Women and Flowers


Picture of a pink flower

A flower and a woman

Have loads in common.

Both beautiful in summer

At their aura’s full power.



Pluck them too soon

And they wilt before autumn.

But if you really appreciate their beauty,

Let them blossom.



Cherish their memory

Because like unrequited love,

It is a love that never dies.

It lives on eternally

In the memories’ eyes.

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Victory for The Upright Men: Triumph of the people’s will over a tyrant


Burkina Faso

Over the past few weeks I have observed keenly the events unfolding in Burkina Faso. I have written a number of articles documenting what has been taking place.

As I am writing now, there is a meeting in progress, which started at 18:00pm, where the leading men and women in Burkina Faso are in the process of picking a civilian leader.

Maybe before I publish this article, the new civilian leader in charge of leading the country through a transition period for a year will have been announced.

By then, this article will be old news but still good news. Maybe I might have to edit it and update it. Whatever the case is, the facts remain unchanged.

After Lt Col Issac Zida stepped down, the path to a new era was laid. He did the honourable thing and handed over power gracefully. He became an intergral link to history when he signed the transition charter. He duly got a standing ovation for playing his part in the smooth transition of power.

Image of Lt Col Zida

Lt Col Zida handing over the transition charter paving the way for civilian rule.

It could have been a bloody conflict which would leave behind residues of hate and plant seeds for sectarian violence as we have witnessed recent events in Syria, Iraq, Libya, etc. where these nations have descended into anarchy and wave after wave of sectarian violence.

Thanks to the African Union for remaining on top of the situation. It is a good sign to see Africans resolving African issues in peace without the need for external intervention which mainly believes that total destruction is the only solution.

Therefore, it is no longer a question of if a civilian leader will be handed power but more a question of who and when.

The latter question is hanging in the balance for a few hours but the more pertinent question most of us want to know is who will have the honour of making history.

Whoever is chosen will be sworn in on Friday. The transitional president will choose a prime minister who will appoint a 25 member government. They will not be allowed to participate at the elections. The first government sitting will be on Saturday.

A committee of 23 compromising members of the army, religious and traditional groups, political opposition and civil society have the difficult task to select the chosen one. They have four to five candidates to choose from. These range from a priest, two journalists, a socioligist and a retired diplomat.

image

However, it appears that the church may have retracted the priests nomination citing that political power and priesthood were incompatible.

Therefore, you are witnessing history in the making. It may not be as dramatic as the fall of the Berlin Wall or the moment Nelson Mandela walked out of prison with Winnie Madikizela Mandela on his arm, waving to people who came to witness the end of an era and beginning of another.

However, it is still a historic moment, especially, for the Burkinabe who made this moment possible. In the words of the late Thomas Sankara, they dared to invent the future. This is the future they have invented.

For the Burkinabe, it will be the first time in 31 years that they will have a civilian leader. For many young people under the age of 28, it will be the first time they will have seen a new leader apart from Blaise Compaore who ruled for 27 years after he overthrew the late Captain Thomas Isidore Sankara in a military coup on the 15th of October 1987.

Thomas Sankara

The fall of the strong man might herald a new era for Africa. I have to resist the temptation of waxing lyrical and romanticise the situation. Change is stubborn. Change is difficult. It is resisted by many for various reasons even if it is in their best interests.

Simply changing from what people know or are comfortable with may be be too much for some people because it forces them to change too. Sometimes it’s the fear of the unknown that forces people to hold onto situations that are not conducive for their personal, political and social growth and development.

Change is not apocalyptic. It is a protracted process over time. It requires compromise. It calls for political maturity and interested parties to work together for the common good of the people and the country.

There will be conflict in bringing change to the country because different parties or factions will have different ideologies or methodologies that they believe work best.

The greatest challenge to change is having people who have the political will and honesty to implement the policy and ideas they propose. However, I believe that Burkina Faso has taken a mature step towards building a future compatible with their aspirations and will.

