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Growing support!

Today we mark the two month count down to the elections on July 7th. I am humbled at the out pouring of encouragement and support we have received since we began this journey.

I am very excited to share the latest video of Samake2013. I would like to thank the amazing talented Travis Pitcher and Joseph LeBaron at The Goodline who have yet again successfully captured the spirit of Samake2013 and the hope for a new democratic Mali. These guys are amazing. Check this video out!

This past month we have seen a growing recognition for what we are trying to accomplish in Mali. In Mali, this has meant a growing number of supporters turning up to our weekly meetings at our headquarters and many offices being created in distant regions. Many Malians are starting to seriously realize that change is needed and Yeah Samaké is the man for the job. Our growing fan base on social media and at our office on the ground is proof of that.

It does not stop there. We have had a number of news outlets including TIME cover Yeah’s story and his run for the Presidency. Just this morning Yeah was on the BBC to talk about his candidacy and why he is running to be President of Mali.

Here are some excerpts and the links to some of those News articles. We thank all these media members that have shared the Samake2013 message of hope and democracy for Mali.

TIME: As Mali Wars With Islamists, a Mormon Runs for President by Aryn Baker—“The government failed the people, so the people turned to the religious groups that filled the gaps,” Samaké says, referring to the success of Islamist militias that, for a time, occupied some of the country’s most historic cities. “Any nation that fails its people opens itself up to that kind of vulnerability, and we need to change that in Mali.” Read more

UTAH ABC4: Elections back on track: Mormon leads in race for president in African nation by Brent Hunsaker — “I am here to serve, not to take advantage of the people.” For years, Mali politicians did just that. They grew rich while the people starved. An election was seen as a license to rob. Samaké sharpened his image as a corruption fighter as mayor of Ouelessebougou. He turned around the poorest region of the poorest country and now promises to do it for all of Mali. “So that we can depend and rely on ourselves and not sit and wait for a handout. That is the Mali I see,” said Samaké.” Read the entire story

UTAH KSL5: Risking death, BYU grad confronts Malian coup leader by Stephanie Grimes and Richard Piatt — “I hope to see democracy restored. I hope to see leaders with integrity. I hope to see the people of Mali meeting their basic needs, including human rights and access to basic services, and having three meals a day and making sure education is available,” he said. “My hope is that my country would become prosperous and peaceful and that we will be more reliant on ourselves than on any external forces. That is my hope for my country.” Read the entire story

UTAH 89.1 FM THINKING ALOUD: Yeah Samaké and the Future of Mali by Michael Wyatt — Yeah Samake, an alumnus of BYU and leading candidate in the current Mali presidential election, joins Thinking Aloud to share the dramatic story of his reform efforts in his home country. Listen Here

MERIDIAN MAGAZINE: Yeah Samaké: Born for Such a Time as This by Maurine Proctor — “No education could prepare you to be the leader of a nation,” Yeah says, “but you do have to have a true and sincere sense of service. My heart is set on this people.” Read the entire story

We are thankful for the attention our story has gotten and continues to get. While much of the focus remains on our religion, that is the least of our focus. We know that religion is not what will stop us in Mali. Malians are very open and kind people. Even in Ouelessebougou, where there is a majority Muslim population like the rest of Mali, Yeah was elected Mayor with 86% of the vote. We know that the people are waiting for an honest leader who can bring change and raise Mali up to the great nation she deserves to be.

I am thankful that our supporter base only continues to grow in Mali and the world. We get supporter emails on a daily basis. I say this not to boast. I say this because we are so thankful and feel blessed for all the support. It means a lot when we hear someone say to us:”I believe in you” and “How can I help Yeah”. It means a lot when we see the youth in Mali sacrifice their weekends to campaign and attend meetings. It means a lot when we see Malians themselves donating.

We are ready. We are ready to fight for Malians everywhere so that a true democracy may be restored. A democracy that is not in name alone, but one that is demonstrated by a leader who is willing to acknowledge and meet the needs of his people. We are ready to fight for a Mali where three meals a day and at least a high school degree becomes a norm. We are ready to fight for a Mali where basic amenities like clean water and electricity become accessible in all regions. Mali does not deserve to sit in the bottom two of the world. It is time to fight for Mali and break her chains of bondage to poverty, illiteracy and poor governance. July is fast approaching and we here at Samake2013 are giving it all we got for a democratic, prosperous Mali.

