• Revenge against French fueling conflict in Mali and Algeria
An article in The Star (Toronto) about how Mali’s conflict spilled across its borders into Algeria this past week quoted Bruce Whitehouse, a cultural anthropology professor at Lehigh University, and a Fulbright scholar who has lived in Mali.
He says: “They want to get back at the French desperately and they have a history of carrying out a tit-for-tat response when it comes to French intervention …They clearly want to portray what they’re doing as a direct and balanced response to what’s being directed against them … It will bring a lot more pressure from the United States and European governments to get involved … (It) might be a good thing from Mali’s point of view. Algeria has what’s reckoned to be the most capable military there and they have experience and they know the terrain.”
• Mali: Where music is dangerous
An opinion piece in the Cyprus Mail says that Islamic extremism is stopping the music in Mali:
“We all have a favourite album. Mine is Talking Timbuktu, the collaboration between the great Malian musician Ali Farka Tourι and Ry Cooder. Arguably it’s some of the best guitar playing you’ll ever hear. Ali died in 2006, but his son Vieux carries the sound onward, that curious mix of African soul and heart with a blues base.
“So it was with utter horror that I heard Lucy Durán, who hosts the BBC programme World Routes and teaches the anthropology of world music at SOAS (University of London), say in an emotional comment this week that one of the terrible side effects of the extreme Islamic fundamentalism now invading northern Mali is the silencing of music. Outlawed under Sharia law, all instruments, radio, CD players have been destroyed, and as Lucy chillingly said, those seen playing guitars were threatened with having their fingers cut off.”