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Silencing the music

Posted by david52 z5CO (My Page) on
Sat, Dec 1, 12 at 10:44

"BAMAKO, Mali - Khaira Arby, one of Africa's most celebrated musicians, has performed all over the world, but there is one place she cannot visit: her native city of Timbuktu, a place steeped in history and culture but now ruled by religious extremists.

One day, they broke into Arby's house and destroyed her instruments. Her voice was a threat to Islam, they said, even though one of her most popular songs praised Allah.

"They told my neighbors that if they ever caught me, they would cut my tongue out," said Arby, sadness etched on her broad face.

Northern Mali, one of the richest reservoirs of music on the continent, is now an artistic wasteland. Hundreds of musicians have fled south to Bamako, the capital, and to other towns and neighboring countries, driven out by hard-liners who have decreed any form of music - save for the tunes set to Koranic verses - as being against their religion.

The exiles describe a shattering of their culture, in which playing music brings lashes with whips, even prison time, and MP3 and cassette players are seized and destroyed.

"We can no longer live like we used to live," lamented Aminata Wassidie Traore, 36, a singer who fled her village of Dire, near Timbuktu. "The Islamists do not want anyone to sing anymore."

In Malian society, music anchors every ceremony, from births and circumcisions to weddings and prayers for rains. snip end quote. Much more at:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/in-northern-mali-music-silenced-as-islamists-drive-out-artists/2012/11/30/110ea016-300c-11e2-af17-67abba0676e2_story.html

Northern Mali was taken over by the Toureg mercenaries that used to work for Gadaffi, hoping for a separate state, but they teamed up with Muslim fanatics - who then took over the place. And its spiraling down hill fast.

Malian music is fantastic. For the last several years, there is something called the Festival au Desert around Timbuctu, at the link is a utube of 2012 - much smaller than normal due to the unrest, and happened before the takeover. But it gives a flavor of what the place is like - All these Touregs with their camels and ski goggles....

Here is a link that might be useful: Festival au Desert 2012


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Silencing the music

David, I agree with you regarding the music of Mali.

Those Toureg mercenaries are armed with weapons that flooded into Libya during the uprising against Gaddafi. Another of those 'unintended consequences' from outside interference in internal conflicts.


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Organized fanatical religion is a very dangerous thing... as is playing global chess for natural resources, among other things...


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This article gave me a projection into our not distant
future when Christmas Carolers will be banned from singing
in malls, neighborhoods, a small town's court square, any
public place where some radical "might" be offended.

Khaira Arby is being oppressed by religious extremists
and we understandably think how horrible to live in a country where your voice can't be heard.
She should have the right to lift her voice in song....
anywhere.

As we all should....regardless of the words of the song.

Lets see how long it takes in this free country of ours before Christmas music will be banned.


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  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 1, 12 at 15:29

Yeah, Christianity is under threat here.


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bboy you are defining the two scenario's as one being religion and one not.

Khaira Arby is being oppressed by religious fanatics.
Not Christians but fanatics.

Trying to silence Arby based on their will to dominate.

If, mind you , I said if, Christmas Carolers were
silenced by every day, walking around fanatics because
it was their "will", would that be called Christian
oppression or just oppression of the nature, "You will do what I want so stop the damn "Jingle Bells" and "Rudolph"
and "What Child Is This".

David, I value your input...what think you.


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I don't think its a very good analogy.

Maybe if some off-shoot militia, heavily armed hard core fundy Baptists decided they should trash the church organs and burn the Christmas music of the Episcopalians because they've decided that only their fundy Baptist music is Gods music.

Because all these people are Muslims, Timbuktu was once one of the leading centers of Islamic scientific and mathematic research, poetry, and so on.


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Thank you David.


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ECOWAS sending troops to restore Toure to power, France says logistical support only. Tuaregs have been revolting for decades and now seem to openly support Boko Haram and al Qaeda. It does not look good for the average Malian caught in the middle, but scarcely better for Niger, Mauratania or Algeria, as this is a fight that could heat up to a regional war. Susan Rice could take over State, but so could Kerry, which would likely affect the issue for us. Rice seems far more hawkish to me than Kerry, no matter how the GOP spins her career. Forget Benghazi, some of us still remember how Ms. Rice advised MKO Abiola to give up the legitimate presidency of Nigeria to the thug Abacha, then ended up being one of the last people to see Abiola alive, when he died under mysterious circumstances in captivity.