The events of the 31st October took many by surprise. Few foresaw how a sitting president of a stable country in Africa could be unseated by a popular uprising. It is rare. There are few precedents.

Lassina Sawadogo face to face with two soldiers

However, a number of presidents in Africa who have been in power for decades will have observed what happened in Burkina Faso and they will know it can happen to them too.

Anytime they see or hear of a protest, the events of the 31st of October 2014 will be at the back of their minds. It remains to be seen whether the cries of the Burkinabe youth “Enough is enough” will find resonance elsewhere on the continent.

Burkinabe protesters

People power: Burkinabe protesters gather in Ougadougou to protest against Blaise Compoare attempts to extend his rotten shelf life.

Gone are the days when the national media could censor events happening across the continent or all over the world. The advent of social media and various smart phone apps where ideas and knowledge can be shared without state censorship has weakened those who would want to keep ideas of uprisings at bay.

This continual flow of subversive ideas through technology, enlightenment through formal or informal education is a cause for major headaches for tyrants and rogues who keeping clinging to power amid the clamouring calls for change by the youth.

Those who refuse to respect the will of the people may regret their decisions when their empires come crumbling down and masonry and steel structures from the castles they build in the sky rain on their heads.

For a long time, Blaise Compoare like many African leaders, presided over a democracy in name only but not in substance or practise. He did so many things to transform his image to appear like a moderate leader and a respected consummate statesman who had his fingers on the pulse of what was happening in Africa.

He was a strong ally of the western powers in their fight against Muslim militants in the region but not even his powerful connections could save him when the time came.

However, the company he kept revealed more about his nefarious activities and his Jekyll and Hyde character. You can polish a turd and spray perfume on it but you can’t hide the stink. The Burkinabe smelt the shit and when it’s stench became unbearable duly flushed it down the toilet and consigned it the political sewer where it belongs.

The final act by Lt Col Zida to sign the transition charter to pave way for a civilian leader to head the government for a year marks a triumph of the people’s will over tyranny.

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November 16, 2014 · 9:41 pm

Confronting Cultural Imperialism in Human Rights Discourse


thegatvolblogger:

An extremely well articulated article addressing the pitfalls of a lack of cultural sensitivity and awareness when tackling “human rights” issues from cultures alien to us. It calls into question the methodology of activists and abolitionists who through their cultural illiteracy may do more harm than good and end up alienating the people they hope to “save”. Brace yourself for an engaging and compelling piece.

Originally posted on colouredraysofgrey:

Written by Doreen Gaura for Africa on the Blog

Photograph taken by Beenish Ahmed for The Atlantic

Photograph taken by Beenish Ahmed for The Atlantic

A few days ago, a good friend of mine brought to my attention The Atlantic’s article Confronting a Sexual Rite of Passage in Malawi penned by Beenish Ahmed and the subsequent response to it by Kim Yi Dionne published on Africa is a Country and she asked for my thoughts; particularly with regards to Dionne’s response. In short, I am inclined to agree wholly with Dionne’s position but I’d like to take it further and extend this discussion to include the human rights sector and not just limit it to international media and it’s reporting on Afrika and the cultural practices therein.

I work in the human rights sector and actively work on children’s rights so it goes without saying that I appreciate what The Atlantic was attempting to achieve with this piece…

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Publishing Opportunity


I have been sitting on this opportunity for a while. It popped into my inbox and got buried under an avalanche of emails. I made a mental note to give you the heads up about this writing competition but it slipped my mind.

There are still about three to four days to submit to Masons Road. The deadline is the 15th of November 2014.

Masons Road are an online literary journal. They are open to submissions in a number of genres. These are:

  • Poetry
  • Fiction
  • Creative Nonfiction
  • Craft Essay

The theme for issue #10 is memory and they are looking for creative takes on it.

There are two ways of submitting work. If like me, you don’t like paying for submissions, then, you can submit for free during their submissions period and they will consider your work for publication.

