I just posted the following on Bruce Whitehouse's blog article. The propaganda war against the Tuareg people is being fought by people who do not even know them - including the writer of the blog article, who is an anthropologist.
Bruce Whitehouse, you should be ashamed of yourself. You are no expert on the Tuaregs to be saying such misleading and damaging things about them, and you have grossly violated the anthropological code of ethics. No one should take anything you say seriously because it is clear that you have a lethal axe to grind on the Tuareg people, without any authority whatsoever.
The American Anthropological Association (AAA) Code of Ethics says anthropologists have an obligation toward vulnerable populations, to carefully weigh the consequences of what they claim about them. Your statements about the Tuareg people demonstrate your partisan bias against them, at a time when people of Tuareg identity are at high risk for genocidal attacks, in a very sensitive geopolitical situation that is dangerously impacting them. You are in flagrant default of the AAA Code of Ethics and you should be ashamed of yourself for making claims and arguments that are damaging to the Tuareg people. You owe an apology to the hundreds of thousands of Tuareg people that you have disrespected at a time when they are fleeing racialized hatred and genocidal attacks. Your words have added to the propaganda and hatred against the Tuareg people.
For you to say that In Kati, the burning of Tuareg homes wasn’t discrimination, it was “a misunderstanding” is a gross misrepresentation of what happened at Kati. The streets filled with mobs of people screaming “Death to the Tuaregs!” The Tuareg people were chased, robbed, and had their homes burned, and hundreds of thousands of Tuareg people have fled the visceral hatred and horrific abuses against them in Mali. A year later, they are still refugees, having lost their homes and livelihoods. What happened at Kati is emblematic of the abuses and atrocities that Tuareg people have suffered for the past 53 years. Your attempt to softpedal the ethnic hatred that has motivated the government of Bamako and people in the south is insulting and damaging to the Tuareg people. In soft-pedaling the ethnic hatred, you are showing your support for it.
You have tried to shut up the Tuaregs who have posted on your blog, telling them (in French) to keep their opinions to themselves, while at the same time blathering your own racist opinions against the Tuareg people. Tuareg voices have been shut up for much too long. They are indeed “coming out of the woodwork” – your choice of words, a pejorative usage for disgusting things like bugs that “come out of the woodwork.” Your words constitute propaganda against the Tuareg people, and your attempts to shut them up are utterly disgraceful for an anthropologist. The Tuaregs are not bugs, and they are beginning to have their voices heard by speaking out against unjust propagandists such as yourself. You insulted one Tuareg who attempted to write in imperfect English, and claimed you could not understand him – but it is plenty clear that the Tuareg writer is bringing his own argument to bear on your damaging words.
It’s true that you are “no expert on the Tuareg,” and you should not be making arguments against them. You are unable to bring clarity to the problems facing the Tuareg people, and you have no authority whatsoever to be making the claims you are making against them. As an anthropologist, you have exceeded the limit of ethnocentrism and you are actively promoting perspectives that are damaging to a vulnerable ethnic group that you do not even know well enough to discuss responsibly.
-- Barbara A. Worley, Ph.D. (Columbia University) - Anthropologist and Tuareg specialist for forty years
March 01, 2013
I just posted the following on Bruce Whitehouse's blog article. The propaganda war against the Tuareg people is being fought by people who do not even know them - including the writer of the blog article, who is an anthropologist.
Posted by Tanat at 8:02 AM
February 20, 2013
© Copyright Barbara A. Worley 2013
Posted by Tanat at 8:29 PM
February 17, 2013
2. The MNLA is asking for the immediate opening of negotiations with the Government of Mali, to lay down the conditions for the exercise of authority, administration, and development in Azawad.
3. The MNLA is requesting the appointment of a neutral mediator, one who is internationally recognized, and accredited by both parties [MNLA and Mali].
4. The MNLA does not take issue with the internationally recognized borders of Mali, while clearly keeping in mind that Azawad exists as an entity.
5. The MNLA recalls that on the eve of the independence of the Sudanese Republic, which is now the Republic of Mali, the populations of Azawad joined Mali's independence but wanted respect for their cultures and their dignity.
6. Given our commitment to peace, the MNLA is requesting the participation of France, the United States of America, United Nations, European Union, African Union, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, as observers in the negotiations with Mali.
7. The MNLA reaffirms its commitment to the International Declaration of Human Rights, the Charter of the United Nations, and fundamental freedoms.
