Good interview regarding recent dozo- koglwéogo confrontation in Karangasso-Vigué in #Burkina Faso

Le 12 septembre dernier, des affrontements ont éclaté à Karangasso-Vigué, causant la mort du fils aîné du chef de canton et de deux koglwéogo. Dites-nous ce qui a bien pu conduire à un tel drame.Yacouba Drabo (Y.D.) : Avant d’entrer dans le vif du sujet, permettez-moi de présenter mes sincères condoléances à la grande famille des dozo du Burkina et d’Afrique, particulièrement au dozo-bâ [grand dozo, en langue dioula], chef de Karangasso-Vigué, Bamory. Pour revenir à votre question, je dirai qu’il y a toujours eu une incompréhension entre dozo et koglwéogo. Il y a longtemps que nous avons essayé de faire comprendre aux koglwéogo que nous ne pouvons pas cohabiter.

Source: Relations dozo- koglwéogo : « Qu’on ne nous provoque pas », prévient maître Yacouba Drabo, chef de la confrérie des dozo –, l’actualité au Burkina Faso

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Loyola University New Orleans student newspaper article on Jesuit presidents

Despite the shift in lay presidents, Dziak said that the men and women taking over these leadership positions were not chosen on a whim. They are qualified to represent these schools and that there is no lack of qualification or respect for the Jesuit mission.“Many Jesuits today are moving into other disciplines than administration and it is a numbers game,” Dziak said, “we will pick the person most qualified, and if that person happens to be lay, then so be it.”Along with Loyola’s new president’s outstanding qualifications, many other universities hold their leadership to similar qualification standards. Georgetown University in Washington D.C.’s president, John J. DeGioia, worked as an administrator and teacher at Georgetown before taking office. Like Tetlow, DeGioia was familiar with the university and its Jesuit values.

Source: Jesuit universities slowly losing Jesuit presidents – The Maroon

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Excellent articles on Peulh (Fulani) mobilization in central Mali

These are in a book Biographies de la Radicalisation: Des messages cachés du changement social edited by Mirjam de Bruijn that just came out in 2018. (Gated on project Muse, here.) The first is by Modibo Galy Cissé and traces the path of Hamadoun Kounfa towards becoming leader of one the numerous insurgent group (if he indeed is still alive!). (Another paper of Cissé’s is here.) Lots of interesting details and a thoughtful and clear introduction to the many issues in the Peulh community.  The second is more traditional conflict analysis, by Boukary Sangaré.  Both are well worth reading!

Sangare extract

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Opposition march in #Burkina Faso set for September 29

The leader of the political opposition in Burkina Faso, Zéphérin Diabré, has called for a march of protest on 29 September against what the opposition characterizes as the failed policies of the presidency of Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, at the 2 year midpoint of MPP’s control over presidency and government. The next elections are set for 2020.

The local newspapers published the declaration of the opposition. After noting that for the first two years they have tried to be a “loyal opposition” and work within government, and feeling dismissed by the MPP, they have decided to be more forthright in their opposition. Here are their main points of difference with the MPP, as enumerated in the declaration.

  1. Terrorism continues to grow and the government seemingly has no coherent strategy and has appointed incompetent people to important positions.
  2. Standards of living are declining and misery is spreading.
  3. Housing is in crisis, especially in the peripheries of large towns where speculators are driving up prices and the government is not moving fast to regulate and distribute parcels to those who need them. Instead, the opposition charges, government seems more intent of taking away the villas of old regime Compaoré regime members and distributing them to the new insiders.
  4. Youth and women have been neglected. opposition says MPP promised all sorts of jobs and easy loans for these economically marginal groups.
  5. Corruption continues. The opposition signals a reform in public procurement known as PPP where expedited procedures can be used to approve purchases.
  6. Justice has been instrumentalized to favor the MPP and persecute adversaries.
  7. Fundamental liberties are being threatened. Opposition charges that the MPP is taking a harsh stand on the rights of unions to strike, and is accusing opposition figures of “destablisation” and arresting people without real evidence.
  8. Democratic elections are threatened. The opposition accuses the MPP of fostering violence during the municipal elections of 2016, of passing a reform of the CENI without consensus, and of writing policies to diminish opportunities for Burkinabe residing abroad to participate in elections.
  9. Administrative, civil service positions are being politicized. According to the MPP, promotions and appointments to leadership civil service positions are being made according to party membership, not merit.
  10. 10. In Burkina Faso, the word “incivisme” stands for everything from running red lights to grand corruption. The opposition thinks the MPP is contributing to incivisme.
  11. National reconciliation. The opposition thinks the MPP is dividing and fostering enmity rather than reconciliation.
  12. Economic growth. Not good, according to opposition.
  13. Public investment. opposition thinks the government is just recycling old projects and claiming them as their own.

Seems like a reasonable list of political grievances. My own preference would have been for a more positive agenda of clear proposals and priorities. But I’m a social scientist, not a cognitively-biased confirmation-seeking group-affiliating socially-constructed contingent identity-seeking multiply-selved prospective voter.

