, ,

Liberté, égalité, fraternité for the French only?

Amid rising anti-French sentiment in the region, a protester demonstrates against the French military in Bakamo, the Mali capital. Critics see the French presence as a neocolonial campaign © Hadama Diakite/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

An illegally occupying French soldier searches a man during an area control operation in the Gourma region during Operation Barkhane in Ndaki, Mali, July 27, 2019 [Benoit Tessier/Reuters]
One can imagine the outpouring of outrage and sanctimonious invocations of “Libertéégalitéfraternité” (liberty, equality, fraternity) if the roles were reversed and the natives of Paris were the victims of such invasive body searches by Malians in the streets of Paris. (TR)

For civilians in the developing world, without preventive, prosecution, sanction, and enforcement procedures and forces in a robust International Criminal Court against rogue states bent on rapaciously robbing their victim countries, there is no protection at all from European and other imperialist terrorists and murderers in three-piece suits and uniforms squatting and plotting their homicidal attacks driven by blood-lust and pathological and/or pecuniary calculations in remote high-tech lairs. (Thill Raghu)

A Wedding, an Airstrike, and Outrage at the French Military

“The French Army says it killed terrorists in Mali, with no collateral damage. A new United Nations report says almost all of the dead were civilians.”

French air strike killed 19 civilians at Mali wedding party, U.N. says


“BAMAKO (Reuters) -A French air strike in January killed 19 civilians and three armed men at a wedding in the remote desert of central Mali, United Nations investigators said on Tuesday, contradicting France’s account that only Islamist militants were hit.”

UN finds French strike in Mali in January killed 19 civilians; France refutes report


“On January 3, French warplanes struck near the remote village of Bounti in circumstances that sparked controversy in the war-torn Sahel state

Residents of the village said the strike hit a wedding party and killed civilians.

French air attack in Mali killed 19 unarmed civilians, UN says


A French air attack January killed at least 19 civilians at a wedding party in central Mali, United Nations investigators have said, confirming locals’ accounts and contradicting France’s version that only rebel fighters were hit.

The human rights division of the United Nations mission in Mali (MINUSMA) said on Tuesday it had visited the village of Bounti where the attack took place on January 3, analysed satellite images and interviewed more than 400 people, including at least 115 in face-to-face, individual sessions.”


The French colonial designs in Mali

France stands to benefit if Mali’s territorial integrity is pulled apart.

“France’s positive attitudes towards the rebels had geopolitical reasons, as Paris saw the MNLA as a group that could protect France’s economic interests in the region from al-Qaeda-linked fighters and any future attempts by the central government to take full control over the nation’s natural resources.

Mainstream French media is once again presenting a distorted picture of the reality on the ground. It is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the international community by focusing its reports on Mali not on the instability, violence and the threat of disintegration that is holding the country hostage, but the major “gold rush” taking place in Kidal.

In a report for Le Point, published in April this year, for example, journalist Olivier Dubois talked of the profitable “gold fever” in Kidal, without even mentioning the absence of the Malian state in the region or the French military’s ongoing occupation. 

The Malian society is aware of the neo-colonial plan afoot to divide Mali in an attempt to claim ownership of its vast resources. Images from a 2015 protest in which Malians burned the French flag and brandished posters “Holland equals MNLA” are making rounds on Malian social media once again.

The anti-France feeling is not restricted to Mali only, but it is prominent across French-speaking West Africa, with citizens frequently taking to the streets to tell Paris that they want old colonialists to leave their countries.

Just last month in Senegal, a country neighbouring Mali, activist Guy Marius Sagna, leader of a movement called “FRAPP/France degage” (the Front for a popular and pan-African anti-imperialist revolution/France clear), was arrested over a Facebook post claiming that France is psychologically preparing people in Senegal to live with the idea of a terrorist threat to legitimise its military presence on the continent.

The post that got Sagna in trouble was alluding to the example of Mali, where the presence of the French army brought nothing but more disorder and division.

Now, with CMA preparing to take over Timbuktu, the second phase of France’s neo-colonial plan to secure its access to Mali’s vast natural resources by dividing the country and weakening the central government has started. It will likely bring more violence and bloodshed to the country, but it appears this does not concern Paris which historically has shown little care for the wellbeing of Africans.


France Launches War in Mali in Bid to Secure Resources

WAR/PEACE  •  January 19, 2013  •  Roger Annis

France, the former slave power of west Africa, has poured into Mali with a vengeance in a military attack launched on January 11. French warplanes are bombing towns and cities across the vast swath of northern Mali, a territory measuring some one thousand kilometers from south to north and east to west. French soldiers in armoured columns have launched a ground offensive, beginning with towns in the south of the northern territory, some 300 km north and east of the Malian capital of Bamako.

The invasion has received universal support from France’s imperialist allies. The U.S., Canada and Europe are assisting financially and with military transport. To provide a figleaf of African legitimacy, plans have been accelerated to introduce troops from eight regional countries to join the fighting.

It is true that Islamic fundamentalists have ruled northern Mali with an iron hand since taking over in 2012. But the reasons for this latest intervention lie in the determination of the world’s imperial powers to keep the human and natural resources of poor regions of the world as preserves for capitalist profits. West Africa is a region of great resource wealth, including gold, oil and uranium.

The uranium mines in neighbouring Niger and the uranium deposits in Mali are of particular interest to France, which generates 78 per cent of its electricity from nuclear energy. Niger’s uranium mines are highly polluting and deeply resented by the population, including among the semi-nomadic, Tuareg people who reside in the mining regions. The French company Areva is presently constructing in Imouraren, Niger what will become the second largest uranium mine in the world.

Notwithstanding the fabulous wealth created by uranium mining, Niger is one of the poorest countries on earth. As one European researcher puts it, “Uranium mining in Niger sustains light in France and darkness in Niger.”

Mali (population 15.5 million) is the third-largest gold producing country in Africa. Canada’s IAMGOLD operates two mines there (and a third in nearby Burkina Faso). Many other Canadian and foreign investors are present.”