Can we count on you? Together for Mali!

WWW.SAMAKE2013.COM

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Posted by on May 7, 2013 in Past Posts

 

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French Ambassador Rouyer makes historic visit to Ouelessebougou

Ouelessebougou and the surrounding communities welcomed a very special guest to their commune on March 26th, 2013. The visit was the first of its kind by a dignitary of this magnitude in this region of Mali. Given the recent circumstances in which France has extended solidarity to Mali, Yeah, in his mayoral capacity, invited the Ambassador of France to Mali, Ambassador Christian Rouyer, to see Ouelessebougou and experience the many developments ongoing in the region. Ouelessebougou already shares a sister city relationship with Pontivy in France. Through it many great projects in the areas of water and education has become a reality for Ouelessebougou.

Ambassador Rouyer and the French delegation were received with great pomp as he and his delegation entered the city of Ouelessebougou. The air was thick with excitement as such an event has not seen for as long as many could remember. The people of Ouelessebougou and the surrounding villages turned out in droves to meet the French delegation.

Ambassador Rouyer in his speech was very appreciative to the people that came out to welcome him so warmly. In his speech he expressed gratitude to the people of Ouelessebougou and also their leader Yeah. He has been very appreciative of the leadership role that Yeah has played since last year’s coup. Regarding the situation in Mali, he said it was France’s obligation to help Mali. For during the Second World War, it was many Malians who paid the price of freedom with their life as they fought for France. Now it was France’s turn to help Mali combat terrorists. About governance in Mali, Ambassador Rouyer bluntly stressed that “Mali is not condemned to poverty, corruption and rebellion. It’s just a question of governance. It has all the capacity and potential to remain strong among the great nations of the world. In any case”, he added, “the majority of Malians aspire to a profound change. To do this, the Malian people must take their destiny in hand through a high turnout in elections to elect men and women to meet their aspirations.” This was amazing to hear as it was a reaffirmation of what Yeah has been saying all along. Mali’s many problems come not from the lack or inability of Malians, but rather from the leadership that has failed them.

Mayor Yeah Samaké then presented the Ambassador with a flag of Mali as a token of appreciation. This is the same flag that Yeah was presented with by Colonel Keba Sangare in Tombouctou last week. Colonel Sangare is a Red Beret and paratrooper commando and is the current commander over the 5th military region in the North. He had presented Yeah with the Malian flag as an appreciation for what Yeah has done for Mali. By giving the same flag to Ambassador Rouyer, Yeah was extending the military’s appreciation for the French forces now fighting on Mali’s behalf.

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After the speeches and an afternoon filled with cultural richness, Ambassador Rouyer and his delegation joined the dancing. Malians love music and love to dance. For Malians to see “white” people dancing is indeed unique, but also it warms their hearts, for to them it is an acceptance and embracing of the Malian culture. The visitors were not shy. They seemed to truly enjoy the Malian culture that is often hidden in the city life of Bamako. Many of these diplomats will not venture past the main cities because their duties usually keep them in these areas.

The evening ended on a high note as Yeah led the delegation to look at all the development projects and achievements Ouelessebougou enjoys today. Ouelessebougou enjoys the spot as one of the top 5 cities in terms of development and management. Many people in Ouelessebougou have not been as affected by the economic crisis in Mali as other villages and cities. This is apparent in the level of development projects present and the life style of the people of Ouelessebougou. As they toured the solar panel field, high school, the hospital and water tank, there was great, genuine, appreciation for how far Ouelessebougou has progressed in comparison to other areas.