Here is a link that might be useful: MKO Abiola and Rice


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With ECOWAS, so far it looks like a lot more talk than movement. I'm not sure all the Toureg are all that keen on the wacko fundamentalists. Historically, they're pretty lax when it comes to strict Islamic tenants.

My understanding is that the heavily armed Touregs mercenaries who fought alongside Quadafi joined up with the fundamentalists to kick out the Malian army, sort of your enemy is my enemy, but then the wackos then pretty much took over from the (relatively) more moderate Toureg. But I doubt anybody really knows how the power divided or where these fundamentalists come from.

There's a lot of history there, the Toureg were once the top dogs in Northern Mali no love lost between them and the Bambara from southern Mali who run the gvt. Then you have the Fulani or Peuls nomadic folks who hang more in the sahel than the desert, and the more sedentary folks who fish and farm rice in the Niger flood plain.

I don't think the wackos are all that popular. They're destroying the historical Mosques in Timbuktu as well. They just have the guns.


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As long as business reigns supreme in the USA (and gets the overwhelming majority of its annual income from Christmas sales), all the whoopla--including Jingle Bells--is more than safe. It is protected by the most powerful force in our country--BUSINESS--in the name of their profits.

So no need to worry Rudolph will become illegal.

Kate


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"Muslims, Timbuktu was once one of the leading centers of Islamic scientific and mathematic research, poetry, and so on."

Then this is sad indeed. The greatest minds of all times, dominated for so long, were Islamic. I hope it is not an omen of future times.


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Islam is a fairly 'young' religion. Right now they're where Christianity once was. Check back in a couple of centuries.

That said.

Once again, organized religion providing a safe haven for this.


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Do you mean me? There are other links within the link, but for instance:

"Medieval Muslims made invaluable contributions to the study of mathematics, and their key role is clear from the many terms derived from Arabic. Perhaps the most famous mathematician was Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi (ca. 800-ca. 847), author of several treatises of earth-shattering importance. His book On the Calculation with Hindu Numerals, written about 825, was principally responsible for the diffusion of the Indian system of numeration (Arabic numerals) in the Islamic lands and the West."

Here is a link that might be useful: PBS site


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Twenty five years ago, I did a two month consultancy along the Niger River in Mali. It's a fascinating place - beginning around 1930, the French
(Colonial power) diverted some of the flow from the Niger into an inland rice farming scheme - its been expanding ever since with different foreign gvts ponying up to expand the area under cultivation, the latest being the Chinese.

Beyond the rice scheme, which now supports hundreds of thousands of Malians, the river turns into a mind-boggling flood plain that floods every year covering thousands of sq miles. Thats a whole culture/ecosystem by itself - fishermen, folks farming in the receding waters, cattle grazers on the grass that grows as the waters recede, and so on. When you get to Timbuktu, they're making dugout canoes with trees coming from way down the river from Nigeria using fire and chisels, they cut up old oil drums for nails. Touregs wandering by on their camels, the Peuls moving around with their gold-jewelry decked out wives in donkey carts, still see salt caravans.

That was also my first encounter with Muslim fanatics - we were sitting at an outdoor cafe in Bamako and suddenly everybody started running and hiding, and along came a group of 15-20 young men wearing sunglasses walking down the middle of the street. After they passed, the waiter told us they were students at the new Islamic school in town, and would harass people who weren't doing what they thought they should be doing - like playing music (in Africa? are you kidding) or not wearing a veil. I didn't think much of it at the time, but ......


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Do you mean me?

Nope, just mentioning it in general.

Yes, that was Islam back in the days. Then what happened? Got hijacked along the way...by those putting religion first.

...and suddenly everybody started running and hiding

Thugs is what they are.

On a sidenote, Pakistan held their 1st Malala Day.


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Ah. Yes, it was a great and then fanatics took hold. Could be said about many things. Even OWS. But religions too. I decided in church on Sunday that I would no longer say I was religious or was associated with religion in any way. I'm now going to say, "Yes I am in 'relationship' [implying with Him]". It's like being an alcoholic and saying "I'm a friend of Bill W's" in order say you're involved in AA. Sort of similar. That is, someone else who is in a "relationship" (during a religous discussion) would likely understand (since "true" believers greatest desire, tends to be a personal/close relationship with Him).

