Mali’s March to Democracy
The spirit of a people
So why does Mali matter, anyway? I think a stable country on a volatile continent is something significant and worth paying attention to. On a personal level though, I am inspired by the events that took place on Mali’s road to independence. It is a testimony in our time of a people fighting for their voice to be heard and their eventual triumph over years of injustice. Yet none of this was brought on by any external influence or power. Rather, it is the spirit of the Malian people and their desire to govern themselves that sparked the events of that fateful Friday in 1991 …
Events of a tragedy, a democracy born
The month of March has special meaning for the people of Mali. March 26th, 1991 is the day when the clash between military soldiers and demonstrating students climaxed in the massacre of dozens under the orders of then President Moussa Traoré. He and 3 associates were later tried and convicted and received the death sentence for their part in the decisions made that day. Now the day is set aside as a national holiday so those tragic events may never be forgotten and hopefully never repeated.
A striking monument
The capital city of Bamako is divided by the Niger river and there are just two main bridges that join the city’s halves. At the head of one of these main bridges is a striking monument that dramatically commemorates the lives that were sacrificed in the fight for democracy. The monument features a mother wailing over her child that has been shot and is placed in a spot where it demands to be seen. Notice the traffic in the background lined up waiting to get onto the bridge. The quotes “Democracy Now” and “To dare to fight is to dare to conquer” celebrate the courage of those who fought on that day.
Learn more …
Much of what is written about Mali’s long history tends to be in French, but to learn a little more check out this English language site – Encyclopedia of Nations: Mali