The date that this took place is also a memorable date for Malians. March 26th marks the anniversary of the martyrs that lost their lives for democracy in Mali. On March 26th, 1991, after days of fighting, displeasure over the military dictator Moussa Traore’s government reached its peak. Many university students especially lost their lives as riots seized the streets of Bamako. I remember Yeah telling me, that back in those days, he was a student at ENSUP. He remembers going to join the movement against the dictator. However with the death toll mounting, his father came all the way to Bamako and pleaded with him not to join. Soon, the army lead by Lieutenant-colonel Amadou Toumani Touré (the same President who was overthrown last year), refused to fight the civilians and instead with a team of 18 other soldiers they arrested and overthrew President Moussa Traore. Malians have long celebrated those that gave their lives for the democracy movement. This year, this day holds more significance for it is a caution that those deaths should not continue to be in vain. That the democracy that they fought for should not be forgotten and that Mali must return to a government where the people are represented.

Ambassador Rouyer expressed his genuine gratitude for this memorable event. It comes at a time, when his tour of duty in Mali comes to an end. A Sarkozy appointee, he will return to France soon and he will be replaced by Gilles Huberson. He has been an outspoken advocate for the French military intervention and had been posted in Mali since 2011 and had cautioned about rebels in the North long before they took over.

This is a memorable event for Ouelessebougou as well. It comes at a time when Ouelessebougou is enjoying its own successes and growth. It is hoped this event will only bring more development opportunities to Ouelessebougou and the surrounding communities.

It is at times like this, that I pray that people will see the great work that Yeah does. Yeah doesn’t do it because he will personally gain. The successes of his people and his community are paramount to any political ambitions. However we realize that it is only through our political ambitions that we can spread the successes of Ouelessebougou to all of Mali.

I have read comments that try to downplay Yeah’s popularity. I would urge all these naysayers to actually venture past the walls of Bamako and gain a true perspective of the 80% population and what they say about Yeah Samaké. What Mali needs is a leader that is trustworthy and dependable. A leader that will guide Mali to greatness and Malians to a better standard of living. A leader that has actually done something for his community and given rather than taken away from Mali.

This all is possible. Two words: YEAH SAMAKE.

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Posted by on March 29, 2013 in Past Posts

 

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Aw Sambe Sambe!

As we drove back to Ouelessebougou this past weekend, we were looking forward to celebrating the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting for Muslims. The traffic and the high number of cattle being sold were a tell tale sign of the upcoming celebration as Malians busied themselves preparing for this important event.

On our way to Ouelessebougou. All smiles.

he first thing that greeted us at our house in Ouelessebougou was a collapsed ceiling. The high amount of rain in the past month, while a welcome break for drought stricken Mali, had caused one room’s ceiling to fall in. That was not even the worst part. As the carpenter took the roof apart, the room filled with a swarm of bees. There had been a hive in that part of the roof. Within minutes, the buzzing of bees could be heard through an open window in the house. Being the eve of the celebration and the 100s of bees, the carpenter was unsure of whether he could fix the roof in time before nightfall. It looked like we would be returning to Bamako. However, a little insecticide took care of the bee problem and the carpenter Sunkalo was kind enough to come back and fix the roof even though it took him till 10 pm to do it. My driver Zhu and the boys that help me Dra and Nouman made a feast of the hives and honey. I guess one man’s cast offs is another man’s treasure. 🙂

Enjoying the honey

The next morning proved to be a beautiful one as millions of Malians woke up to celebrate the ending of Ramadan. The greeting of “I Sambe Sambe” and blessings accompanied by jovial teasing between family members could be heard ringing through the streets of Ouelessebougou. We celebrated the day with my brother-in-law Bei and his family. I had not seen them for a few months so it was nice to catch up with Momuso (Yeah’s second mom) and Tenemuso (Yeah’s aunt). I can always tell how much the kids and I are missed and loved by the look in Momuso’s face when she sees us at the compound gate. Regardless of the fact that she does not understand the kids, they have taken to her and her to them. The day was spent with greetings and visits to other family member’s compounds. The idea of family and its importance in Malian culture is so evident during feast times. Any money you give to one family member goes to the whole family. Also family member’s children are usually given money while all other children usually get just candy. Families celebrate by eating together and the day is one for visiting and paying your respects to different members, young and old. It is beautiful to be drenched in family and blessings and I have realized how much I have come to love and accept this new tradition.

