Sounds from the Sahel: Mali Song of the Week

Boubacar Traoré – Je Chanterai Pour Toi

A dreadful week on the Mediterranean. For years the horrors on Europe’s southern frontier have grown in scale and all the while European nations have slashed their funding for the humanitarian mission charged with rescuing stricken vessels. Why are people paying thousands to take a doomed voyage? Stories from Mali show the extent of massive manipulation and misinformation on the part of traffickers which trade human beings like drugs across the Sahara desert. Migrants, desperate for a way to Europe, fall into their hands. Some traffickers pose as assistants; valiantly helping people onto a new life in Europe. The extreme price for their services is explained away, preying on desperation and ignorance. For many land-locked people of Mali there is no way of knowing about the sea for example; the Mediterranean is referred to as ‘the river’ by the traffickers and the realities of the desert kept unknown. Human trafficking is now one of the most important parts of the economy in northern Mali, as the region suffers from further drought and conflict.

We return to the ‘stately, affecting acoustic guitar and unpretentious, story-led vocals’ of Boubacar Traoré to remember that those who have died have fallen victim to the abuses of human trafficking, to poverty and desperation, and to the indifference of a world capable of intervening who have chosen to look away. A blame-game is on in Europe, politicians scrabbling around for stop-gap funding till the tragedies slump out the news. Instability only continues across Africa and the Middle East, causing more people will take the decision to “put all their faith in the unknown”.


Boubacar Traoré – Je Chanterai Pour Toi

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