The weeks


Mali is in the news for all the wrong reasons. A democracy turned into "good old Africa" of the last century. First a coup by the military, then a split of the country in North/South. Reports of gang rapes of women by so called liberation fighters in the North. The fearsome Tuareg tribesmen on rampage. Throw in Al Qaeda, child soldiers, refugees counted in tens of thousands, kidnapping of westerners etc.

Hard to believe, but unfortunately true. I took this picture in Djenné back in 2002. At that time there were problems in the North, but nothing which stopped us from sailing to Timbuktu and later to go by road to Gao and on to Niger. That trip is a no go anymore and probably will be for years to come. NATO's support of the Libyan freedom fighters has had an unwanted turn further South. Who knew?

Somebody should have known for sure. But I guess politics and politicians are just plain short sighted now-a-days. The empire builders should all visit the optician round the corner. Or buy some very powerful looking-glasses.

Instead it is: We have the oil up here - then go fuck yourself, please. Down there in the dark Africa. I know it's not a new story or even news. But.....

I saw that the new rulers in Azawad (fyi - that's the name of the new country) have started smashing the old stuff. Sad story with these islamist not appreciating islamic culture. The shrine of Sidi Mahmoud Ben Amar was set on fire. The next goal could be Africa's oldest university in Timbuktu. Why not?

Remember Taliban blowing up the big Buddha statues in Afghanistan 2001? That seems to have started a trend which has now spread to Africa. Let's hope they will spare the Grand Mosque in Timbuktu at least.

The picture of the two old work horses was taken early morning in front of the Great Mosque in Djenné. A central place in this mud brick build town. The ambience was out of this world beautiful and soothing. The year according to the Islamic calendar was 1423. More fitting.

Have an old fashioned week, please.