Sounds from the Sahel: Mali Song of the Week

Cheick-Tidane Seck – Watjoro

Nearly a month ago, the conflict that has been raging in Mali’s north ‘formally’ came to an end. At least with the Azawad rebel groups. In the weeks since violence has continued unabated with fragmented rebel groups continuing to war with Malian troops, UN Peacekeepers being massacred, high-profile assassinations and killings, and international organisations increasingly being targeted. Not really the peace we’ve been waiting for. Its a start however; the fact that Tuareg and Arab separatist leaders were present cannot be understated – these parties failed to attend a similar event in May which lead to fears that no solution was imminent. This ‘formal’ ending of conflict has ended political deadlock and has provided a roadmap, albeit just a sketch of one, to “federalism in all but name”, as an African diplomat put it.

So with one war over, gaping holes remain in Mali’s overall security. Even the German Foreign minister, visiting Mali recently ahead of German take-over of the EU training mission, made it clear that “there is still a long way to go before the Malian armed forces can undertake the security of the country on their own.” A new frontier on the war has opened up on the border with the Ivory Coast, showing that conflict in the country is no longer isolated to the sparsely populated, desert expanse of the north.

There is still a place for Cheick-Tidane Seck then; the “Keyboard Warrior” and one part of the Malian, afro-cuban, super-group the “Ambassadors”. Of course, Seck is no conventional diplomat, preferring communication through his own brand of jazz. A great collaborator, Seck could probably teach the politicians and generals a few things about harmonising people from different cultures with different histories and ideas to create something that can be celebrated by all.

 

Cheick-Tidane Seck – Watjoro

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