8. Considering the poverty, abandonment, and contempt in which populations of Azawad have always been kept within Mali, the MNLA is asking for aid and development for Azawad:
a. Health services (clinics and hospitals)
b. Water and electricity
c. Food aid - the population urgently needs food
d. Reopening the schools throughout Azawad, and support for students to take up their studies again
e. The MNLA is asking for amelioration of the degraded living conditions of refugees and displaced populations, and help for them to return quickly to their homes and pasture sites.
9. The MNLA is asking for the appointment of a coordinator approved by both parties [MNLA and Mali], to restore these basic services in Azawad, and to establish effective procedures to ensure transparency in the management of funds, to avoid corruption and nepotism.
10. The MNLA maintains its commitment to fight against terrorism and assumes its share of responsibility in this fight, according to its means.
11. The MNLA does not accept a Malian military presence in areas under its control before the end of negotiations. The MNLA favors a political solution to the issue of Azawad.
12. The MNLA wants to draw the attention of the international community to the many abuses that have recently been committed in areas occupied by the Malian army. The MNLA supports the request of Human Rights Watch to start an independent international commission of inquiry into these recent human rights abuses. The MNLA is also asking for the opening of an independent international investigation to shed light on the crimes committed by the Malian army from 1963 to the present day among the populations of Azawad.
13. The MNLA denies any responsibility for the sad events in Aguelhoc in January 2012, and is eager for the establishment of an international commission of inquiry to establish the facts surrounding Aguelhoc. The MNLA is willing to contribute to a search for the truth of what happened at Aguelhoc.
Posted by Tanat at 6:27 PM
Saturday, February 16, 2013 8:35 p.m.
Since the beginning of “Operation SERVAL” in Azawad, the MNLA has continued to bring to public awareness the rights of civilian populations who are facing an outpouring of vengeance that is animating the Malian military and local politicians who are returning to Timbuktu and Gao. These "returnees" are trying to galvanize feelings of vengeance among the local populations.
The National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad (MNLA) reminds the national and international community that it must remain committed to the principles of international law regarding the protection of civilians.
October 22-27, 2012 – Sokolo[i]:
Eight (08) Tuareg pastoralists were abducted and executed in a camp not far from Diabali in the region of Ségou. Additionally, other abuses were committed against a nomadic camp between Sokolo and Nara in the middle of that week. We were told about Malian soldiers entering the nomad camp, and leaving with the men, as well as their vehicles and numerous sheep, on the eve of the feast of Tabaski. It is this same Diabali army barracks which was already implicated in the massacre of 16 Muslim preachers the previous month [September 9, 2012].
On November 28, 2012, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon[ii] expressed his concerns about the risk of military intervention in Mali, and he asked the UN Counsel to ensure that the African forces will respect human rights before giving the green light to its implementation. The concerns of the Secretary General of the UN have now proven a reality that must be addressed.
At the beginning of 2013, during a press conference on Tuesday, January 22, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon[iii] welcomed the "courageous" intervention of France in Mali. Ban Ki-moon has continued to warn repeatedly about the risks of this humanitarian intervention. UN resolution 2085[iv] advises a political process to resolve the conflict. This resolution should allow for negotiations with the movements that have severed all ties with terrorist organizations. The MNLA has always distanced itself from such groups and has refused any compromise with them.
Despite appeals to the UN and NGOs, the Malian authorities have turned a blind eye to these very troubling crimes.
IN THE REGION OF MOPTI
Human Rights Watch[v] reports, February 1, 2013: "Malian government forces summarily executed at least 13 suspected Islamist supporters and forcibly disappeared five others from the garrison town of Sévaré and in Konna during January 2013.... Islamist armed groups in Konna executed at least seven Malian soldiers, five of whom were wounded, and used children as soldiers in combat.”
According to the Testimony of relatives and neighbors gathered by Human Rights Watch, “Another witness said that on January 22, Malian soldiers took a well-known religious leader from the village of Gnimi-Gnama while he was preparing for prayer. Five days later, his bloated body was found a kilometer away…. Between January 9 and 18 in Sévaré, Konna, and surrounding villages, Malian soldiers also allegedly forcibly disappeared five men, mostly ethnic Peuhl [Fulani].”
Amnesty International[vi] has received several reports indicating that members of the Malian army have committed extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances on January 10 and 11. More than 20 civilians have been arrested in the streets or at the bus station in Sevaré. Bodies were thrown into a well in the neighborhood of Waïludé.
The International Federation of Human Rights[vii] has warned the international community that the situation requires concerned parties to react in order to avoid further reprisals and serious intercommunal tensions. Responding to this information, the French Minister of Defence appealed to the Malian army to be "extremely vigilant" against the risk of abuse. "The army must be irreproacable, and there can be no question that we will sanction any actions that we would reproach for the terrorists," the Malian government said in a statement, but all of that remains empty talk.