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Good background on Katiba Macina, Fulani rebel group in central Mali

A nice summary by Manon Elissa Murray, nothing new but clearly written and organised, if the English grammar leaves a little bit to be desired.  The full text is here.

The purpose of Katiba Macina was originally the restoration of a Fulani caliphate. Now, with its alliance with Tuareg jihadist group Ansar Dine, and indirectly with more transnational organizations, it looks like Katiba Macina’s goal is to impose Shariah law in the region. Central Mali is therefore currently undergoing a classic scenario of people-centric insurgency, like the one we might have seen in South Vietnam or in Afghanistan in the past. Katiba Macina is systematically targeting state symbols: at least three village chiefs or mayors were assassinated in Mopti in early 2017, city halls or custom houses have been attacked, militaries, policemen and judges have also been targeted. The group did not only target other ethnic groups but also Fulani, as many refused to join or to support Katiba Macina, and Fulani imams were killed. This demonstrates the fragmentation and the heterogeneity of the Fulani, who, like any group, do not stand together as one political and social entity.

By eliminating these agents of power and replacing them with their own, Katiba Macina is taking over governance in the region, becoming a kind of “shadow government”. Its followers are hence typically following the intimidation strategy used by terrorist groups to gain control over the population, by creating insecurity[2], thus leading many civilians to join jihadist groups like Katiba Macina in order to seek protection. As a response to this surge of violence, and with the lack of an appropriate response by the government, ethnic-based militias have been created for self-protection and retaliation, particularly the Bambara militia called the Dozos. As a result, exactions are now committed on a daily basis by both jihadists and militias, targeting people on the grounds of their ethnic group, thus creating ethnic tension within populations who were not involved in any armed movement, and who are pushed to join these groups for protection due to the helplessness of the government.

The government, however, has not been passive. Armed forces have been accused of indiscriminately abusing citizens, by conducting arbitrary arrests, torturing and killing, the victims being mostly Fulani, for the sole reason that Katiba Macina’s jihadists are Fulani.

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Reading and French movies on trip to Burkina Faso

On the Air France flight I enjoyed (the standard on a 10 hour flight is low, but they were all better than Deadpool 2) several films (that incidentally I has never heard of):

Les derniers Parisiens: A low-budget film about a group of hustlers in the Place Pigalle area, centered around two brothers who own a bar, one recently released from prison (the the work that got them the bar) and the other trying to break out of the vicious circle of the low education grind. Almost all the characters are men; it is about how they talk, their dreams and strategies, and ultimately their defeat.

Razzia: Sometimes overly solemn and definitely very upper class take on “life” (five somewhat intertwined separate character portrayals) in Casablanca, including one of the last Jewish owners of a restaurant whose schtick is partly “Sam’s”. The lyrical portrayal of a Berber teacher who has an affair with a widow, and the denouement of their relationship, is lovely even though somoewhat cliche in this kind of movie. Still, some very good acting. Script could have been tightened up: too many shots of people staring directly into the camera with moving background music.

Camille Redouble:  An absurd sometimes quite bad movie about a middle-aged woman very unhappy, drinking herself into divorce and separation from everything that means anything to her, who gets a second chance, and wakes to find herself in the body of her younger self 25 years earlier. The time travel of course makes no sense at all and the film does not even bother with that. Instead, watching the main actress go from a dour frown to beautiful smile and grace over an hour is delightful.

Le Brio : Pretty stale drama about a young child of immigrants trying to make it in law school. With ambivalent and reluctant help from a cranky politically incorrect professor. Think I had seen some of the scenes in other movies, it was that familiar. Including a speech from the taxi driver boyfriend with heart of gold.

For reading, an old French novel that I picked up from one of the FAVL donation boxes, Francoise Sagan’s Dans un mois, dans un an, a breezy year in the life of young bourgeois Parisians (and some middle-aged- does she have to call the two 50 year olds “old”?). Pretty much the opposite of Les derniers Parisiens. These are the original chic-bubble Parisians…. the kind that Sagan and a culture industry created in the minds of people around the world, the image that was nicely captured almost as a parody by Jeff Goldblum’s wonderful cameo turn as an American professor in Paris in Le Week-end.

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American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Read this on the flight to Burkina Faso and then over a few days. Entertaining and occasionally compelling but the writing was just not edited enough to really shine. I appreciated the central idea, but the execution left me unsatisfied. Occasional digressions (let’s see if I can list a bunch of old gods and imagine them in different characters that are semi-American) were just filler (equivalent of the old TV shots of plane taking off and then plane landing …. B-roll is that what they call it?). Shadow’s somnolence was never really explored. Because he did not know his true father, he did not know himself? Is that a thing that Gaiman thinks is generally important… I guess for fantasy writers that’s a general conceit. The boy who is really son of king. Finding your parentage is the quest.  Seems very self-centered for a modern novel. How about becoming a city planner instead?

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