of 16 Muslim preachers composed of Malian and Mauritanian nationals were arrested then executed by the Malian military in Diabaly. Some commentators in Mali speculate that the occupation of Diabaly by Islamist fighters – whom French and Malian soldiers said they had defeated on Friday – was sparked by vengeance for the actions of the Malian army there. This is the story of the vehicle that refused to stop at a checkpoint( mentioned in my blog on 15th of October in relation to the incident with the Mauritanian president). This was a situation clumsily handled by the Malian Army. But for Amnesty International to claim that it was a crime against Humanity is way exaggerated. The vehicle refused to stop at a military check point in a climate of heightened security despite warning shots being fired in the air repeatedly.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

What are they waiting for?

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has told a meeting in the Ivory Coast that ‘the deployment of African soldiers is now a priority.’.But Mali’s neighbouring nations are slow in coming to the recue. France had been obliged to send in troops "very, very rapidly otherwise there would be no more Mali".said Fabius. This is probably true. So why is it taking so long for the ECOWAS troops to arrive? So far only a fraction -100- of the promised 3500 troops have arrived: ‘The first contingents of Togolese and Nigerian troops arrived in Bamako on Thursday. Nigerien and Chadian forces were massing in Niger, Mali's neighbor to the east.’ Said Reuters a couple of hours ago.
It had been unconfirmed that French soldiers had actually engaged in ground combat, but yesterday Adam Nossiter in Bamako reported for the New York Times’: ‘French soldiers have battled Islamist militants in direct clashes on the ground in central Mali since just after landing last week, according to officials, and fighting continued on Thursday as hundreds of French reinforcements arrived. The ground battles expanded the campaign against the militants, who have seized much of the nation, beyond the airstrikes used initially. ‘ Well, since the French sent in Foreign Legion Cavalry, these must have been the forces used alongside the Malian troops to regain Kona and Diabaly, it would seem...?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Alhamdilullah! Kona and Diabaly regained! Keita told me a couple of hours ago that Diabaly had been recaptured. Now there is confirmation. Both these localities were in the government held southern part of Mali- their recapture was crucial.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

1er Régiment Étranger de Cavalerie

The first ground troops in Mali deployed by the French army are Foreign Legionnaires. Forgive me for being girly about this: I think it’s the fault of Edith Piaf. This is of course impossibly romantic. A Cavalry of Foreign Legionnaires?? I swooned until someone a little more informed told me that did not mean On Horseback... And then I looked them up: • 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment, the only cavalry unit in the Foreign Legion • Based in Orange, in France's south-eastern Vaucluse department, since 1967 • Formed in 1921 in Tunisia, partly from White Russian legionnaires • Expert in • desert warfare, saw action in Indochina, Algeria and First Gulf War

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Out of Africa

Lulie’s wake at the Chelsea Arts Club has passed- a lovely moment of remembrance.... And amongst the things she left for me was this treasure: A first edition ‘Out of Africa’ from 1937!

Into Africa

I have been trying my best to change my ticket- I am restless and want to return. Tried to fly this Saturday instead of the 26th, but cannot get a flight until Monday with a large penalty to pay for changing it. So will have to hold my horses...Talking of horses, someone has bought the venerable old Max. I had told Ace to try and sell because I cannot continue feeding two horses in Djenne now. The end of an era. And my telephone call with Sidi in Timbuktu would no longer be possible today. Keita told me just now that all contact with the occupied territory has been cut. Perhaps too many people are giving information about positions of the rebels etc..?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sunset encounter

Sidi, a young merchant from Timbuktu, came to visit me on my sunset terrace exactly a week ago. We had met in the library during the day. He was visiting relatives in Djenne- it was the first time he had left Timbuktu since the fall of the town into Islamists hands. Many of his friends had left, but he is responsible for his elderly parents, who do not want to leave. He was returning to Timbuktu on the bus the following day, while I left for Bamako. Sidi was sporting emerging stubble on his chin: he had shaved his enforced beard off once he arrived in Sevare. Now he had to regrow it. He talked calmly about the situation, taking the pragmatic view that if he kept out of the way of the Islamists, they would leave him alone.