The Malian army’s vengeance that was predicted before Operation SERVAL began has thus ensued and continues to come to the knowledge of the national and international community – but no perpetrator has been arrested.
These last two months have seen the fury of the Malian army, unable to accept its earlier defeat in Azawad, which is now attacking unarmed civilians – and there is no help from anyone to assuage the Malian army’s hatred. The Malian army’s abuses and extra-judicial summary executions have continued – under the gaze of a disillusioned international community that is reluctant to express any outrage at the horrors.
According to Russia Today[viii] correspondent Gonzalo Wanchad:
“Concerning the number of victims, the Russia Today correspondant cites the example of a specific case of 25 villages that constitute the Malian district of Konna. "The final outcome of the liberation effort is certainly deplorable. According to our survey, the French Air Force reported killing only two rebels. But it is the civilian population that paid the heaviest price for liberation: 14 civilians were killed by French bombs.” (Watch the video[ix]).
Olivier Herviaux[x], international journalist, reports:
In the region of Niono other witnesses hve described abuses carried out by the Malian army. The victims include two cousins, Aboubakrim Ag Mohamed, a marabout and farmer aged 37, and Samba Ag Ibrahim, a shepherd aged 50, who were killed at Ceribala, 40 kilometers from Niono on Friday, January 18, 2013.
Edifying Testimony offered by Hadija Minetou on BellewarMedia[xi]:
Translation [from Arabic]: She [an elderly woman, Menatou] arrived at the refugee camp of M'bera east of Mauritania. She was a refugee looking for a safe place, after leaving her two sons in the city after the outbreak of the war. Menatou just recently had information confirming that traitors had taken her sons. The Sahel news agency had this conversation with her: It was a very moving debate, she remembered with sadness, with her two sons and a brother she had left in the Mopti region after being forced to leave. She lost track of their news, and then she learned that they were brutally killed. She was crying, saying: We belong to God and to Him I will return; I swear they were all killed. This elderly woman has not been able to sleep since she had lost contact with her sons and her brother. She experiences extremely difficult moments when she tries to talk about it; she remembers that this war is entering s phase of ethnic cleansing and she wants to know how to save the innocent civilians from this tragedy. This is the story of Aminatou [Menatou], a widow seeking refuge, who spent 10 days on the road between Mopti and Toumbouctou braving difficulties, traumatized by the pain of having been forced to abandon her sons and her brother, whose executioners have no mercy! Who can help her?
IN THE REGION OF TIMBUKTU
The information we collected through our surveys, among witnesses and family members of the victims, all reveal that there is a manhunt for "Tuaregs." When Timbuktu and Gao were re-taken by Malian and French armies supported by [Hadj Gamou’s] troops from Niger, it was followed by looting, theft, and vandalism against the inhabitants and their property.
At Timbuktu, as of February 6, 2012:
Mohamed Ould Tijani, along with others whose bodies have not yet been identified – killed by the Malian army and their Gandakoy militia.
One of the most recent atrocities against Tuareg and Arab civilians occurred on Febuary 14, 2012, in Timbuktu. In circumstances that remain to be determined (no independent observer was on site), the Malian army arrested Eljimite Ag Khaked (age 56) and his son Biga Ag Eljimite (age 19). Soon after, the bodies of the two victims were found outside the city.
At Douenza – Ould Douchy
At Gossi – February 10, 2012, Imam Mohamed Issouf Ag Attayoub and another person whose name is not yet known.
At Léré – January 15, 2012, the following ten people were killed by the Malian army:
1. Moctar ag Barha
2. Oumar ag Ayaye
3. Ibrahim ag Mossa
4. Ibrahim ag Halay
5. Mohamed Balla ag Intamalou
6. Humaydi ag Intahana
7. Abdallah ag Matta
8. Mohamed ag Souka
9. Iskaw ag Alkher
10. Amaha ag Elmahdi
In the town of Gossi and around it, the Malian army is blamed by both reporters and witnesses. The number of missing persons [“disappearances”] is estimated at more than 32 according to eyewitnesses who observed their arrests at Gossi. Among these were children and elderly people. The Malian army is hunting for "red skins," as the soldiers and their guides say. The 11 names that have been reported among the 32 are either the exact identities of these individuals or else pseudonyms, according to rapporteurs. They were executed a few kilometers from the town, along a pond known as "Ebang I Mallane."