Why are human beings so prone to fanaticism? I don't get it.


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  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 3, 12 at 15:12

Ruled by emotion. Hence the creation of Spock and the Vulcans, who thought elimination of it was an improvement. Of course, taking ALL of it away was not, as McCoy liked to point out.

Supposedly people are drawn to militarism, even martyrdom where life tends to be short and tough. Gangs arise where young people are excluded economically. But young men in particular seem to have a taste for the rough stuff anyway, while all ages and sexes flock to spectator sports.


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Unfortunately bboy, I get that. At least, all of the allusions to Star Trek. I'm such a geek!


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At the link, a pretty good example of Malian musicians. Awesome guitar.

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 6, 12 at 11:26

beautiful, thanks david...


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I heard this a few days ago on NPR: Two Malian Guitar Greats, Gone But Still Wailing


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Good stuff, Nancy. In the larger towns, wandering around on a weekend, you'd hear this kind of music coming from every other block - a wedding, birthday, funeral, what ever.


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  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 6, 12 at 12:47

Saw Oumou Sangare again this past summer in a beautiful place called Caramoor.

Other side of the same coin... recently got a chance to see Bombino (Toureg from Niger) in a very small local theater, I think I mentioned him previously on this forum. Also a band called Tinariwen (Toureg from Northern Mali).


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Also a band called Tinariwen (Toureg from Northern Mali).

I'm still mad at myself for not getting tickets to see Tinariwen when they played at UCLA's Royce Hall a year or two ago. I don't remember why I hesitated, but it was the wrong call.


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I enjoyed the link, David. I was unfamiliar with Mali musicians but will look forward to hearing more from now on.

Kate


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  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 11, 12 at 10:25

AP "BAMAKO, Mali � Soldiers arrested Mali�s prime minister at his residence late Monday night, in new turmoil in a West African nation racked by military interference and an Islamist takeover in the north.
Hours later, Prime Minister Cheikh Modibo Diarra appeared grim-faced on national television to announce his government�s resignation. A spokesman for soldiers who seized power earlier in the year � and later nominally relinquished to Mr. Diarra � confirmed the prime minister�s arrest on Tuesday morning, accusing him of "playing a personal agenda" while the country faced a crisis in the north.

Mr. Diarra was taken by soldiers late Monday to the military encampment at Kati, just outside Bamako, the capital, where Capt. Amadou Sanogo, the officer who led the March military coup, and others told him "there were proofs against him that he was calling for subversion," said a military spokesman, Bakary Mariko.

On Tuesday morning, the streets of Bamako appeared calm following what appeared to be the country�s second coup d��tat in less than a year. But the new upheaval was likely to be considered a setback in western efforts to help Mali regain control of territory lost to Al Qaeda-linked militants earlier in the year.

The west has watched with growing alarm as Islamists radicals have constructed a stronghold in the country�s vast north and the United Nations, regional African bodies, France and the United States have engaged to aid the faltering Malian army in a military strike to take back the lost north. Those efforts have so far not coalesced in a coherent plan, despite numerous meetings and United Nations resolutions. More meetings at the United Nations were planned for later this month.

The latest political turmoil in the capital will almost certainly slow down any campaign in the north, however. Already, the United States has expressed reluctance to provide too much direct military assistance, given the shakiness of the political order here. Those doubts will likely only increase following the latest upheaval."


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That isn't going to help matters.


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  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 11, 12 at 12:14

The whole article is in the NYtimes. It sounds like the military is and has been in charge and really isn't doing anything other than resisting any outside help.

Saw a documentary on Timbuktu and preservation efforts there, digital scanning of manuscripts thousands of years old, families with several thousand year old books, staues etc.. buried under their homes.... it was filmed in 2009.... made me want to cry.


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  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 13, 12 at 12:46

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Thanks, Kwoods. Its just a mess.

Ali Farka Toure is astounding. He's done some collaborative stuff with Ry Cooder "talking Timbuktu" Recently with Bela Fleck (cue banjo jokes). Still think the best one is the following - lots of embedded links for more info.

I'm partial to acoustic guitar, so......

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 13, 12 at 14:49

Nice!

I think maybe you're thinking of Toumani Diabate (also Malian) playing with Bela? I saw Bela Fleck and Toumani Diabate together a few years ago. They have some recordings together as well, I also saw Bela with Oumou Sangare (also Malian).