Talking with Momuso( which means Grandma in Bambara) and Tenemuso( which means Aunt in Bambara)

Visiting Yeah’s uncle

Visiting Yeah’s third mother

Popsicles for the hot day

When we got home, there was a steady procession of young kids that came to pay their greetings and spurt out blessings in return for money and candy (almost like Halloween). Keanen and Carmen had a blast handing out the candy. The experience highlighted for me how much they have grown in just one year. Last year, they would not have heard about handing out candy. This year they were volunteering! Even fiery little Carmen! At Bei’s compound, they ran around like the other kids chasing chickens, eating brochette (meat on a stick) and exploring for treasures. The experience in Mali has taught them much. However, I think, because of how much they are blessed with, in their own childlike way they acknowledge the stark difference in the fortunes and are happy to share. May their kind hearts rub off on me so that I may learn to be as generous. Mali is teaching my children to remember how blessed they are and how they should try and share those blessings.

Handing candy out to the kids.

To my Malian brothers and sisters, I wish you: “Aw Sambe Sambe. ‘Ala ka san wɛrɛ yira na’ May next year be better than last; ‘Ala ka hɛrɛ caya’ May God increase your peace; ‘Ala ka batow mine’ May God answer your prayers’; ‘Ala ka kɛnɛya soro’ May you be healthy. Ala ka san caman yira an kene la (May God give us many years of health); Ala ka yaf’u ma (May they forgive us); Ala ka yafa an bema (May we be forgiven)

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Posted by on August 19, 2012 in Past Posts

 

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Guiding Mali forward

If you had told me a few months ago what would happen in Mali, I would not have believed it. The events that have unfolded since the March 21st coup were an awakening. An awakening that Mali was not as stable a democracy that everyone in Africa seemed to think it was and that Mali had fallen the hardest when it seemed the most stable. Since then Mali’s way of life and the uncertainty in government has moved Mali back 20 years. It is unbelievable that one man could change so much. There seems to be little political drama these days and calm seems to be on the surface. The African Union has since disregarded the agreement that was signed with Sanogo giving him ex-Presidential privileges. However it remains to be seen how much power they have to even enforce it.  It is easier to give something than to take it away once given. The ripples of dissent are there. People are unhappy with the way things are playing in the North. The latest attack on Mali’s national treasures has caused such anger that it makes me question humanity a little. Mali has gotten more attention from the West with the destruction of Tombouctou’s mausoleums to its Sufi Saints, a UN World Heritage site. If sites/things can get this much attention, how come 250000 displaced refugees cannot get a similar reaction. Have we come to a time in our history where human life is cheap and dispensable but historical artifacts are not?

The refugee situation is becoming worse and the situation will continue to degrade unless the security is restored in the North. People flee when conditions are not safe. The Malian government has been unable to re-secure Northern territory. In addition the destruction on World Heritage sites and the increased punishment under Sharia law has made people desperate. People are so frightened that they are willing to leave homes, land and family behind. Just last week, a woman carrying her baby on her back who was getting water was flogged by Islamists. Her crime? Her head scarf had fallen as she tried to fill water. Today, she and her child lie in a hospital. In other incidents, young men have been flogged for stealing or associating with women. The young men of Tombouctou and Gao are so angered by the situation that they have taken to the streets with clubs and machetes. However while they are bigger in number, they are no match for Ansar Dine’s men that are equipped with guns.  Something has to happen soon from the Government of Mali. We cannot lose the future of Mali. Ansar Dine has proven its original mission of its own state to ensure the Tuareg’s well-being is polluted with an agenda of terrorism.

In yet another move to progress Mali back to democracy, Prime Minister Diarra advised ECOWAS of a roadmap to ending Mali’s two big issues: terrorism in the North and ability to hold credible elections after the one year transition. There is talk of creating more opportunities for political actors from other parties so that government can indeed be more diverse. Diarra has said that he would welcome the 3000 ECOWAS troops only if they were to rid the North of terrorists.  If all is kept on schedule and the new plan accepted then Mali would be on course to hold elections in May 2013. One of the biggest issues in Mali today is most political parties feel excluded from the government; hence instead of supporting Diarra they are constantly opposing his policies. If a government were created that held no majority, while it would bring in differing agendas, it will also give political parties the chance they seem to be asking for to make a difference. Hopefully, it will not become yet another political circus. Yeah has constantly called for a national unity government to be formed but has also cautioned against furthering personal agendas. He said in a recent debate:” When a nation is faced with its survival it must act in unison. The quarrels of interest will always exist but the existence of our territorial integrity must come before our partisan interests”.

