Bamako doesn’t feel like the capital of a country at war. True, people are stressed, and the pace of life might have slowed. The city’s building frenzy has subsided. Ça va pas, but things are calm, even if late in March, far from cool. In the distant North, a fifth French soldier died over the […]
Whew, Mali. French air raids against Islamist positions in Mali began Thursday night, and the dust hasn’t settled yet. The news is changing fast, but, three things emerge from the haze. First, fierce fighting in the North and the East, with French forces in the lead, will open up a whole new set of dangers. […]
Two things I’ve learned about the popular press in the last few months: you don’t get to pick your own headline, and you don’t want anyone thinking that the inevitable picture of the guy with a machine gun is the author photo (not the one above, although strictly speaking, if his face is hidden, it […]
My grandmother had a pub where wayfarers, fishermen, their wives, officers and anybody who had trouble or was looking for a little happiness would come, buy tots of the local gin, “akpeteshie” and start pouring their souls out. I would crawl under tables, eaves dropping and soaking it all in. When I got bored listening […]
Strange bedfellows in the Malian Sahara of late. The Tuareg rebel movements that took control of northern Mali last month looked to have struck a deal over the weekend, only to have it come into question since. The supposedly secular, progressive, and multi-ethnic MNLA shook hands with the Ansar Dine, the Salafist movement that has […]
Why is so much outside coverage of the Mali crisis so bad? I don’t mean the conventional wallowing in clichés / recycling old images / harkening back to colonial stereotypes kind of bad, although there’s all that too. I mean the kind of bad that comes from being caught in a Beckettian loop of either […]
I have this track (and video) on repeat. The Sway Machinery featuring Malian singer Khaira Arby, “Gawad Teriamou.” The video was filmed in and around the Malian capital Bamako, “… while the Sway Machinery was recording their [new] album ["The House of Friendly Ghosts, Vol. 1;" out February 8] with masters of African music including […]
The French Fondation Blachère has chosen to feature the work of African photographers Nestor Da, Baldwin Mouanda, François-Xavier Gbré, Zanele Muholi (that’s one of her images above), Mohamed Bourouissa and Uche Iroha-Okpa at the 8th African Photography Encounters in Bamako on the theme of “Frontiers. The work will be exhibited until April 30, 2010.