I saw Ali Farka Toure maybe 20 years ago playing with Taj Mahal. I didn't know who he was at the time. Taj Mahal still plays and tours with Ali Farka Toure's son Vieux Farka Toure.

Here's a vid of a song off of a recording I really like from a CD that came out a while back called Kulanjan. Taj Mahal also plays and tours with Mamadou Diabate but I've never seen him. The Guy I've wanted to see for a loooong long time is Selif Kieta.

I also have some recordings that came out last year of Ali Farka Toure and Toumani Diabate.

It's so far beyond my reality that someone would want to destroy this kind of cultural treasure trove. These are the things this world truly needs to preserve.


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I'm likely confused with Bela Fleck - did an album recently going around the world searching out other cultures' version of the banjo.

The people taking over northern Mali are thugs parading as religious zealots.

It looks like Algeria is the key to getting things going militarily to kick them out, but their President has an election coming up.

Here is a link that might be useful: link to article about Algeria


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Thanks, David.

Could be messy:

MSM: The Algerian authorities fear that the conflict would spread beyond northern Mali, particularly because the borders are uncontrollable. If we abandon the very principle of Mali's territorial integrity, Tuareg demands for independence will spread throughout the Sahel, wherever there are Tuareg, especially in Algeria, which has a sizeable Tuareg population.

Finally, if the situation deteriorates and it gets deadly, Algeria will have to get involved. If that happens, there's a risk to the stability of the Algerian regime.


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The neighboring countries of Burkina Faso and Niger aren't exactly pillars of economic strength and stability as well, their respective governments / law enforcement almost non-existent.


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  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 17, 12 at 17:55

http://www.usip.org/events/crisis-in-mali-causes-and-options

webcast tomorrow at 10am. You can submit questions for the panel at the link.

Here is a link that might be useful: USIP Mali


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Ach - I'll be judging a science fair. I'll have to catch the replay later on.


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  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 10, 13 at 9:36

Read this yesterday after hearing something on NPR while in the car.... and then heard something on the news this morning.... one of our former generals talking about intervention in Mali due to al queda influence. Sounded far fetched.

Maybe the world is beginning to take notice?


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  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 10, 13 at 12:20

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The Economic Community of West African States has 3,300 troops on standby for a mission to reclaim northern Mali that received UN Security Council approval last month.

But no timetable has been given for an intervention, and senior UN officials have warned no deployment will take place before September.

Given the distances, the sparse population, and the few numbers of both rebels and military involved, they're going to need some sort of air support and satellite/drone/whatever surveillance.

If the Malian army is attacking, I'd guess they're already getting some significant help with "logistics". Now just who is supplying it......


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So the French and other "European" troops are already there, along with some "friendly" air support from other unidentified countries.

"French President Francois Hollande said on Friday that France will support Mali's request for military assistance to help counter an offensive by Islamist militants, specifying that any help given would be done within the framework of a UN Security Council resolution.

"We are faced with a blatant aggression that is threatening Mali's very existence," Hollande said in a New Year speech to diplomats and journalists.

"I have decided that France will respond, alongside our African partners, to the request from the Malian authorities. We will do it strictly within the framework of the United Nations Security Council resolution. We will be ready to stop the terrorists' offensive if it continues," Hollande said. France has urged its citizens to leave the country.

The Malian army launched a counter-offensive against the Islamists in the town of Sevare on Friday with French and European military backing, a Malian official said. - snip -

Local residents and a Malian soldier based in Sevare told Reuters that military aircraft, including two cargo planes and four helicopters carrying Western soldiers and equipment, had landed at Sevare airport on Thursday night."

Yet they refused to intervene to help the Gvt in the Central African Republic with their rebels - I guess you need to be wacko Islamists to get their attention.

(Saw that South Africa just sent troops to CAR with a bilateral, secret agreement, which stopped their rebels.)

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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Our govt has indicated that they will not be getting involved with this one.

I think Canada is a little weary of the invasions right now. Time to take a step back for a few years, re-evaluate which direction we are going for peacekeeping missions, and come up with a better method of sorting between peacekeeping to protects innocents or getting involved (and choosing sides) in a civil war. Hopefully we learned some lessons in Libya about "scope creep".


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  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 11, 13 at 10:58

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  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 11, 13 at 13:39

"Yet they refused to intervene to help the Gvt in the Central African Republic with their rebels - I guess you need to be wacko Islamists to get their attention."

