Why I think simple narratives of Thomas Sankara need to approached critically #lwili

From my review of Thomas Sankara Speaks: The Burkina Faso Revolution 1983-87:

There is no doubt that Sankara’s heart was in the right place. But the DOP speech and others illustrate three features of Sankara’s rule that I find troubling: (1) a readiness to substitute abstraction and jargon when specificity was called for; (2) an impatient and wishful understanding of the world; and (3) a tone of false modesty. For example, in one speech Sankara discussed the state’s nationalization of land. There was no entertaining the prospect that perhaps the regime had little idea of the effects of such a hasty and broad-stroked legal change. In another speech, Sankara derided the formal legal system of Upper Volta, proposing an informal and possibly oral-based people’s justice. But he did not explain how this justice was to be applied without written rules, or how such written rules would not once again quickly become the mechanism by which the powerful evaded…

And see more of my thoughts here.

About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
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