Saturday, 21 November 2015

Bamako, Mali terror attacks in the calm city

Mali is the ancient crossroads of West Africa. Despite not being the regional power like Nigeria, Mali is still important culturally, historically and politically. 

Bamako, the capital of West African country Mali is famous for being a calm capital city like Dakar, Senegal. It is one of those capital cities that get mentions randomly as a unique place to Bamako has its own unique history, culture and society. Bamako is mentioned a lot in many songs by local residents and Malians as well as international singers Youssou Ndour and Baaba Maal and has even become the name of several music groups. Despite not being well known as neighboring cities such as Freetown or , the capital has a well known music scene. Although it is a modern city, Bamako has been part of Malian and larger African history going back centuries. It existed as a small town when the Songhai, Sundiata, Mansa Musa, Jolof Empire, Ghana Empire (the country of Ghana gets its name), the Tauregs, etc all grew up and developed Mali during the Gold, spice and Trans Saharan trade eras. It was until the 20th century, overshadowed by Dakar and Noukchott even under the French colonial rule. Senegal, Morocco, Algeria and Guinea have some cultural connection, neighborly relations and with Bamako and Mali. Nearly 2 million people live in Bamako and its surrounding metro area. The city is located on the Niger River as many important Malian cities rely on the river for life and survival. The importance of water in a desert country such as Mali can not be underestimated. Bamako is a Bambara word meaning crocodile river in references to the crocodiles that used to be live in the Niger River. The cultural richness of Mali has never left Bamako. 

Bamako, Mali with the Niger River in the background

Dimanche a Bamako Amadou Mariam Malian musical Duo

Only two days after Boko Haram attacked a crowded marketplace in Yolo, Nigeria, another takfiri terrorist group attacked civilians and military personnel at Radison Hotel in the Malian capital Bamako on Saturday November 21st. Ordinary Malians were affected by the hostage siege in the hotel both inside and outside. Malian, Chinese, Turkish, French, American and Indian and possibly other WEst African nationals were taken hostage by English speaking terrorists belonging to Al Qaeda in the Maghreb and North Africa. Bamako was already on edge long before the recent terrorist attacks. It is a city recognized for its calmness and culture instead of brutal attacks. Even with the ongoing low intensity violence in Northern Mali, threats to cultural heritage and traditions in Timbukutu, Gao and Kidal or the terror of Boko Haram in Nigeria, Bamako doesn't appear unless the 2012 military coup is mentioned. Sadly, Bamako has experience previous terror attacks on smaller scale. In March, a suicide bomber killed 3 people in the capital. The Malian president vowed to punish the terrorists while comforting the families of the innocent souls lost. Again he is vowing immediate action. The African Union and Ecowas which is supposed to aid member states in conflicts related to terrorism and security has been dragging their respective feet. Not that the orgnanizations haven't been discussing and finding solutions to keeping Al Qaeda, Ansar al Deen and other terror organizations from causing chaos across West Africa. The terrorists responsible for the Hotel bombings have constantly attacked UN peacekeepers who remain in Mali from the 2012 coup and Taureg uprising in Northern Mali. 

Terrorist attacks in Bamako Mali Nov 21, 2015

France needs Mali instead of the other way around

In addition, French forces have also been "helping" the Malian army to fight against Al Qaeda and other terror organizations. France is scared of its power and influence in West Africa dubbed L Francophone waning or loosing out to China's soft power influences and budding trade relations with West Africa. France's quest to gain a military hold on independent African countries once its former colonies can not be brushed aside. France relies on Mali, Niger, Guinea and Central African Republic's natural resources to power French electricity and keep the French standard of living afloat at the expense of Mali having independent and people first leaders who put their foot down when it comes to protecting natural resources and unequal access to necessary resources for countries outside the African continent. 

PS: The media coverage of the Mali terror attacks lasted one day whereas the Paris Attack has had special coverage for over a week. Independent media has criticized double standards of the worthy victims in the humanization of Parisians and French people and the complete collateral damage mantra towards innocent victims and survivors of terrorist attacks in Mali, Nigeria, Baghdad, Libya and Syria.

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