Looks like peace deal signed unity govt formed. That whole thing was about money not ideology, no?


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  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 12, 13 at 7:50

The Pentagon is now weighing a broad range of options to support the French effort, including enhanced intelligence-sharing and logistics support, but it is not considering sending American troops, General Ham said.

The sudden introduction of Western troops upends months of tortured debate over how � and when � foreign nations should confront the Islamist seizure of northern Mali. The Obama administration and governments around world have long been alarmed that a vast territory roughly twice the size of Germany could so easily fall into the hands of extremists, calling it a safe haven where terrorists were building their ranks and seeking to extend their influence throughout the region and beyond.

Yet for months, the Islamists have appeared increasingly unshakable in their stronghold, carrying out public amputations, whippings and stonings as the weak Malian army retreated south and African nations debated how to find money and soldiers to recapture the territory.

All of that changed this week, when the Islamists suddenly charged southward with a force of 800 to 900 fighters in 50 to 200 vehicles, taking over a frontier town that had been the de facto line of government control, according to General Ham and a Western diplomat. Worried that there was little to stop the militants from storming ever further into Mali, France � for the second time in less than two years � intervened with guns and bombs into a former African colony rent by turmoil.


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Thanks for the attentive eyes and ears on this troubled and fascinating region. I've learned a lot; thanks David and Kwood


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"France has expressed surprise at the fighting strength of Islamists in Mali, as the nation kept up its bombing of militant targets for a third day.

A presidential official in Paris said the militants were "well-trained, well-equipped and well-armed", according to the AFP news agency.

The Islamists had got hold of up-to-date and sophisticated weaponry after Libya conflict, the official added.

- snip -

The unnamed Elysee Palace official quoted by AFP said on Sunday that French armed forces had been surprised by the fighting quality of the Islamist militants they were up against.

"What has really struck us is how up-to-date their equipment is, and the way they've been trained to use it..." the official said.

"At the start, we thought they would be just a load of guys with guns driving about in their pick-ups, but the reality is that they are well-trained, well-equipped, and well-armed.

"From Libya they have got hold of a lot of up-to-date sophisticated equipment which is much more robust and effective than we could have imagined."

- snip - end quote from BBC at the link

France24 quotes the French Minister of Defense: - snip - "Our intervention is ongoing and we will continue in order to make them retreat and allow Malian and African forces to go forward and re-establish the territorial integrity of the country," Le Drian said.

Aides to French President Francois Hollande described the militants as better equipped, armed and trained than they had expected.

"What has struck us markedly is how modern their equipment is and their ability to use it," one said in a reference to the rebels' hit on a French helicopter which resulted in the death of its pilot, Lieutenant Damien Boiteux, France's only confirmed fatality. -snip

http://www.france24.com/en/20130113-ecowas-african-troops-expected-mali-islamists-france

Here is a link that might be useful: link to BBC


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French warplanes have bombed the town of Gao in eastern Mali, extending their attacks deep into rebel-held territory.

-snip -

The foreign minister made it clear that France was now targeting Islamist bases in the north and said Algeria, which shares a long border with Mali, had given permission for its air space to be used for bombing raids "without limit".

- snip- end quote

It looks like they want to drive them completely out of Mali


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  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 14, 13 at 15:42

"It looks like they want to drive them completely out of Mali"

This is what I've been wondering and worrying about... to where? And... will that just make things worse? These types of conflicts have attracted foreign jihadis in the past, haven't read anything about that happening yet.


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From the looks of the map, it would look like they'd head all over the place. One thing the French are pretty good at in Africa are putting down small insurrections - Chad and invasion by Kadaffi-backed rebels, CAR in the past. Things didn't go so well in the Ivory Coast, and tens of thousands of French citizens had to leave for good. But that was in the middle of a nasty civil war in a relatively populated country.

But from what I gather, these bad guys in Mali are far from popular in the towns where they hide, and the numbers aren't that high - around 1500 or so at a maximum. And those numbers have been swelled by opportunistic thugs.


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  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 18, 13 at 9:16

GENEVA � As French and African troops prepare to escalate their offensive against Islamist forces in the north of Mali, the United Nations refugee agency said on Friday it was preparing for around 700,000 people to flee the violence, many to neighboring countries. The U.N. believes more than 400,000 refugees could flee to neighboring countries and another 300,000 are likely to be displaced internally "in the next several months," Melissa Fleming a spokeswoman for the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, said.

