Thursday, 13 March 2014

Culture and Peace in Central African Repulic

Central African culture is thriving despite the war and divisions. A Central African play "Sango Meeting" in the Sango language, one of the main languages in CAR, is on stage in Paris. The play presents the mythical story surrounding the Central African capital Bangui. It also presents the complexities of Central African theater that is little known in France and the wider Western countries. Outside art and theater, local artists in France have used metaphors to describe the war in Central African Republic. John Togba compares CAR to an old boat to analysis French interests in CAR's minerals and contradictions with the lack of wealth distribution or rising poverty. French photojournalist, Samuel Fosso also captures the horrors of violence through aerial photos from Bangui's diverse neighbors where Muslims were forcibly removed. Returning to Sango Meeting, Bangui's prominent Lingua Tere Cultural Center based in Bangui was looted a year ago at the height of violence. The March 10th Solidarity with Central African Republic Concert hosted by Youssou N'Dour and Idylle Mamba aids in Lingua Tere's reconstruction.

On the peace front, the UN forces have been delayed again. UN experts sent to investigate violence and ethnic cleansing in Central African Republic have been given two weeks to finish their investigation before publishing their reports. The Organization for Islamic Conference or OIS has appointed special envoy to CAR, Cheik Tidiane Gadio. The former Senegalese Foreign Minister is tasked with resolving the crisis through meditation and cooperating with the AU and UN. Gadio has promised to do all that's humanely possible to end the conflict. UNICEF has recently restored water for some 130,000 people in the country in time for the rainy season starting in a couple of months. In another neighborly gesture, President Samba-Panza has paid a visit to neighboring DR Congo for a "working visit" with Congolese President Joseph Kabila.

Fortunately for the African Union's mission, additional reinforcements from various African countries are slowly arriving in CAR. The new troops will join the already 8,000 strong AU peacekeepers. Neighboring Gabon on CAR's southern border has sent a sixty soldiers to join the troops. French troops continue to search out Seleka and Balaka rebels to disarm as part of Operation Sanagris. The troops were greeted joyously in the town of Kaga Bandaoro. Beyond the applause from the Kaga residents, the troops are finding it difficult to win the hearts and minds of the people. Central african Muslims still do not feel safe even with French-AU presence in the town of Boda, where some 11,000 Muslim residents left fearing reprisal attacks from Anti-Balaka rebels. A local imam survived a brutal attack by Anti Balaka affiliated militiamen who were aiming to kill him.  Chadian migrants and other Muslim migrants from neighboring countries and some as even far west as Mauritania has also evacuated its own citizens from Central African Republic. The French newspaper Le Monde has described the large Muslim exodus and violence against them as "a victory for ethnic cleansing" painting the Anti-Balaka as the victors who are even aiming to fight against the Central African government and foreign forces the AU and French forces. The DGSE (Directorate-General for External Security), the French intelligence agency has been accused of training Anti-Balaka forces in their brutal violence against Muslims. The DGSE like the CIA, MI-5 or Mossad has often been involved in supporting coups and death squads abroad. Ironically, the DGSE instigated a coup against the then Emperor Bokassa in the late 1970s replacing him with a pro-French government in Central African Republic. During the Rwandan Genocide, the DGSE promoted disinformation and propaganda in the press. Former agent Thierry Jouan published his memoirs during his time in Rwanda and the DSGE's overall role in Africa. University students occasionally protest in Bangui over lack of materials and funding, protested for their scholarships distribution.

Hearts of Darkness Francafricaines

Centrafrique: ni genocide, conflit religieux 

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