If you just want to test the waters and see how your work is received, you have nothing to lose. Go for it. It’s a different outlet. The worst thing they can say is no.

Rejection is nothing new to writers. It happens to the best. If it happened to JK Rowling, then anything is possible. But look how she ended up. All those agents and publishers who rejected her regret passing over that cash cow.

Alternatively, you can submit your work with a $10.00 fee. Your submission will be considered for the Masons Road Literary Prize. This includes publication and a $500.00 prize for the best entry.

You can visit their website here http://www.masonsroad.com to find out more about them and check out their submission guidelines. You can also read the last winner’s work, Formication – Patricia Canright Smith, and see if this is the journal for you. Previous issues of the online journal are available to get a feel of it.

If you have a piece that is gathering dust in some drawer somewhere or virtual cobwebs in your hard drive, dust it off and submit it. Any opportunity to build a publishing credit is good for your writer’s CV and your repertoire.

Good luck. My apologies in advance for the late heads up.

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Filed under About Writing, Abstract Writing, Creative Writing, Poetry

Mama Africa: Miriam Makeba, A Revolutionary Musician


Picture of Miriam Makeba

She was affectionately known as Mama Africa: her real name was Miriam Makeba. She was a South African musician. She was a revolutionary. And with music as her weapon of choice, she bravely fought against Apartheid, bringing the plight of millions of black South Africans to the collective consciousness of the world.

This poignant quote of hers encapsulates Miriam Makeba:

I look at an ant and I see myself: a native South African, endowed by nature with a strength much greater than my size so I might cope with the weight of a racism that crushes my spirit.

The picture she painted comparing herself to an ant is very apt. She was a young, charismatic, vivacious and beautiful black woman who appeared  fragile, but beneath her vulnerable exterior, she was extremely resilient.

She had to be to bear the burden of white racism and apartheid that from her birth, had done everything to reduce her to a non-being. This formed her anti-racism attitude. It made her aware of white injustice from an early age.

Miriam Makeba meme image

Makeba came from humble roots. She was born on the fourth of March 1932. Her mother was a Swazi sangoma (a traditional African healer).

I remember her saying in one of her interviews that she inherited her ability to heal with music from her mother who healed with herbs.

Her father was a Xhosa; he died when she was six years old. Eighteen days after her birth, her mother was arrested for selling umqombothi, an African traditional beer brewed using cornmeal and malt. It was illegal to brew and sell this homemade beer.

Her mother spent six months in prison together with Miriam Makeba. The experience left an indelible mark on her. The music she would make decades later would be grounded in the life and struggle of her people.

In a nutshell, it was social commentary capturing the many facets of life for Africans living in the townships of Apartheid South Africa.

Music was part and parcel of her formative years. She sang in the choir of Kilmerton Training Institute in Pretoria. It was a primary school she attended for eight years.

Makeba had her only child at the age of eighteen in 1950. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at the same time. Her first husband, James Kubay, left her then.

Pic of Miriam Makeba

Her singing skills were honed in the 1950s when she was a part of the Manhattan Brothers, they sang African jazz. However, the union didn’t last.

She left soon after to sing with her all-woman group, The Skylarks. Their music was a concoction of Jazz and traditional South African melodies.

Pata Pata which she released in 1956 catapulted her to the top. It was written by a fellow Southern African musician and friend of hers: Dorothy Masuka came from Zimbabwe, then known as Southern Rhodesia. The song was played on all radio stations and made Makeba into a household name.

A few years later, she appeared on an anti-apartheid documentary Come Back, Africa, produced and directed by American filmmaker Lionel Rogosin. The viewers response was awesome and Rogosin secured her a visa to attend the twenty-fourth Venice Film Festival in Italy.

It won the Critics Award. It opened up new vistas for her. She suddenly found herself in the lead female role in King Kong, the Broadway-inspired South African musical.