These will be in addition to around 376,000 who have fled the turmoil in the past year, she said, including 147,000 who went to Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso and around 229,000 the Malian government estimates are displaced within the country.


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Yet more uprooted displaced people.

I wonder if (where) Algeria fits in.


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Yet more uprooted displaced people.

Breaks my heart whenever I read of displaced persons and war refugees.


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Lets not forget that the Sahel is one of those environmentally marginal areas where climate change is wrecking havoc as well, and the whole region is in the midst of a nasty drought.


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  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 22, 13 at 12:42

"What has happened in the North of Mali over the past year is devastating beyond words. It shatters the spirit and tears the heart. This devastation is not just felt by the people of Mali but also all of their friends and neighbors. Today it is Mali but yesterday it was Niger and no man can say where it will be tomorrow if we are not united for peace, for tolerance and for freedom. We their neighbors and their Tuareg brothers are responsible for telling the world that we are on the side of peace and of tolerance. These invaders are not welcome in any of our lands and we reject their philosophies and their idea of Islam. Until we are all free from oppression we are all the victims of oppression." - Omara 'Bombino' Moctar

Here is a link that might be useful: Bombino


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"The US military has begun airlifting French soldiers and equipment to Mali to support their operation against Islamist militants.

Five US flights had already landed in the capital, Bamako, with more planned in the coming days, a spokesman said.

France began its intervention nearly two weeks ago with the aim of halting the militants' advance south.

It plans to hand command of the operation to a West African force which has some 1,000 soldiers on the ground.

An estimated 2,000 French troops are currently in Mali, with 500 more expected.

C17 transport planes had begun flights from a French base in Istres, in southern France, the US military's Africa Command said on Tuesday.

Pentagon spokesman George Little told Reuters news agency five sorties had been flown so far.

"The priority is to move heavy, bulky things" such as armoured vehicles, French military spokesman Thierry Burkhard told the AFP news agency."

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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There's a long article in Asia Times that's worth a look: Burn, burn - Africa's Afghanistan

... Mali is crucial to AFRICOM and to the Pentagon's overall MENA (Middle East-Northern Africa) outlook. Months before 9/11 I had the privilege to crisscross Mali on the road - and by the (Niger) river - and hang out, especially in Mopti and Timbuktu, with the awesome Tuaregs, who gave me a crash course in Northwest Africa. I saw Wahhabi and Pakistani preachers all over the place. I saw the Tuaregs progressively squeezed out. I saw an Afghanistan in the making. And it was not very hard to follow the money sipping tea in the Sahara. Mali borders Algeria, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Senegal, the Ivory Coast and Guinea. The spectacular Inner Niger delta is in central Mali - just south of the Sahara. Mali overflows with gold, uranium, bauxite, iron, manganese, tin and copper. And ... there's plenty of unexplored oil in northern Mali.

As early as February 2008, Vice Admiral Robert T Moeller was saying that AFRICOM's mission was to protect "the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market"; yes, he did make the crucial connection to China, pronounced guilty of " challenging US interests".

AFRICOM's spy planes have been "observing" Mali, Mauritania and the Sahara for months, in thesis looking for AQIM fighters; the whole thing is overseen by US Special Forces, part of the classified, code-named Creek Sand operation, based in next-door Burkina Faso. Forget about spotting any Americans; these are -- what else -- contractors who do not wear military uniforms.


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RE: Silencing the music

Thats a very good article.

Edited to add that I found something written in a similar style, fills in some gaps, and also addresses the recent raid in Algeria on the gas plant

Here is a link that might be useful: link

This post was edited by david52 on Tue, Jan 22, 13 at 19:06


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RE: Silencing the music

Thanks, David, for the link to the article.


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RE: Silencing the music

That explains alot. The vultures are standing ready to plunder yet another Nation's resources.


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Turn it up!

  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 28, 13 at 10:47

SEVARE, Mali - Residents of Gao, northern Mali's largest city, poured out of their homes to celebrate the expulsion of Islamist fighters who had held their town for months, playing the music that had been forbidden under the militants' harsh interpretation of Islamic rule and dancing in the streets.

"Everyone is in the streets," a Gao resident, Ibrahim Toure, said in a telephone interview. "It is like a party. There is music. There are drums. It's freedom."

