Brief update for Friday, March 30

I’m due to resume teaching this afternoon after a two-week hiatus, and I cannot get back to my teaching and research responsibilities while keeping up with events in anything approaching real time on this blog. Even assuming that classes remain in session, however, I will try to continue posting here at least a couple of times per week.

In the meantime, readers will forgive me, I hope, for linking to an article that says a few kind words about this blog. Julius Cavendish of Time Magazine has just published a piece discussing yesterday’s events in Bamako (demonstrations and the cancellation of a visit by ECOWAS presidents). I only knew about it because Julius called me up yesterday afternoon to ask my opinion on a few things, and he quotes me in a couple of passages.

For analysis that doesn’t feature my name, you can find a description of yesterday’s events in Bamako on the BBC, and a much more thorough run-down in the French paper Le Monde. The same paper also has a brief post about Mahmoud Dicko of Mali’s Haut Conseil Islamique.

A growing number of reports accuse Oumar Mariko’s SADI party of launching a campaign of intimidation against anti-junta activists. SADI is not one of Mali’s bigger parties, but unlike the other parties that have come out in favor of the coup since March 22, SADI actually has deputies in the National Assembly (or did, before the junta dissolved it). On Thursday a meeting of coup opponents was assaulted by thugs allegedly belonging to SADI. I’m also hearing that Radio Kayira, a pro-SADI station in Bamako, has been broadcasting propaganda in support of the coup and has even aired a list of “enemies” — a sign of more violence to come.

Increasing Mali’s isolation, the government of Cote d’Ivoire has closed its border with Mali, which will interrupt a significant amount of imports (including strategically important goods like fuel and food) coming into this country. I am hearing reports that the government of Burkina Faso has already done the same.

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6 Responses to Brief update for Friday, March 30

  1. Bob Heil says:

    do you teach at AISB?

    • brucewhitehouse says:

      No, I’m spending the year teaching at the Université here. I was a PCV in the Kadiolo area from 1997-2000.

  2. Holly L. says:

    Thanks for your blog! We are close to the Guinean border and are finding your blog to be very informative. Thanks for taking the time.

  3. Tommy Miles says:

    First, please keep your insights coming. They are very valuable to outsiders interested in Mali. You might be surprised to learn many of the international Anglophone news broadcasts have been leading with Mali over the last few days.

    As to Malian news sites. Just checked, and all these below seem to be functioning and (relatively) updated. Maliweb and all the others I’ve looked at are hosted on servers abroad, so problems will either be people in Mali reaching them (both admin & readers) or just being overwhelmed by traffic.

    Hope this helps others looking for news.
    Tommy Miles

  4. sjm says:

    I so appreciate your keen observations and informed interpretations – don’t stop! I was particularly delighted last week when you’d post first thing in the morning, and I could fall asleep in Vancouver somewhat reassured about overnight goings-on. My family is in Hippodrome and your commentary provides context around their observations from across the river. I’m recommending your blog to everyone who is worrying and caring about Mali and Bamako through all of this uncertainty.

  5. AfrikanObserver says:

    I can’t imagine this tragedy happening on our watch! Soldiers are supposed to be at the front line defending the country regardless of misrule from a democratically elected president – but look what are they doing? They are in the palace ‘drafting a new constitution’ in a single day! Can anyone believe this? There is a big war going on and the country is loosing its major towns but – Lo and Behold – what they are doing. This is enormously incredible! Mali is bleeding and it is agonizing to see a once stable and exemplary African democracy being flushed down the toilet! They are playing with a big country – Aren’t they aware of this??? They are loosing the country – why do not they see that!!!!

    This child’s play shouldn’t be allowed! A bunch of soldiers shouldn’t be allowed to make a mockery of an entire country! One thing, there is no justification for a coup in a functioning democracy! Second, Mali is such a great stable and exemplary African country that the continent can not afford to loose. The parallel I can think of to this incredible tragedy is the 1974 coup against Haileselassie in Ethiopia! A junior soldier by the name Mengistu took over – and Ethiopia had to go through one of the bloodiest massacres and darkest moments in its history – I wonder if it has recovered 40 years later! Soldiers using guns to take power by force from a civilian administration is the scariest thing ever in any country! Everyone is bitter against ATT – so we heard! Not just soldiers! American’s had Bush as well – they lived with it. There are many who do not like Obama as well – but it is democracy!

    ECOWAS and NATO shouldn’t let this craziness proceed the way it has so far! Ultimately it is the Libya war that caused this tragedy! Otherwise, Mali will be gone! The soldiers are apparently sitting in a palace in Bamako drinking beer, giving press briefings and drafting the ‘fastest modification of a constitution’ in history. The rebels should be thanking Mali’s soldiers actually – what is the point of fighting them!

    Unless these guys wake up and DO THE RIGHT THING as quickly as possible, Mali, the way we know it today, will only be history!

    This coup is the stupidest coup in the history of all coup d’etats of the world!

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