IN THE REGION OF GAO
In the region of Gao, at Tagarangabote (circle Ansongo, site of the latest clashes between MUJAO and MNLA), the Malian army detained the entire population at a well, and 22 motorcycles were confiscated from their owners and burned. One man was robbed of his 4/4 vehicle and his satellite phone, then forcibly dragged to Ansongo. In the city of Gao there were also abuses and executions. We note that in each of the towns and villages mentioned here, the Malian army systematically forced people to evacuate their homes, and confiscated their property, ransacking what little was left in the hands of the families.
People reported “disappeared”:
1. Alkhalifa Haidara
2. Bada Lamina Ould Taher
3. Checkou Kunta
4. Ahmed Ould Bakaye
5. Med Aly
6. Aboubacrine Ag Ayouba (14 years)
7. Bachir Ould Hammar
8. Fassil Kountam
9. Aghaly Ag Sidi
10. Abdourazack Ould Yahia
11. Mohamed Ag Issouf
At Toya: Med Ag Atiyoub, and his brother Abdallah Ag Attiyoub
At Bonus: Oumar Ag Koukou
At Nara: National Guard Sergeant Chief Arby ould Chaibani
At Kati: Sergeant Wani Ould Oumar
At Timbuktu: Aly Ould Khabadi, a merchant in the Abaradjou neighborhood (Thursday, 14 February)
At Timbuktu: Akassam Ag Himna
Many summary executions have taken place, but the details of names and data could not be obtained for all of them, because of the pressure on civilians and the hunt for “light-skinned” people.
We note that in each of the towns and villages mentioned above cons, the Malian army engaged in systematic excavations of homes, involving a rampage of confiscation and looting of the families’ property.
As Mr. Hama Ag Mahmoud, a member of MNLA, announced in October 2012, Bamako must react quickly, very quickly and take clear measures: "Mali must provide evidence that there is a government which oversees the country. We expect an investigation and especially some action. We want evidence of sanctions – not military sanctions but criminal sanctions.”
The MNLA is concerned about the impunity of these crimes against the civilian population of Azawad, throughout all this conflict (1963-2012) with Mali, and the fact that the perpetrators continue to be political and military actors of Mali who are not subject to any legal proceedings.
International human rights, and people’s rights during war, applies to all armed parties in the Malian conflict. These laws include Common Article 3, common to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, Protocol II of the Geneva Conventions, and the customary laws of war. Common Article 3 and Protocol II specifically prohibit the killing of captured combatants and civilians in detention. Individuals who deliberately commit serious violations of the law of war may be prosecuted for war crimes.
For this purpose the MNLA, calls National and International jurisdictions to shed light on Mali and that the perpetrators (civilian and military) of massacres of the people of Azawad must be placed under arrest and brought before the International Courts including the International Criminal Court, which has opened an investigation into the situation in Mali.
Given all of our warnings that were not heeded, and having witnessed the genocide of the 1990s, the opening of a Special Tribunal for Mali is an absolute necessity to shed light on any abuses that took place from 1963 to the present. The MNLA recalls that war crimes committed by any belligerent must be taken into account and punished under the Geneva Convention of 1949.
Moussa Ag Acharatoumane
Human Rights Officer of the CTEA
Posted by Tanat at 1:21 PM
There have been 200 extrajudicial executions of Azawad civilians by the Malian army since the beginning of the French intervention!
The Malian army has executed or abducted more than 200 civilians, mostly Tuaregs and Moors, between 11 January and 15 February 2013 in the wake of the French intervention. This figure is 15 times higher than the number of crimes committed by the Malian forces during the three months that were spent in clashes between the Malian army and the MNLA (January-March 2012).
Therefore, the ARVRA association expresses its deep concern and, to its amazement, the face deafening silence of the French and Malian authorities in the killing of innocent civilians since January 11, 2013. We recall that these people have also been living under the yoke of the obscurantist [Islamist/jihadist] forces and suffered their abuses.
We are urging France to address Mali concerning these massacres without delay – directly and officially – to cease and desist these atrocities, and to have the perpetrators arrested. The presence of French troops on the ground in Mali and Azawad suggests that it is possible, necessary and indispensable for France to take action.
February 16, 2013
Abdourahmane AG Mohamed Elmoctar
President of ARVRA
Posted by Tanat at 9:36 AM
February 16, 2013
Wednesday/Thursday, February 13-14:
Posted by Tanat at 5:31 PM
Click on the map below to see location of Léré, near the Mauretanian border.