the road to timbuktu

I phoned Sidi just now: 1pm Tuesday 15th. He is in Timbuktu, and gave the following report: So far there has been no bombing of the town. The village of Nyere, 40 k away has been hit, however. The Islamists are still in Timbuktu, and have not fled, contrary one report by the BBC one hour ago: “One resident of Timbuktu told AFP: "The mujahideen have left. They are really scared." They have not left, but they have moved out of their previous headquarters in a BMS bank. They have also abandoned Hotel La Maison. They are now in the Artisanat- the Arts and Crafts Market. Sidi does not think they are very heavily armed. He says they are patrolling around town in about 15 vehicles.
But in Djenne all is still well and continues as normal, the only difference is that the bank has closed.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


I have plunged into a freezing London and been immediately immersed in European culture, courtesy of David- great friend, music critic and the most frequent of commentator in this journal, who whisked me off to the Barbican and a spirited performance of Elgar’s 1st symphony last night.
Mean while much is happening in Mali. Forgive me for not resisting this temptation: I do have to insist that I brought you the news about the French intervention 24 hours before anyone else! It was not until 17.00 yesterday that Holland actually came out and admitted to what had happened the day before: the French had sent in troops. The first thing that was reported as far as I can see was Al Jazeera’s report around the same time as Holland’s announcement. But you already knew about it, of course....
Peu importe. The thing is, they are there, and this must be a good thing. Mali could not be left in this predicament without help. Everyone I have spoken to in Mali are relieved and very happy about the French intervention.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Three French military cargo planes have landed at Sevare. Yhey are accompanied by lighter aircraft. More is expected during the night. The airport has been taken over by the military. Most civilians have fled Sevare. Meanwhile I just got a message from Karen telling me that the Army has regained control of Kona, Alhamdilullah!

stop press! stop press!

Villa Soudan Sunset with Amede from La Maison Rouge, who was in despair at the developments when Keita calls, saying that large military helicopters have been seen flying north over Segou. A few minutes later he calls again, with the following as yet unconfirmed news from military insiders in Sevare: French and Niger troops have just arrived at Sevare airport, with 'gros moyens' !!!!
Spent one more of my favourite sort of days lounging by the fabulous pool at Hotel Amitie, where the gilded youth of Bamako are smoking Hubblibubblies, flirting and laughing as if their country were in the best of health...All was well until Keita phoned me with the devastating news that Kona had been taken by the Islamists- although at one point the army seems not only to have repelled them, but to have advanced successfully as far as Douentza. I am leaving tonight for London for two weeks- what will happen in these two weeks? Will I even be able to return? My mind is torn between being happy to go to London and at the same time not wanting to leave the theatre before the play is over!

Frying Pan to Fire?