She later met the charismatic musician and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte on her travels in London. He was instrumental in helping her secure entry to the United States. He was equally instrumental in helping her rise to fame in the US.

Picture of Harry Belafonte with Miriam Makeba

Harry Belafonte was instrumental in paving Miriam Makeba’s rise to fame and entry in the US.

However, disaster struck. Her mother passed away. On her attempts to return, she discovered her South African passport had been cancelled. The injustice radicalised her; it strengthened her resolve to fight apartheid.

She buried herself into her music and signed with RCA Victor. She released her first U.S. studio album. She named it Miriam Makeba. About two years later, she sang with Belafonte at John F. Kennedy’s birthday party at Madison Square Garden.

However, she didn’t attend the after party because she was not feeling well. Kennedy insisted on meeting her so Belafonte arranged a car to pick her up.

Three years after her first studio album, she released the second, The World of Miriam Makeba.

It peaked at number eight-six on the Billboard 200. However, her fight with Apartheid regime was raging in the background. Months later, she appeared at the United Nations to testify against apartheid.

The Apartheid regime retaliated: they revoked her citizenship and right to return to her motherland. She was left country-less. However, good fortune followed in her footsteps. There were no shortages of countries willing to serve Mama Africa.

Ghana, Guinea and Belgium stepped up and offered her international passports putting Apartheid South Africa to shame. From that point, she became a citizen of the world. The world was dying to own this African songbird.

She held nine passports in her lifetime and was granted honorary citizenship in ten countries. That was ironic for a person rejected by her country because she dared to speak against the Apartheid regime’s inhumane treatment of her people.

Her life was one of lifetime struggle.

She married another musician, Hugh Masekela, in 1964. They first met on the set of King Kong where Masekela was a member of the cast. However, it was short lived. They divorced two years later.

That same year in 1966, Miriam Makeba received the Grammy Award for Best Folk Recording for her collaboration with Harry Belafonte for An Evening with Belafonte/ Makeba.

Cover of An Evening With Belafonte/ Makeba

The album that netted Makeba’s Grammy for Best Folk Music Award with Harry Belafonte.

The album focussed on the plight of black South Africans under Apartheid. It set new ground blending Zulu, Sotho and Swahili songs in an authentic setting. Her fame was growing.

She went on to release some of her most memorable and popular songs in the US such as Malaika and the Click Song [Qongqothwane in Xhosa].

One often overlooked aspect of Miriam Makeba is her rebellious spirit. She had an iron will. She was unconventional.

At a time when many artists and women were embracing huge wigs and white standards of beauty, Makeba embraced her African roots.

She was a bonafide star but she shunned makeup. She refused to curl her hair for shows. She was a forerunner of what many would term the “Afro look”. It is such an absurd misnomer. She was simply being herself and looking the way God created her, black and beautiful.

Her stance confounded critics. The media didn’t know how to pigeonhole her. Trouble and controversy surrounded her because of her maverick ways. But her star quality was undeniable.

She released Pata Pata in the US in 1967 and it became an instant hit sending her reputation even higher.

However, the following year she married a young radical who was a member of the Black Panther Party, and Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee leader.

Picture of Miriam Makeba and Stokely Carmichael

Miriam Makeba’s marriage to Trinidad born Stokeley Carmichael caused a lot of controversy. It was the beginning of a huge fallout with power brokers in the musical industry.

His name was Stokeley Carmichael. He would later change his name to Kwame Ture. His name was an amalgamation of Kwame Nkrumah and Sekou Toure‘s name and surname.

The marriage caused huge controversy in the United States because Carmichael was a civil rights activist and considered too much of a radical because of his advocacy for self defence against state brutality in the US.

The power brokers and gatekeepers of the music industry reacted by cancelling her record deals and tours. It cost her a fortune. But she remained steadfast and refused to have the music industry define who she could love. She stood by her man and her decision.

