Mali 2016

Written by  //  May 24, 2016  //  Mali  //  No comments

Malian jihadi to plead guilty in ICC cultural destruction trial
Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi will ask people of Mali for forgiveness when he admits to war crimes charges in The Hague
A Malian jihadi will seek forgiveness from his people for attacking the world heritage site of Timbuktu when he pleads guilty at an unprecedented case before an international war crimes court, according to his lawyer.
Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi will become the first person to admit to war crimes charges before the international criminal court (ICC) based in The Hague at a joint hearing and sentencing due to be held in the coming months.
He stands accused of jointly ordering or carrying out the destruction of nine mausoleums and a section of Timbuktu’s famous Sidi Yahia mosque, a Unesco world heritage site dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries.
Mahdi is the first jihadi suspect to appear before the ICC and the first person to be solely charged with war crimes for an attack on a global cultural monument.
2 May
Art of work: how Conservatoire graduates are bucking Mali’s unemployment trend
Under the guiding hand of renowned artist Abdoulaye Konaté, the Balla Fasséké Kouyaté Conservatory is improving its students’ prospects
This is a tough time to be a graduate in Mali. The uprising and military coup of 2012, together with ongoing attacks, mean tourists and foreign investors are nervous. Unless you’re an interpreter for the UN – which has more than 10,000 troops in the north – or work in the security industry, job prospects look bleak.
In a country where young job seekers aged from 15 to 39 make up about 80% of all unemployed people, one school seems to be bucking the trend. Perhaps surprisingly, it teaches art, theatre, dance and music.
“Around 60% of our students get jobs when they graduate,” says Abdoulaye Konaté, the director and founder of the renowned Balla Fasséké Kouyaté Conservatory, known as Camm or the Conservatoire.
Konaté is one of Mali’s most famous contemporary artists. …
Tiécoura N’Daou, a former student and visual artist from Mopti in central Mali, now teaches at the Conservatoire. He was recently featured in a contemporary art festival in São Paulo, VideoBrasil, and is even more upbeat than Konaté about the percentage of students who get jobs in Mali after studying at the Conservatoire.
15 April
The Librarian Who Saved Timbuktu’s Cultural Treasures From al Qaeda
A middle-aged book collector in Mali helped keep the fabled city’s libraries, books and manuscripts safe from occupying jihadists
(WSJ) A few days after the jihadist occupation began, Mr. Haidara, who worked full time as a book restorer, archivist and fundraiser, met with his colleagues at the office of the Timbuktu library association, which he had formed 15 years earlier. “I think we need to take out the manuscripts from the big buildings and disperse them around the city to family houses,” he told them, as he recalled the conversation for me two years later. “We don’t want them finding the collections of manuscripts and stealing them or destroying them.”
Months earlier, the Ford Foundation office in Lagos, Nigeria, had given Mr. Haidara a $12,000 grant to study English at Oxford in the fall and winter of 2012. The money had been wired to a savings account. He emailed the foundation and asked for authorization to reallocate the funds to protect the manuscripts from the hands of Timbuktu’s occupiers. The money was released in three days. [No government agency or NGO could have done that!] Mr. Haidara recruited his nephew, and they reached out to archivists, secretaries, Timbuktu tour guides and a half-dozen of Mr. Haidara’s relatives.
The result was a heist worthy of “Ocean’s Eleven.” They bought metal and wooden trunks at a rate of between 50 and 80 a day, made more containers out of oil barrels and located safe houses around the city and beyond. They organized a small army of packers who worked silently in the dark and arranged for the trunks to be carried by donkey to their hiding places. … By the time French troops invaded the north in January 2013, the radicals had managed to destroy only 4,000 of Timbuktu’s nearly 400,000 ancient manuscripts.
21 March
EU’s military mission in Mali attacked by gunmen
No European Union personnel injured during raid in capital Bamako which leaves at least one attacker dead
28 February
ICC’s first cultural destruction trial to open in The Hague
War crimes trial of Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi, accused of destroying mausoleums in Timbuktu, will begin on Tuesday

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