Another gruelling 12 hour bus trip conveyed me from a calm Djenne to Bamako last night. During the journey two phone calls alerted me to unrest in Bamako. Several demonstrations had taken place, some calling for Diankounda Traoure’s resignation, some apparently on unrelated matters, such as a teacher’s pay dispute, which has been rumbling on for months. I couldn’t help reflecting that this is perhaps not the moment for pay disputes? Not the moment even for complaining about Dionkouda, weak leader though he might be. He will soon be gone. There are larger things afoot, surely? Is this not the moment to present a united front? ‘He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all ranks’, says Sun Tzu. In this case perhaps it must apply to the whole Malian people?
I was invited to stay at Caroline’s place. She is the Head Mistress at the American School. It is a much recommend place to be when something is going on, because ambassadors will call her, and ministers will call her too- they all have their children at her school. It was decided that the school would remain open today, in the face of probable continued unrest on the streets of Bamako. The French school is open too, although all Malian government schools are closed.
Caroline’s place is also much recommended for other reasons: a gracious hostess and an excellent cook, she has a very good collection of African artifacts since she has lived in many corners of the continent. I have never collected masks or sculptures, feeling that I knew nothing about them and fearing the banality of so much of the merchandise that is on offer. But Caroline’s collection is a good example of what I know to be true anyway regarding any form of art collecting: trust your senses- if you like it and you have taste, it will be good.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Rumours of war Well.actually, no. The Malian Army has not attacked Islamists Rebels. But they have successfully defended their position at Kona their northernmost outpost, 55km north of Mopti. There have been no casualties and no army captives and the Islamists have been repelled. The Guardian is reporting this story as if there would somehow be something wrong, should Mali indeed have decided to attack. Would the Guardian please explain themselves? They write the following: In November, Ansar Dine leader Iyad Ag Ghali, the former Tuareg leader and Malian diplomat who joined fundamentalist rebels during a consular posting in Saudi Arabia, agreed to a deal that would see a halt in rebel advances and the safe passage of humanitarian groups working in the region.(This is presenting Ag Ghali as some sort of humanitarian hero, trying to save the suffering multitudes in the North, when it was in fact his gang of assorted criminals that caused the mayhem in the first place!) But increasingly belligerent rhetoric by the Malian government in recent weeks and mounting public pressure to reclaim the north is reported to have angered the group, which last week told journalists that they would no longer honour the terms of the deal. Sahel-based Sahara Media reported Ag Ghali as saying in a statement that his group "put on hold an offer we've previously made to the Malian government to stop hostilities in northern Mali". Ag Ghali accused the Malian government of preparing for war during peace talks, including "large-scale recruitment of fighters, including former mercenaries from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast". Of course Mali are only engaged in peace talks as a cosmetic excercise because they are forced to do so by international opinion! And this opinion is way out of order. There is absolutely nothing that can be said, or any fruitful exchange to be attempted with these sorts of opponents. The words ‘negotiation’ sounds so civilized. It is cheap too of course, which makes it even more attractive. But there are times when it does not work. This is one of those times. If Mali were to decide to attack, they would have every right to do so! The north of their country is held by narco traffiquants and murderous Al Quaida fundamentalists! This Ag Ghali cannot speak for anything at all, apart from his little faction- Ansar Dine holds Kidal. The rest of the North- including Timbuktu and Gao, is held by other warlords. The Guardian makes me laugh. Do not talk about this criminal Ag Ghali as if he is someone that deserves to be listened to- I despair! ‘But increasingly belligerent rhetoric by the Malian government in recent weeks and mounting public pressure to reclaim the north is reported to have angered the group,’ Oh dear! One mustn’t upset the poor darlings must one! This is reported as if the Malian Government are the ones at fault here! I am about to have a coronary..