Picture of Miriam a Makeba with Stokeley Carmichael

Consequently, the couple bid farewell to America and relocated to Guinea where President Ahmed Sekou Toure welcomed them with open arms. Guinea was home to Makeba for fifteen years. It became her home away from home.

The couple were close to the president and his wife Andree. Stokeley worked closely with the president while Makeba was appointed Guinea’s official to the United Nations. This was a public relations coup for Toure.

Miriam Makeba was rewarded with the Dag Hammarskjöld Peace Prize in 1986 for her new role. Her marriage to Carmichael lasted until 1973. The toll had taken its effect on the couple.

Picture of Miriam Makeba with Stokeley Carmichael

She continued to perform in Africa, Europe and Asia and stayed clear of America which had rejected her because of her love for Stokeley Carmichael. She found herself at one of the most historic events to be held in Africa.

She was one of the entertainers at the Rumble in the Jungle match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Zaire in 1974.

The following year she addressed the United Nations again. Makeba used her profile to raise awareness of the plight of her people and pushing for freedom snd equal rights.

She didn’t think twice about using her star quality and charm to put the cause of freedom above her own career. Black liberation was her motivation.

Tragedy struck again. Her daughter Bongi passed away. She was more than just her daughter. She was her friend, confidant, collaborator and song writer on unconventional projects such as the Tribute to Malcolm X.

As usual her mettle and never say die attitude got her through the difficulties.

She met Paul Simon through her ex Hugh Masekela. He introduced the pair and months later they were on the road of the historic Graceland Tour. It took her mind off the death of her daughter.

Two concerts were held in Harare, Zimbabwe. I remember watching them on TV. The shows were billed as Graceland: The African Concert. It was an exquisite show. I was mesmerised watching Paul Simon performing with Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

However, Miriam Makeba stole the show and my heart though she was much too old for me. Nevertheless, I had a crush for this woman whose aura radiated way beyond the TV screen. I can understand why Carmichael and Masekela and others fell for her.

Makeba was a strong woman. She was outspoken. She was a revolutionary. She was an artist and unconventional. She attracted men with similar strengths to hers. It is possible that this is why their unions were short lived.

She had a thing for strong black men who were about black liberation and Black Power. If she was not with them physically, she was with them mentally and spiritually.

They were the subjects of her music. They were her muses. There was a two way exchange of energy fuelling the fight for liberation. Her projects on Malcolm X. and Samora Machel illustrate her awareness of the icons of the Black liberation struggle.

The tour worked its magic and brought record executives back to their senses. Warner Bros signed her up and she released Sangoma [Healer], in honour of her mother who was a sangoma. It was her way of paying tribute to her and dealing with that tragedy that seemed to dog her.

The album consisted of accappella healing chants. Her autobiography Makeba: My story followed shortly after. It was published and translated into numerous European languages.

She soon returned to what she did equally well – getting under the skin of the Apartheid Regime. She performed at Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute held at Wembley Stadium in London on the 11th of June 1988.

It was broadcast to 67 countries and garnered an audience of about 600 million. The purpose of this event was to call for the release of the struggle icon Nelson Mandela.

It didn’t do her any favours with the Apartheid regime which was nearing its doomed shelf life and squirming under the glare of the world. The pressure was too much and the cracks began to appear.

Two years later, President Frederik de Klerk unbanned the ANC [African National Congress] and other banned organisations. His announcement that Mandela was to be released sent shockwaves across the world.

Mandela was finally released on 11 February 1990. I remember the moment he was released, walking hand in hand with Winnie Mandela and waving to an ocean of supporters.

Mandela never forgot the efforts of Makeba. He persuaded her to return. She promptly returned at his invitation and reassurances for her safety. Three decades after she left, she was finally back home to reap the rewards of her sweat and tears.

She marked her return with another album, Eyes on Tomorrow. It was a collaborative effort with Dizzy Gillespie, Nina Simone and her ex and lifetime collaborator – Hugh Masekela.