Elsewhere, French military officials said on Monday that Malian and French troops took control of access roads and the airport at Timbuktu, the fabled desert oasis and crossroads of ancient caravan routes, after French paratroopers backed by helicopters reinforced soldiers on the ground.

The French action, which started Sunday night, was designed to permit Malian forces to advance into the city, news reports said, but it was not clear if the Islamist forces would melt away before the advance, as they did in Gao.

With its delicate, mud-walled historic sites and labyrinth of narrow streets, Timbuktu presents challenging terrain for soldiers trying to secure the city. During the 10 months it has been under Islamist control, dire reports of destruction of the tombs of Sufi saints and other important monuments have filtered back through people fleeing the city. Timbuktu is a protected World Heritage Site, home to thousands of ancient manuscripts collected over centuries.

In Gao, east of Timbuktu, celebrations erupted as international forces trying to recapture northern Mali, which has been seized by a mosaic of heavily armed Islamist groups, deployed into the city, one of the principal militant strongholds, French officials said Sunday. Malian forces backed by French troops also advanced toward another crucial northern town: the ancient city of Timbuktu.


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RE: Silencing the music

The wackos are burning at least one of the libraries in Timbuktu as they flee.

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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RE: Silencing the music

  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 28, 13 at 11:43

7,000 year old texts burned in seconds.... the world should be weeping.


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RE: Silencing the music

Episode 6
Dreams of Kirina
For your enjoyment and enlightenment...

"The Playing For Change Foundation is building a new music school in the Village of Kirina, Mali. Kirina is a village of musicians, some of whom can trace their musical ancestry back over 75 generations! In this very special episode West African music legend Baaba Maal and friends perform for the village elders in honor of the new "Playing For Life" music school that is just beginning construction."

Here is a link that might be useful: Dreams of Kirina


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RE: Silencing the music

Yet another Bamiyan moment. But hey, knowledge is dangerous so it's all good.

There is music. There are drums. It's freedom.

YES!


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RE: Silencing the music

Oh my gosh, the loss of such library material!

Among the African troops to replace the French, are there Muslims able to relate to the people of northern Mali?


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RE: Silencing the music

Watching PBS last evening, it looks like a lot of the manuscripts were saved.

At the link, a description of where the wackos may be hiding.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tegharghar mountains


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RE: Silencing the music

The link below is an uplifting description of the positive features of Malian social networking tying many tribes and clans to the Mali experience and history, except for the desert dwellers in revolt.

Here is a link that might be useful: What�s to love about Mali? Four things.


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RE: Silencing the music

  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 22, 13 at 15:57

World Cafe on NPR a few weeks back...

Also been listening to an amazing kora player named Ballake Sissoko.


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RE: Silencing the music

Good stuff, kwoods.

I just checked, there are a buncha Ballake Sissoko free podcasts at the iTunes store.

I'm trying to find a decent utube of Malian Griot talking drums - I once heard a couple of guys doing this, you'd think there were 20 drummers, not two.


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RE: Silencing the music

snip - "Chad suffered the heaviest losses so far in the French-led campaign to drive Islamists from northern Mali after a battle in which it said 13 Chadian soldiers and 65 Islamist rebels were killed.

News of the battle came after two suicide car bombers targeted ethnic Tuareg forces in the northern town of Tessalit, killing three people.

A US official meanwhile confirmed that Washington had deployed several Predator drones to Niger to fly surveillance missions in support of French forces in Mali.

Here is a link that might be useful: link to latest news from Mali


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RE: Silencing the music

This article expands on the mention of U.S. drones in the French link: New Drone Base in Niger Builds U.S. Presence in Africa

Opening a new front in the drone wars against Al Qaeda and its affiliates, President Obama announced on Friday that about 100 American troops had been sent to Niger in West Africa to help set up a new base from which unarmed Predator aircraft would conduct surveillance in the region.

The new drone base, located for now in the capital, Niamey, is an indication of the priority Africa has become in American antiterrorism efforts. The United States military has a limited presence in Africa, with only one permanent base, in Djibouti, more than 3,000 miles from Mali, where insurgents had taken over half the country until repelled by a French-led force. [...]

“Africa Command has positioned unarmed remotely piloted aircraft in Niger to support a range of regional security missions and engagements with partner nations,” Benjamin Benson, a command spokesman in Stuttgart, Germany, said in an e-mail message on Friday.