Monday, January 07, 2013

Lulie's Obituary Princess Lulie Flamboyant: Art historian and friend of Freya Stark and Anthony Blunt Sophie Sarin Tuesday 01 January 2013 STILL NOT ABLE TO PUT ANY BREAKS IN THE TEXT! SORRY! I AM FURIOUS WITH THE INDEPENDENT: THEY GIVE THE IMPRESSION THAT LULIE WAS CALLED LULIE FLAMBUOYANT!!! I HAVE COMPLAINED! A lifelong friend of Freya Stark, lover of John Foster, Princess Velia Osman-Oglu of Turkey, known to all as Lulie, was the first Muslim woman to study at Oxford and to penetrate the British Establishment. No one who met her could forget her beauty, concern for truth and flashing intelligence. She was born Velia Abdel-Huda in Cairo into a family of Turkish aristocrats and diplomats exiled in Egypt since the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Her grandfather had been the adviser and astrologer to the last Sultan; her father became Prime Minister to King Abdullah of Transjordan. Her childhood was spent in Alexandria, where she was sent to a convent school, whose nuns left her with an enduring sympathy for the Christian faith, especially Catholicism, although she claimed, somewhat unaccountably, to be a Taoist. Her later education was provided by a string of governesses. At Oxford she read History at Lady Margaret Hall, graduating in 1939. It is said that the future Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, was one of those captivated by her vibrant personality and charm. On the outbreak of war, Lulie was recruited by the British Information Service and stationed in Cairo. Here she met the writer and explorer Freya Stark, who became a friend for life. Stark was in Cairo as an official of the Diplomatic Corps but founded, with like-minded Arab associates, the Brotherhood of Freedom, with the aim of spreading democracy through persuasion rather than by force of arms. She persuaded Lulie to join her as an assistant. In her book East is West, Stark gives her account of the tumultuous war years in Egypt, and devotes a chapter to Lulie. "She would flash along in her half- Syrian Arabic at committee meetings, the words tumbling over each other in their eagerness, demolishing any brother who had the bad taste to show himself timorous over rumours that came pouring in ... Her pretty head, the narrow pointed face with lips pouting a little, the tiled nose and glinting waves of gold-brown hair that matched her eyes, shone with a Renaissance richness against many a dim committee background." Despite the war, Cairo offered a glittering social life: Lulie danced at the Shepheard Hotel with Julian Asquith, later second Earl of Oxford and Asquith, who became another lifelong friend; she socialised with the Free French and accompanied Charles de Gaulle at dinner on many occasions. After Alamein, Cairo was largely abandoned for security reasons, and Lulie found herself in Palestine, where in 1942 she made another lasting friendship with Martin (later Lord) Charteris, who in subsequent years, as the Queen's Secretary, would often invite her to spend Christmas at Balmoral with the Royal Family. The Queen, on one occasion, confided to her that she found Edward Heath a little difficult to converse with: would Lulie mind taking charge of him for the post-luncheon walk through the gardens? Lulie remained fervently pro-Palestinian and considered the Palestinian people betrayed by the British. As hostess at a dinner party, I once placed her next to Bud Nossiter, who wrote on the Middle East for the Washington Post. While he was no Zionist, his views were unacceptable to Lulie, who stood up in the middle of the main course, eyes blazing, nostrils flaring, scarf flung imperiously across her shoulders, commanding her escort: "Take me home immediately! This man is insufferable!" Before the evening was over, however, Nossiter had charmed her by steering clear of politics and dazzling her with his intellect – an attribute Lulie found more aphrodisiac than looks. By the end, the two were cooing together like doves. The war over, Lulie returned to England and studied study Art History at the Courtauld under Anthony Blunt. She was "brilliant but chaotic," he said. When she lost all her notes for her thesis on Delacroix at a railway station, Blunt encouraged her to study the Impressionists, Camille Pissarro in particular, commissioning her to work with the widow of Camille's son, Lucien, on dividing up the Pissarro estate between Lucien's daughter and the Ashmolean Museum. In the mid-1950s Lulie met the love of her life, Sir John Foster, the brilliant Anglo-Irish MP, barrister and human rights campaigner, said to be one of the three most attractive men in England. She established a 30-year relationship with him which her arranged marriage to her cousin, Prince Osman-Oglu, did nothing to deter. A serious car accident in the late 1950s caused Lulie deep anguish. She entered analysis and was prescribed LSD. She had nearly 100 treatments, and considered the drug one of the most liberating experiences of her life. She became close to the psychiatrist RD Laing, who often accompanied her when she took it and who fell in love with her. In 1968 she assisted Laing in organising a conference at the Camden Roundhouse on "The Dialectics of Liberation". Allen Ginsberg recited his poetry, and a cable of support was composed and sent off to Che Guevara from the assembly, which included Stokely Carmichael and other Black Panther luminaries. Lulie found accommodation for them in the homes of her London friends. Lulie's family was dispossessed under Nasser and their palace and lands in Alexandria were confiscated. Late in her life her Chelsea home became partly occupied by tenants and lodgers. A demanding landlady, she would put any new tenants to the test; inviting them for a welcome drink, she would give them tasks such as rearranging her library, mending her fridge or doing her accounts. Many left, but of those who remained, most became close and devoted. Her dinner parties were sparkling, attended by the distinguished and influential; memorable meetings and conversations took place, as well as characteristic mishaps, such as the time a peculiar smell alerted the guests that Lulie had absent-mindedly put her handbag in the oven instead of the lamb. With the death of Sir John Foster in 1982, Lulie suffered severe depression. She slowly found a new strength through painting and drawing, working according to her own strict syllabus which involved studying anatomy to help her draw the human figure. To this end she kept a life-sized skeleton in her drawing room, to the consternation of some of her dinner guests. Unsentimental but deeply passionate about ideas, a disciple of Aristotle and David Hume, spiritual but not attached to any religion, at once childlike and utterly cultivated, she was not a "nice" person – her mind was too razor-sharp and original for that, and her sense of humour too irreverent. But she was a star. For all of us who knew her, she is irreplaceable. Velia Abdel-Huda: born Cairo 26 January 1916; married 1963 Prince Osman-Oglu; died London 29 November 2012.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

