Author Archives: brucewhitehouse

Le taximan bamakois: A tribute

To give you a rough idea of the importance of taxis to my existence whenever I’m in Bamako, let me offer this number: in the field notes I wrote during my last research trip, a three-week visit to wrap up a decade-long study of urban marriage and polygamy trends, the word “taxi” appears 28 times–more often than the name of my wife who accompanied me, more often than “marriage” or “polygamy,” and nearly as often as “Bamako.” Continue reading

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Exploring risk and resilience in rural Mali

The year’s most notable book of Mali-focused research is, to my mind, Camilla Toulmin’s Land, Investment, and Migration: Thirty-Five Years of Village Life in Mali. Based on the author’s fieldwork in the community of Dlonguebougou (central Segou region, north of … Continue reading

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A message to my people: Can we halt America’s tribalization?

I wrote this opinion piece for US newspapers but couldn’t find an editor willing to run it. The intended subtitle was “When African civil wars foreshadow our present heart of darkness.” While US politics isn’t a subject I would normally … Continue reading

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In search of Mali’s Russia connection

If you follow press coverage of public events in Mali, particularly street demonstrations, you may have noticed a pattern over the last few years: alongside expressions of anti-French sentiment, which I’ve written about extensively on this blog, are frequently expressions … Continue reading

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“Hands off my junta!”

Or, Why the international community should show post-IBK Mali some love The parallels between this week’s events in Bamako and those of March 2012 keep coming. On top of the fact that both began as mutinies at the Soundiata Keita … Continue reading

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Taking it to the streets

Yes, Mali’s 2020 coup looked a lot like the previous one eight years ago. Frustration had been mounting, both among the general public and among the military. The army had been taking too many casualties up north. Troops in the … Continue reading

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Tuesdays with Mahmoud

During a recent press conference (below), Mahmoud Dicko–former head of Mali’s Haut Conseil Islamique and de facto leader of its political opposition–said that big events in Mali often happen on Tuesdays. The 19 November 1968 coup that overthrew President Modibo … Continue reading

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Sounding the alarm

I received a 15-minute audio clip from a friend via WhatsApp in which an unnamed man, apparently a Malian, discusses Mali’s political situation in a tone of utter desperation and indignation at the fact that seven years of foreign intervention … Continue reading

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The two sides of Mahmoud Dicko

Mali’s political situation is as tense as it’s ever been, with Covid-related economic disruptions added to an already dismal security environment, police violence against civilians, and a growing sense of public alarm at the direction the country is moving in. … Continue reading

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Mali’s existential threat: Jihadism, or the French?

I have tremendous admiration for Salif Keita, who for decades has reigned as the Malian singer best known to Western ears. His recordings, concerts, and activism have made him famous all over the world. With a career dating back to … Continue reading

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