Her return home was magical. She made an enchanting appearance in an episode of The Cosby Show. Now, she could have some fun. A role in Sarafina followed the same year. It was a role befitting her role in the struggle.

She played Angelina, the mother of Sarafina. The film follows the footsteps of students involved in the 1976’s  Soweto youth uprising. She returned to the studio and released, Sing Me A Song.

Good fortune continued to follow her and her life of struggle seemed to be behind her. Miriam Makeba was nominated Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in October 1999.

The following year she was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best World Music Album category for her album Homeland. Cedric Samson and Michael Levinsohn for the New York City based record label Putumayo World Music produced it.

However, Mama Africa was touched by the suffering she saw in Africa. Away from the glare of the limelight, she rolled up her sleeves and worked with Graça Machel-Mandela; she was the South African first lady. They worked with children suffering from HIV/AIDS, child soldiers, and the physically handicapped.

Awards and accolades followed soon after. Makeba received the Otto Hahn Peace Medal in Gold by the United Nations Association of Germany (DGVN) in Berlin. It was awarded for outstanding services to peace and international understanding in 2001.

Many others followed. She was voted 38th in the Top 100 Great South Africans. She embarked on a farewell tour in 2005, performing concerts in all the countries she visited during her years in exile or working life.

Tribute shows were done in her memory at the Barbican in London and the Festival d’Ile de France. The latter was hosted by another prominent musician and activist Angelique Kidjo from Benin and a Grammy Award winner.

A documentary, Mama Africa, about her life also followed providing insight into her long and colourful career and personal life. It cemented her legacy as a musician and a revolutionary.

Miriam Makeba dedicated her life to fight injustice and wherever she found it she fought it. So it is no coincidence that on the 9th of November 2008, she was performing at a concert organised to support Roberto Saviano in his stand against the Camora.

The Camora is a mafia like organisation found in the Region of Campania.

Mama Africa suffered a heart attack after performing the hit, Pata Pata, that brought her to the world’s attention. The doctors at the Pinetta Grande clinic were unable to revive her.

She passed away doing the two things she loved doing – music and fighting for freedom. It was typical of Miriam Makeba to sacrifice her life to causes she believed in even if it cost her comfort or her life. She always put others before herself which is the opposite of what most musicians do today.

It is not only her music that made her such a loved person. It was her humanitarian and civil rights activism that garnered the respect of the world. Unlike most musicians today, she was outspoken and refused to be silenced by the corporations or those in the corridors of power. She spoke truth to power.

That was a remarkable feat for a young black girl who spent her first months in prison, then grew up in the dusty townships of South Africa. Throughout her life, she embodied the African’s resiliant spirit to overcome adversity against all odds.

For Makeba, the people, Africa came first. She was never ashamed of her culture. She was proud of it and made African culture cool. She didn’t have to chant the slogan Black is Beautiful. She personified it. She wore it like a royal cloak with subliminal splendour and grace. She said it loudly and silently but without uttering a word.

She paved the road for the current crop of African musicians who are enjoying international fame today.

She was a phenomenal African woman who embraced her Africaness with pride and the dignity of royalty. She serenaded the world with her music and documented the life’s of Africans in the townships of South Africa.

She brought their plight to the world. She was the most vociferous and visible anti-apartheid campaigner for over three decades. She was a civil rights activist and stood for freedom, equal rights and justice all over the world.

She said it best herself when she said, My life, my career, every song I sing and every appearance I make, are bound up with the plight of my people.

She was and will always be a revolutionary musician. It is not enough to love her music. Her legacy should remind us and inspire us to do more to be better people and make the world a better place.

There are those who claim struggle credentials to monopolise power and accumulate wealth in society and conveniently omit the contributions of people like Miriam Makeba who gave of themselves selflessly without care for reward or financial compensation.

These are the true heroes and heroines who we must continue to write about and tell their stories to prevent the collective memory from forgetting. I salute this phenomenal revolutionary musician. May the Makeba spirit live through every one of us through the act of remembering her and impersonating her selfless sacrifice for freedom and justice.