January twilight

This January twilight was claimed by a multitude of potters pyres, invading the almost chill air with their wood scented smoke. I sat on my terrace as usual, nursing a hibiscus and vodka cocktail for a change. feeling almost blue.
Keita has gone to Segou. Birgit is on her way to Ghana. The Christmas decorations have come down, with that perennial sense of nostalgia it gives me. It was fun this year too. Inescapably ,the Question presents itself: what is going to happen? Will I be here next year? Can we survive? The end of year accounts make grim reading, both for the hotel and MaliMali. But everything is dwarfed in comparison to the the largest question mark of all, which hangs over Mali itself. What will this year bring? I cannot even begin to guess. Mali feels like a rudderless nation now. The forced resignation of Diarra seemed to me to strip away even the pretence of legitimacy and adherence to a constitution, albeit an interim one. I am glad to be going to London for a couple of weeks. Leaving on 11th January for the celebration party for Princess Lulie at the Chelsea Arts Club.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

weightier matters

We have treated pop lyrics and football. Let’s move on swiftly to weightier matters, such as the recent change-over of Malian Prime Ministers. I can only speak in aesthetic terms, and frankly, it is an unmitigated disaster. We had this.
And now we have this. Apart from this glaring fact, I would also like to question the reasons behind Diarra's removal and most of all, why was there no reaction to this event? It caused not even a storm in a teacup! But why? Sanogo’s men arrive to arrest the Prime Minister of Mali and to force him to resign. Noone complains about it! What right do they have? On the other hand, in the wake of the Coup d’Etat, there were many arrests made in this manner by Sanogo’s men. The repeated arrests of men such as Modibo Sidibe and Sumaila Cisse for example, men known or suspected of having siphoned away large government funds under ATT, caused an international outcry. This time, nothing. The non-reaction to the arrest of Diarra proves that it must somehow have had the tacit approval of both the ECOWAS and the international community. But I smell a dead rat here somewhere and it all seems to lack in consistency and logic. The only ones to worry about this incident may indeed be Mr. Diarra himself, with me joining him. His arrest removed my fashion show!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

The sun has set over 2012.

The group of Americans and Australians that celebrated the New Year at the hotel, once more with armed guards patrolling at night, left this morning. I have a terrible head cold which refuses to budge, so I am spending quite a lot of time in bed, in a semi- feverous state where snippets of song lyrics come flittering past, some of them making a nuisance of themselves. My American friend Karen who spent Christmas here brought along some Christmas music, but of the American variety. We therefore listened to ‘White Christmas’ etc. but also to anything which had remotely to do with Christmas, such as George Michael’s : ‘Last Christmas’. Now, here is a useless piece of song lyrics if I ever heard one. I am putting in a formal complaint against this song. Last Christmas, I gave you my heart But the very next day, You gave it away This year, to save me from tears I'll give it to someone special I thrash around on my bed, annoyed and vaguely aware that there is something very wrong here, which is keeping me from snoozing: Why would the recipient of George Michael’s heart want to hand that on to someone else?? And would that person be interested in second hand hearts? And how many hearts are we talking about here? Did he have a heart transplant meantime? Well, as I said, I am slipping in and out of a paracetamol twilight zone...

New Years Quiz for football fans

What team are these Djenne maidens supporting? First correct answer will receive free Djenne Djenno cocktails for their entire stay next time they come to Hotel Djenne Djenno! Doubleclick for enlargement.