Many people have asked us whether we plan on dropping out of the campaign. Giving up on Mali is not an option for us. Our efforts will be focused on making sure the right things happen for the Malian people in terms of getting refugee aid and contacting governments to advise them of how they can help.

It is essential that national unity be achieved first so that international support will return. Then a better equipped army can be deployed that has confidence in their leaders. After that the North can be regained and the terrorists kicked out. If we don’t do that soon, it may be too late. The time has run out and enough is enough. Once security and safety returns to the region, the refugees will return home.  Mali cannot afford another blunder. We are on the right path, but it is moving slowly

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2012 in Past Posts

 

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Join Yeah Samake at an event in UTAH!

Billy Hesterman, from the Daily Herald in Utah, did a story on the situation in Mali and what Yeah Samake is doing to make a difference. Click on the Link below or read the story posted in the Daily Herald in Utah.

BYU grad’s bid to be president of Mali on hold

The situation in Mali is bleak.

Just this year Mali’s military staged a coup on the national government because they claimed they were not receiving enough support to fight the al-Qaeda supported rebellion in the northern part of the west African country. More than 300,000 Malians have fled from their homes to avoid being ruled by the rebels and the country is losing foreign aid as it goes deeper into conflict.

The country was supposed to hold elections this year in which Brigham Young University graduate Yeah Samake was hoping to take over as the country’s president. But with a major conflict taking place and the government being overthrown by the military, that election has been put off until May 2013 so that the country can get its affairs in order.

Currently an interim government has been established and work is being done to strengthen the army that overthrew the government. But the slow-moving process is leaving people without food and sufficient hygiene supplies while they wait for the military to reclaim areas in the northern part of the country.

Samake though isn’t just waiting for the military to act or for his election to come around, he is trying to do something to bring help to his country. He is in the United States right now giving leaders an insider’s view of the situation. He has met with U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, to brief him on the status of the country and also met with state department representatives and United Nations officials to inform them about his country’s struggles.

“There is significant human suffering going on right now in Mali. People are hungry. They can’t provide meat for their families. They sit and watch their kids and worry about providing daily meat to them. As a father and as a mother that hurts,” he said.

In addition to his briefings to leaders about the status of his country, he also has traveled to Utah to raise money to support the refugees that are suffering in Mali. On Monday he will be in Lehi to host an event that is aimed at raising money and awareness about his people’s situation.

“One of the reasons I am here is to help women and children in those situations,” Samake said. “I’ve been in the refugee camps. I’ve met with the people. I’ve talked with the Red Cross and UNHR and have tried to find the needs of the people. Truly food shortage is significant. But tents are lacking, as well as hygiene kits. And the children that are out of school, they also need a playground and toys to play with.”

So far local businesses have stepped forward to support Samake in his efforts. Nu Skin and Overstock.com have offered their support to him and Lehi resident Erin Merkley is organizing the Monday night event that is open to the public to help support those suffering in Mali. Those wishing to attend the event should contact Merkley at erinking875@yahoo.com.

“Utah can make unique contribution to this because of the connections and ties that so many Utahns have with Mali,” Samake said.

Samake remains hopeful for his country’s future. He also remains optimistic about his chance of becoming the country’s next president. He hopes his current efforts will show the Malians that he genuinely cares for his country and that he has the ability to get things done to get his country on the right track.

“People are looking at me. And this struggle is an opportunity for me to rise up as a leader for my people to see what I can do for the country,” he said.

Just more than 14 million people live in Mali. The annual salary of a skilled worker there is about $1,500. The nation is equal in land size to Texas and California combined.