Posted by Tanat at 4:20 PM
By Intagrist El Ansari, Correspondant in Mauritania
Like fifteen thousand newcomers to the refugee camp at M'béra, in Mauritania, two Tuareg men, Ali and Ousmane, had to leave their nomad camp, which is located at a place called Taqinbawt (45 km west of Timbuktu). They are brothers, shepherds, and nomads from a Tuareg tribe claiming Sharifian descent. They lived in a camp of two hundred people and had never before gone into exile, "even during the 1990s rebellion (of the Tuaregs)," when the entire area was emptied of its inhabitants. At that time, their community of religious clerics had determined at all costs to remain in their pasture space, between the arms of the Niger River and a desert zone further north, which is habitable in the dry season.
Ousmane Ag Mohamedoun, the older brother, explains: "We are committed to peace. It's been a year now that we have lived in a very precarious situation. So when we saw that our area was emptied of its inhabitants and we heard that the Malian army had returned to the region targeting people with "fair complexions" (Tuaregs and Moors, who are numerous among the jihadists), killing people before throwing them into wells, we realized that we no longer had any choice but to leave.”
In the back of a truck
On January 25th, the men of the camp found a truck on the road from Timbuktu to Léré and they jumped at the chance to remove their last families to Mauritania; the women and children cannot go such a long distance on foot. At the refugee camp, they would be able to find those who had already left. They wanted to leave "before it is too late or the roads close completely," explains Ali Ag Mohamedoun, 35, the youngest. He added sadly: "We have entrusted our livestock to a shepherd who will lead them to the Mauritanian border; it will take several weeks."
The whole camp boarded the transport truck. Nomads huddled in the back were heading westward, those in front were headed toward Niafunké, slightly south – a route that’s less sandy for this heavily-laden truck. They arrived the next day, Saturday, January 26 at Léré, where the Malian army had just arrived from Diabali. Although the truck was carrying mostly women and children, it was stopped in the center of town by the military.
"Two soldiers boarded the truck to search our things and point their weapons at the women to intimidate us," said Ali. The Malian soldiers ordered the six adult men off the truck. "They lined us up, pointing their rifles at us. There was also a vehicle armed with a mortar facing us. They told us to raise our hands and keep our heads down," says Ousmane, the elder. "We were being watched by the local residents, who were mostly ethnic Songhay (Editor's note: the Songhay are traditional enemies of the Tuareg in the region). “They all shouted: ‘Kill them,’ even though we did not know them" he says, still trembling at the memory.
Ethnic tensions are very high in the region, exacerbated by poverty, underdevelopment and ignorance of local history, which has seen different hegemonic orders emerge in different eras; each ethnic group - Tuareg and Songhay – has had its time of dominance in the region of contact between the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa. The Songhay Ganda Koy militia, who had attacked civilians during the Tuareg rebellion of 1990, had returned to service. The Ganda Koy militia attacked the Tuaregs and Moors at Timbuktu, Goundam, and Léré, ransacking houses and shops belonging to those of "fair complexions" accused of being close to the Tuareg rebels and jihadists who had taken control of North Mali. An overwhelming majority of Tuaregs and Moors, particularly traditional leaders, reject religious radicalism, however, and do not associate themselves with the speech and attitude of the rebel Tuaregs.
While the inhabitants of Léré cheered, Ousmane, Ali and their companions were mistreated and "driven out of the city," before the eyes of their wives and children, who were totally helpless.
"Those who are stronger than you will attack you and kill you without scruple," exclaimed Ali Ag Mohamedoun. "Once out of the city, the Malian soldiers pulled off our head coverings, and made us remove our tunics. We suffered all sorts of intimidation and humiliation," he said with difficulty. "From nine in the morning until two in the afternoon."
"Their high commander left, ordering his men to watch us. Everyone of us had a gun pointed at his forehead. They told us: 'You thought you were going to escape. I recognize you, you are with the Islamists, with rebels. You’ll see what’s going to happen to you today," says Ousmane.
This happened while the Malian and French armies were en route to Timbuktu. "Suddenly, we saw a helicopter flying above us, very close to our heads, twirling on all sides. The soldiers consulted with each other. One of their leaders left in a vehicle, and returned a few minutes later accompanied by their high commander and other vehicles filled with soldiers. The superior officer then ordered his men to take us back to town and liberate us,” said Ousmane. "The grace of God was with us that day. However, they had all intentions of executing us, and we had lost all hope of remaining alive." According to these Tuaregs, the helicopter "must have been French because we had passed them when we were entering the city and they were leaving Léré."
Upon return to their frightened families, the six men found that their luggage had been stolen or vandalized. "But the important thing was to be alive."
Posted by Tanat at 8:52 AM