Mr. Benson did not say how many aircraft or troops would ultimately be deployed, but other American officials have said the base could eventually have as many as 300 United States military service members and contractors.

For now, American officials said, Predator drones will be unarmed and will fly only on surveillance missions, although they have not ruled out conducting missile strikes at some point if the threat worsens.

American officials would like to move the aircraft eventually to Agadez, a city in northern Niger that is closer to parts of northern Mali where cells of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and other militant groups are operating. Gen. Carter F. Ham, the leader of the Pentagon’s Africa Command, visited the base last month as part of discussions with Niger’s leaders on closer counterterrorism cooperation.

The new drone base will join a constellation of small airstrips in recent years on the continent, including one in Ethiopia, for surveillance missions flown by drones or turboprop planes designed to look like civilian aircraft.


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RE: Silencing the music

When the Malian thing started, I listened to a press conference where the Ace Reporter asked why they didn't fly drones out of the base in Djibouti.


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RE: Silencing the music

"Abou Zeid, a top commander of al Qaeda in North Africa known for his brutality and violence, was killed by Chadian forces operating in northern Mali earlier this week, Chad’s President Idriss Deby said Friday.

snip -

A central commander in the Islamist takeover of northern Mali in 2012, Abou Zeid took formal control of Timbuktu, where he put in place a brutal form of Islamic sharia law including amputations and the destruction of historic mausoleums." end quote

its still going on.

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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RE: Silencing the music

At the link, a video clip of what the French troops are up to in Northern Mali.

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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RE: Silencing the music

"A major al-Qaeda base has been dismantled by French forces in the remote mountains of northern Mali, France's defence minister has said.

Jean-Yves Le Drian said a "very impressive" arsenal of weapons had been recovered from the site, called Ametetai, in the Ifoghas mountains.

He also said a French national fighting with the militants had been captured.

French President Francois Hollande said earlier this week French troops would begin withdrawing from Mali next month.

He said the final phase of military intervention would continue throughout March and be scaled down in April.

"We knew this part of Mali was potentially the sanctuary of AQIM (al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb), and we weren't wrong," he told Europe 1 radio from Mali.

"We're dealing with resolute and heavily-armed terrorists, who are engaging in significant fighting, and we have been able to inflict heavy damage on them."

French troops found weapons "by the tonne," he said, including AK47s, grenade launchers and pick-ups hidden in natural caves. "I hadn't expected this to such an extent," he added. - snip -

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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RE: Silencing the music

Bad news for the African peace-keeping forces backing up the inept and corrupt Malian military.


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RE: Silencing the music

  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 11, 13 at 11:53

Where is the funding for this group coming from?

"AQIM, which operates primarily in the northern coastal areas of Algeria and in parts of the desert regions of southern Algeria and northern Mali, mainly employs conventional terrorist tactics, including guerrilla-style ambushes and mortar, rocket, and IED attacks. Its principal sources of funding include extortion, kidnapping, and donations. AQIM leader Abdelmalek Droukdal announced in May 2007 that suicide bombings would become the group’s main tactic. The group claimed responsibility for...."

Tonnes of weapons sounds like more than just extortion and "donations".


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RE: Silencing the music

The primary way cocaine gets smuggled into Europe is through West Africa, but I'd thought that was more on airline flights, not across the desert. Maybe they're into that now as well.


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RE: Silencing the music

  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Tue, May 21, 13 at 14:27

"The ink of a scholar is more precious than the blood of a martyr."

Timbuktu Manuscripts still in danger...

Vieux Farka Touré - Mon Pays (My Country) due out 5/28.

You can hear clips here http://www.vieuxfarkatoure.com/

"Malian musician Vieux Farka Touré will release Mon Pays (translation: My Country) on May 28th, an album dedicated to his home country, which has been ravaged by fighting between the Tuareg people and Islamic rebels since January 2012. The nimble-fingered guitar player began planning the album before the fighting broke out, and in the time since, Touré has developed what was going to be a studio effort honoring the acoustic blues tradition of Mali into a record that pays homage to the beauty and culture of his country as a whole."


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RE: Silencing the music

At the link is an article about sneaking the Timbuktu manuscripts out of town. A major operation, funded in part by the Ford Foundation, the Dutch Gvt, etc.

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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