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November 10, 2014 · 4:25 pm

Poets and War


Poets and War.

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12 Lessons From the 31st October Burkinabe Revolution


Once people overcome their fear of death or the system, they are unstoppable

via 12 Lessons From the 31st October Burkinabe Revolution.

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Burkina Faso Sanctions Threat


The struggle for the Burkinabe continues. I believe they deserve our support in every way in their ongoing struggle against tyrants and rogues.

via Burkina Faso Sanctions Threat.

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November 9, 2014 · 3:27 pm

Burkina Faso Sanctions Threat



Burkina Faso protesters

The African Union has threatened to impose sanctions on Burkina Faso if the military doesn’t hand over power to civilian rule within two weeks.

However, Burkina Faso‘s military leader, Issac Zida dismisses African Union intervention preferring stability.

The military led by Zida agreed on elections next year but hasn’t agreed on an interim leader.

This seems to be a ploy for these counter revolutionary forces to reverse the gains of the popular uprising that led to Blaise Compaore resigning after 27 years and fleeing to Ivory Coast.

Lt Col Zida retorted, “we are not afraid of sanctions.”

This suits his plans as the interim leader to buy time to regroup and consolidate power while re-strategising Compaore’s stunned counter revolutionary forces.

A quick and efficient hand over to the Burkinabe is in the interests of those who kicked Compaore out of power.

Zida’s comments that the military “care more about stability than the AU’s threats” hints at how far the military is prepared to dig its heels into the ground to do what it needs to do to protect their interests and sacrifice the gains made by the popular uprising.

Burkinabe protesters

The military are taking advantage of the impasse between the political parties about who should be the interim leader. It is surprising that they pushed so far without having made that crucial decision.

I assume the results of the popular uprising took them by surprise too. They never expected to find themselves in the position they are in now. They seem to be suffering stage fright and indecision after coming to terms with reality.

It is no surprise the military are taking advantage of the confusion in the civilian camp. It is a basic rule of the art of war.

However, the political parties are clear on one thing: they don’t want Blaise  Compaore‘s  former governing party to be involved in the ongoing discussions. I wouldn’t want them too.

Lt Col Zida was previously second in command of the presidential guard: that would put him in the latter camp the political parties don’t want in the discussions.

Lt Col Issac Zida

The Burkinabe have been very vocal and they are still protesting because they want civilian rule. Therefore, it is imperative the army respects the will of the people because they will not rest until their demands are met.

ECOWAS, the West African regional body discouraged the international community from imposing sanctions on Burkina Faso. They are optimistic their mediation efforts led by Senagelese President Macky Sall can achieve an equally agreeable solution.

He was party to the three man team that traveled to Ouagadougou this week to engage in talks which secured the one year transition agreement.

However, I believe any means that force the military to hand over power soon shouldn’t be discouraged. It is in the best interests of the Burkinabe and long term future of Burkina Faso.

Various parties are engaged in ongoing talks to agree on a civilian interim leader.

The AU sanctions could include:

  • a travel ban on military officials.
  • suspension from the union.

However, we have to question their efficacy and whether they serve as a deterrent. They don’t sound like much of a deterrent to a desperate regime.

Burkinabe protesters

Burkina Faso‘s constitution states that the head of the National Assembly should take office if the president resigns. Considering that the resignation wasn’t exactly done through constitutional means, it is pointless sticking to the letter of the law.

It is better to abide by the spirit of the  Burkinabe. The head of the National Assembly is part of Compaore’s inner clique, therefore, the constitution is better observed in the breach than in the observance.

The Burkinabe have come too far to resort to the constitution that was an instrument used to oppress them. They have dared to invent the future by shunning the old formulas and choosing the way of mad men.

It is the mad men who normally shape the future and change the world. I want to be one of those men.

