In this post Wilfred Willy, President of the Malian Community Council, kindly agreed to write a few words to open the Mali Interest Hub. We intend to continue on in this format, with experts on and from Mali providing an insight to a fascinating country currently embroiled in turmoil.
Surrounding these insightful pieces we will be updating readers on the latest news from Mali. Of course the website itself is no where near it’s finished form and will develop and grow as time goes on. We hope you that you will be here with us on that journey as learn from, talk about and try to find a just and enduring peace in Mali.
Daniel Price – Mali Development Group
“I was fortunate enough to be born in Bamako the capital city of Mali, a wonderful country. Mali is well known of its diverse and rich culture, its arts and music. Mali is one of the very few countries in Africa to have produced so many internationally acclaimed musicians with, let’s not forget, 5 Grammy Awards and countless nominations to their names! The likes of Oumou Sangaré, Toumani Diabaté, Salif Keita, Amadou and Mariam, Rokia Traoré, et. play to full houses in some of the most prestigious arenas in the World. Mali also hosts 5 UNESCO World Heritage sites, the most emblematic being Timbuktu. However what always strikes me in Mali is the people: ever so welcoming and generous and happy, even in some of the most deprived and materially poor areas.
The country is currently hurting because of a rebellion which started in January this year, followed by the invasion of Islamic extremists. On one hand the MNLA rebels want independence of the 3 northern regions: Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal – effectively two thirds of the country’s territory – and on the other hand the Jihadists of Ansar Dine, Aqmi and the Mujao want to impose sharia laws in the same areas to a population that is already 100% Muslim.They have started by destroying historic monuments, mausoleums; by killing, miming and beheading innocent civilians.
Furthermore, Mali is also facing a political crisis which culminated in March 2012 with the coup that ousted the democratically elected president ATT. Since then the country is struggling to regain some sort of stability necessary to fight back the insurgents.
I really hope that this website will offer:
1) The opportunity to inform English speaking people on all that goes on in Mali, including news on the current crisis, but also on arts, music, culture, etc.
2) A platform for Malians and “Maliphiles” to express themselves; to inform and educate on the different issues.
3) A chance to share experience, useful information amongst people with an interest in Mali.
I would like to thank all the people involved in making this website a reality and I feel really honoured to have contributed a tiny bit to its content.
Thank you very much. Merci beaucoup. Aw ni ce!”