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WANT TO MAKE DIFFERENCE? NOT DOING ANYTHING MONDAY, JULY 16TH? THEN COME JOIN YEAH IN UTAH AS HE SPEAKS ON HIS FIRST EXPERIENCE MEETING THE DISPLACED MALIAN REFUGEES THAT HAVE NOW FLED TO BURKINA FASO.

CAN’T COME? PLEASE TELL 10 FRIENDS IN UTAH ABOUT THIS EVENT. ALSO, IF YOU CAN, PLEASE DONATE ONLINE AT WWW.SAMAKE2012.COM TO SUPPORT THE REFUGEES.

 

Together I believe we can make a difference in the lives of the refugees that have been displaced. I pray that soon our Malian brothers and sisters will come home. I cannot imagine the conditions they are being subjected to. The shelter they have is no match for the hot, humid weather mixed with rain showers. The food cannot meet the constant pains of hunger. Imagine sitting 15-20 hours without doing anything, day in and day out. The supplies are running out soon and we need to help continue the aid till we can bring them home. This is not a life and I would never wish it even on my worse enemy.

Please help if you can today. Donate at http://www.samake2012.com

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2012 in Past Posts

 

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A year ago..

A year ago, do you remember what you were exactly doing? June 17th, 2011 is imprinted very well in my mind. This time last year, I was getting off a plane from the US to Mali for a journey that we believed would change our lives and the lives of the Malian people. We came with the firm belief that Yeah could be the change that Mali needed. We believed he could be a fresh start for a country that was stuck in a rut of bad leadership and corrupt practices. Who knew where we would be a year later. All we knew was the journey had begun and was bound to be exciting.

I remember a year ago, my kids would freak out about flies and bugs. Now, a year later they run after them and catch them. A year ago, they would stick very close to each other. Now, they are making other friends. A year ago, they spoke only English. Now their minds are grasping words and phrases in French and Bambara. Instead of having a family of four, they have added our guards, cook and chauffeur as family. My kids have indeed grown since we came last year.

Politically, Mali too has come a long way. Who knew a year ago that what was one of Africa’s most stable democracies would not only be overthrown but the country would be divided. Who knew that almost 200,000 innocents would be displaced and uprooted from a country they had called home for centuries. Who knew that a year of campaigning would ultimately come down to fighting to restore a democracy instead of extend it. Who knew?

Through the year we have campaigned hard in the 4 corners of Mali. We have seen different cultures and traditions all compiled into a Malian. Mali’s diversity contributes to its beauty and uniqueness and we have found ourselves blessed by it. We have had the opportunity to better know Yeah’s culture and his family. I think his family has accepted us even more as they have gotten to truly know us. We have gotten to understand the challenges that Mali faces. We have been blessed to meet medical missions and people that want to make a difference and come to Mali to do just that.

However, we have also experienced history be rewritten and found ourselves amidst a coup. We have ourselves fearing for our family’s safety and in the prayers of many people that feared for us. We are being given an opportunity to continue to make a difference.

Now that we are here a year later, our resolve is no less strong than the day we started. Sure we have a hit a roadblock, but is a journey worth remembering if there are no bumps? Our people must be brought home. Mali needs to become a democracy again, so the people’s voice may be heard again. But the most urgent dilemma is that the North needs to be rid of terrorists. Mali and all Malians will not and should not be compromised anymore.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2012 in Past Posts

 

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Mali’s Muddle

This past week has been a huge political muddle. May 22nd was to spell the last day of office for interim President Dioncounda Traoré. A deal brokered by the African nation’s body ECOWAS sought to extend his term for 12 months. Now Dioncounda would have limited powers and the main running of the country would fall in the hands of the Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra.

On Monday, protesters unhappy with the forced decision to keep Dioncounda marched on Mali’s palace. There in the heat of the moment, the 70-year old Dioncounda was injured and admitted to the Mali hospital with head injuries. Now people are saying the junta that was supposed to be protecting the President let these protestors in. On the other side, we have also heard that there was a scheduled meeting between Dioncounda and 10 individuals that represented opposing factions. When these 10 individuals came to meet the President and were waved in by the guards, the protesters pushed past as well. Either story while the second may remove the junta’s involvement are hard to corroborate and point to the finer meaning that not even the highest office in the country is safe from protest.