The struggle for the Burkinabe continues. I believe they deserve our support in every way in their ongoing struggle against tyrants and rogues.

The latest Burkinabe uprising forms part of a longer history of mass public protests. Burkina Faso is a nation with a very active and strong civil society.

This bodes well in their determination to build a democracy that reflects their aspirations and vision for the future.

Burkinabe protesters

Slowly but surely, mass demonstrations and coups have subtly changed the nature of Burkinabe society. They have forced various regimes to change their policies or make concessions to appease the people.

Thomas Sankara’s revolution remains the most popular example. Its impact spread far beyond the borders of Burkina Faso. Its influence continues to raise the consciousness of Africans and other nations across the world.

Sankara’s Revolution brought with it enormous changes that transformed the socioeconomic structures, cultural practices, women’s liberation and political consciousness.

Democracies by nature are not apocalyptic. Democracies are not the result of philanthropy or enlightenment. Rather, they are the net sum of humanity’s struggle against tryanny and power.

Therefore, they are always evolving. Peaceful, unlawful or violent movements have being at the center of challenging and upsetting the status quo. Sometimes external forces have influenced the outcome of democracies via covert or overt means.

Democracies are built over time. They are shaped by local trade unions, political, individual, civic society, peasant and women’s struggles.

Burkina Faso provides the perfect case study to observe how localised struggles shape a democracy.

Democracy can’t be imported and uploaded into a political system like you upload software into a computer’s hard drive and expect it to operate smoothly.

When a democracy is shaped by local struggles it reflects a local character.

Therefore, an African democracy  should reflect an African character.

Burkinabe protesters

Western democracy works for them because it was shaped over centuries by various struggles in their respective countries which is why their democracies function differently, reflecting their unique characteristics. No two democracies are ever the same.

The greatest mistake Africans ever made was to stop struggling after independence, expecting politicians and others to develop democratic institutions and society. That goes against the development of a democracy.

Consequently, politicians and leaders took advantage of the apathy of the masses to protect their own interests. They developed or retained structures that protected their own interests.

The socialist ideals they preached before independence were forgotten once they became enamoured by the trappings of capitalism.

Therefore, it is essential to reawaken the struggle mentality in Africa to shape the democracy Africans desire.

The Burkinabe are leading in this regard and daring to invent the society they want to live in where they are free and able to realise the envisioned self.

Burkinabe women protesting

For now, it is the military versus the people. I believe the will of the people will triumph no matter what the military try to do to frustrate the people’s aspirations and dreams for the future to determine their destiny.

For once, I commend the African Union’s proactive decision to preempt the situation. It is surprising because they are normally reactive and tend to protect one another hence earning the moniker the Dictator’s Club.

Let us keep our fingers crossed they don’t let the people down.

Aluta Continua! Viva Revolution!

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November 8, 2014 · 8:44 pm

Ballots or Bullets: Democracy and World Power


thegatvolblogger:

Wow! What a revealing and insightful article. It appears long but it flows smoothly setting out a well reasoned, constructed and articulate argument illustrating the absurdity of “democracy” through violence. It is worth reading. I highly recommend it.

Originally posted on Uprootedpalestinians's Blog:

Global Research, October 31, 2014
pillars_of_democracy

The principal reason why Washington engages in military wars, sanctions and clandestine operations to secure power abroad is because its chosen clients cannot and do not win free and open elections.


A brief survey of recent election outcomes testify to the electoral unattractiveness of Washington backed clients.

The majority of democratic electorates rejects candidates and parties which back the US global agenda: neo-liberal economic policies; a highly militarized foreign policy; Israeli colonization and annexation of Palestine; the concentration of wealth in the financial sector; the military escalation against China and Russia. While the US policy attempts to re-impose the pillage and dominance of the 1990’s via recycled client regimes the democratic electorates want to move on toward less bellicose, more inclusive governments, which restore labor and welfare rights.

The US seeks to impose the unipolar world, of the Bush Sr. and…

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