Tuesday, January 03, 2006

History of Mali (from the perspective of Malians - 2000)

Mali was one of many nearby countries that was colonialized by the French. Although the people of Mali resisted, they were not of violent nature and didn't have the weaponry to outdo the French. The French were opressive. That is, they were firm about trying to eliminate all that made Mali so culturally rich. They, for example, told the Malians that the kora and buffalon were bad - that Malians should no longer play them. Local languages such as Bambara were also degraded, with French thrust upon the people as the "official" language.
In 1958, France "asked" the colonial countries whether they would like to be independent. Actually, it was more like a threat, and the countries were made well aware of the the negative consequences of a decision for independence. Only one country had the boldness and confidence to defy France and vote for independence. Two years later, Mali and the other colonial countries became independent. When the french left, they uprooted and took along with them hospitals and other services vital to the area. The countries were already exploited, never to be the same.

Typical of African countries, Mali is composed of many ethnic groups. Bambara, Malinke, Tuareg, Dogon and Fulani are a few of the groups in Mali. Unlike other countries (including some not so far away from Mali), the professor and griot were quick to point out that Mali's groups have not had bitter disputes and have lived in relative harmony. The professor attributed it to the fact that each group had ruled Mali at one time or another in history. There is no need or desire for revenge.

I can't wait to hear and learn more. The more I learn, the greater the level of appreciation I have for the culture.

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