As Bamako watched the news of this attack spread, we were in disbelief. While I am a big believer in democratic process and making your opinion heard, I am also of the belief that human beings need to act like human beings and not animals. In addition, in a society that reveres its elderly, for a 70-year old individual to be assaulted by youth is something that Malians do not take kindly to. That next morning, in secrecy Dioncounda was flown to Paris to be admitted for further testing. That evening, there was another protest held which claimed that Sanogo would be the new President. This protest was only attended by a few 1000 compared to the tens of thousands the previous day. This could mean one of two things. One, many people were shocked that the events of the previous day got so out of hand and also many people felt that Sanogo betrayed them when he took a deal with ECOWAS that bestowed him with an ex-President’s privileges. Sanogo, for his part, other than condemning the violence of the protests, has remained quiet. He as brokered a pretty sweet deal for himself. He would get paid $10000/month (5 million cfa), a house, two cars and a security detail. So the gift he is getting for bringing so much insecurity is very big. In a country so poor, one can only imagine how anyone can get so much money when the average Malian makes less than a $1 a day. The question that also is high on every ones minds is that Sanogo has benefitted but what about the 500+ odd men under the junta. If they feel that Sanogo has betrayed them, then things could get ugly.

This past week Yeah met with the Prime Minister to discuss the ongoing situation. The Prime Minister has condemned the actions of the mob and called on people to be calm using the Bambara word “Sabali” which means “patience” several times in an address to the nation. Yeah also had an opportunity to talk with CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux on the issues in Mali. Take a listen at CNN below. You can also find this on http://samake2012.com/updates/

http://newsroom.blogs.cnn.com/2012/05/24/amid-chaos-malians-hope-to-get-their-nation-back-on-track/

The North continues to remain in the hands of rebels and the ties that these groups are building are very dangerous to Mali’s stability. Mali’s AZAWAD last week even installed their own President over the North. There has been talk of Mali letting these three regions go. If that happened, I think the outcry in Mali would be huge. These territories not only house the Tuaregs that want their independence but also many other ethnic groups, of which the Tuaregs are a minority. By allowing an independent state to emerge, Mali would be allowing a territory in which groups similar to the Taliban will emerge. In essence Al-Qaeda would be able to get a new playground to harvest various training camps and illegal activities. The entire world will pay the price if the North becomes another Al-Qaeda festering pot. In all this, Malians will pay the heaviest price. With Sharia law already established in Tombouctou, Malians are already being suppressed. Malians in the South need to focus their attentions on the Northern regions. Aid is not the only thing the North needs. It needs freedom from groups attempting to take away civil liberties. If the world wants to get involved it needs to be putting pressure on these groups to pull out. Yeah spoke with CNN’s Erin Burnett about the Northern issue in Mali.

In this entire ruckus, the one thing that remains as forgotten today as it was two months ago is the growing refugee situation. The situation is worse today as the numbers continue to climb. People are living in despicable conditions and while the aid is coming in more now than before, it cannot meet the growing demand. It amazes me that when the earthquake happened in Haiti, the American celebrities put on a great fundraiser and raised a lot of money to benefit Haiti. Probably because Haiti was closer to home. However, the refugee situation has not gained the support of celebrities despite Angelina Jolie being called as a special envoy for the UN High Commission for Refugees. The need is great, the supply is small. Next week, Yeah plans to go to Mopti where some of the refugees are and then later to Burkina Faso. The hope is to assess the growing need and then provide the refugees with some much needed food.

The one thing that never fails to amaze me is the tenacious strength of the Malian people. Through all this, they continue to build their lives, taking in stride the changing forces. As noted before, their faith in their politicians is very low and their belief is as long as the politicians don’t make their lives worse, life will go on. Here it is hard for people to look to the future when their present is so filled with turmoil and hardship. But the Malian people will prevail like they have before. They deserve a much needed break. They definitely deserve better leaders who will give their needs a priority. Mali’s mess cannot be solved by self-serving politicians. It needs honest leadership!

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2012 in Past Posts

 

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