December 09, 2007

Issouf ag Maha's visit to the United States

Tuareg leader and author, Issouf ag Maha, recently visited the United States on a three week tour to deliver a series of speeches and interviews concerning the crisis in Niger, and the difficulties faced by the Tuareg people.

Oct. 27, 2007 "Struggling Around Climate Change." Global Problems, Global Solutions Forum, La Roche College, Pittsburgh, PA

Oct. 30, 2007 "Niger: Crises and Opportunities." Longwood University, Farmwood, VA. Two history professors there, Dr. Steven Isaac and Dr. Geoffroy de Laforcade, along with 20 students, had conducted a university course in Niger in Jan. 2007 that was hosted by ag Maha.

Nov. 13, 2007 WBAI Radio interview with Bill Weinberg, New York City. He discussed the threats to the Tuareg nomadic way of life, including desertification and global warming; the effects of uranium mining and militarism on the population; the music of exile and struggle; and the roots of the new Mouvement des Nigeriens pour la Justice (MNJ, Niger Movement for Justice).

Photo Credit: Zonta International. Right to left, Peggy Schmiedecke - Golden Z Chair, La Roche student, Issouf ag Maha - Mayor Tchirozenrine, Niger, Nancy Crouthamel - Club President, Geoffrey de Laforcade - Connecticut Wesleyan University; participants in the La Roche College "Global Problems, Global Solutions Forum."

Issouf ag Maha

Author, Touareg du XXIe siècle ['Tuareg of the 21st Century']

Mayor of Tchighozerine, Niger

Agronomist, specializing in development and environmental issues

Community leader and social activist, involved in humanitarian efforts

Head of Agharous Voyages, tourism agency that organizes travel for Croqu'nature and Atalante

Organizer of the Association pour le Développement Durable et la Solidarité (ADDS) and Tchinaghen, Paix et Solidarite pour le Nord Niger.


Recent interview with Issouf ag Maha:

"Bravo for France, Congratulations to Areva, Too Bad for the Tuaregs"

Issouf ag Maha discusses the socio-political and environmental difficulties presented by mining interests at Arlit [in the Aïr region north of Agadez], including 122 contracts the Niger government has awarded to several countries, particularly France and China, to exploit the uranium in Tuareg territories. Meanwhile, "The nomad population in this region was forced to leave for other lands. Wildlife has completely disappeared. The aquifers are [radioactively] polluted. The population is facing serious public health problems." The government denies that these problems exist, and refuses to discuss them with the Tuareg people. "The Tuaregs have no choice but to fight or disappear. . . . The Nigerian army, which has material support from France, China and the United States, has launched an offensive on the Aïr to reduce us to silence." Video of interview and transcription is online:

(In French, with video interview of Issouf ag Maha)

(In English)

Issouf ag Maha's recent book (Feb. 16, 2006)

Touareg du XXIe siècle ['Tuareg of the 21st Century']:

France: Grandvaux. 195 pages. ISBN-10: 2909550443

Issouf ag Maha shares his experiences and reflections on the Tuareg generation born in the 1960s, caught up in forced schooling, terrible droughts of the 1970s and 1980s, rebellions of the 1990s, and numerous coup d'etats. The world views the Tuaregs as an exotic people, but ag Maha sees the situation in practical terms, struggling with the challenges of herding in the face of global warming and seeking sustainable development for his people.

More photographs of Issouf ag Maha online:

La Roche College



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