Tag Archives: revolution

The Revolution in Burkina Faso

In late October, the landlocked African nation of Burkina Faso saw the end of its president’s 27-year-long reign. A popular revolution terminated Blaise Compaoré’s term after he tried to change the constitution so that he could run for a fifth consecutive term.

Cornered by an angry mob in his presidential palace, “Beau Blaise” fled the country along with his entourage as protesters torched the National Assembly and other symbols of the old regime.

Now in exile, Compaoré is rumored to be living in luxury on the Ivory Coast. In Burkina Faso, a new transitional government has emerged, led by President Michel Kafando and his prime minister, Lieutenant-Colonel Yacouba Isaac Zida.

VICE News went to the streets of Burkina Faso’s capital of Ouagadougou in the midst of the revolution to document the final hours of Compaoré’s reign.

In 1983, Thomas Sankara, known as the Che Guevara of Africa, took power in Burkina Faso. But a few years later, he was overthrown in a French-backed coup. In his place, the French installed, Blaise Compoare. Many years have passed and he is still in power. However, it seems that his days are numbered. There is a revolution happening in Burkina Faso. Protest has been stirring for weeks as President Blaise Compoare has been trying to extend his term limits. The people won’t allow it and have taken over the TV centre and Parliament. 19 people have already been killed and an army coup is brewing. A key Western ally in the region, is the government about to fall?

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50 years ago, Frantz Fanon died of leukemia

50 years ago, the controversial Frantz Fanon died of leukemia in Bethesda, Maryland. He was 36 years old. His work includes Black Skin, White Masks and The Wretched of the Earth, one of my favorite books.

The website Pambazuka News has a couple of articles about the legacy of the Martiniquo-Algerian author.

Fifty years since the untimely death on 6 December 1961 of Frantz Fanon, he continues to have immense relevance in our times. His writings were focused on the dialectics of the colonised and the coloniser during the era of the 1960s. Whilst that era has passed, new forms of colonialism between Africa and the former colonial powers, or Africa and the developed world, now manifest in the 21st century.

Fanon had a clear grasp of the problems confronting emerging African states. The core themes pervading his radical perspective forged from his role as a scholar, psychiatrist and political activist are: The indispensability of revolutionary violence to decolonisation, class struggle in Africa, neocolonialism, alienation and his profound commitment to freedom. What he would make of the myriad socio-economic and political problems facing Africans and people of African descent today with the intellectual tools of analysis he bequeathed is the focus of this article.

[…]

If Fanon were alive today, his message would remain that it is imperative the wretched of the earth, particularly in Africa, confront the fact that class oppression in Africa comes from fellow Africans with black skins who comprise a conceited oligarchy which takes seriously its role as the intermediary of the international conglomerates plundering the continent.

Ama Biney, Fanon’s enduring relevance

Also read:

Frantz Fanon: Prophet of African liberation
by Cameron Duodu

‘Toward the African Revolution’
In the wake of Frantz Fanon

Aziz Salmone Fall
Fanon and ‘The Fact of Blackness’
Chambi Chachage

Frantz Fanon: My hope and hero
Orlando Patterson

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How to remove a dictator: guide for a successful revolution

1. Create an opposition coalition and set up a consensus agenda against the power in place. A scattered opposition will not do the job.

2. Know the enemy. Understand his alliances and strategic interests. Know the institutions the dictator controls, and the key people behind these institutions.

3. Communicate with the population, offer another source of information than state TV, press and radio. Use alternative medias such as pirate radio, Twitter, Facebook, blogs…

4. Use the dictator weaknesses. Do not focus the revolution on one place. It has to be nation-wide. Stretch the dictator military forces and weaken its resistance.

5. Use existing legal framework, and other judiciary means to guarantee the freedom of speech and press.

6. Disassemble the autocratic system and oppressive apparatus. Follow political, institutional and constitutional reforms to set up a new system allowing more freedom. Economic reforms need to happen only after these social and political changes.

 

These are, according to George Ayittey, Ghanaian economist, author and president of the Free Africa Foundation, the instruction to follow to free African countries.

The modus operandi of all dictators is essentially the same: Besides parliament, if there is one, they seize control of six key state institutions (the security forces, the media, the civil service, the judiciary, the electoral commission, and the central bank), pack them with their supporters, and debauch them to serve their interests. To succeed, a popular revolution must wrestle control of at least one or more of these institutions out of the dictator’s clutches. The game was over for Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak when the military refused to fire on civilians. Ditto in the Philippines in 1986 and Georgia in November 2003, where the security forces were charmed with roses (hence, the “Rose Revolution.”) Ukraine’s Orange revolution of November 2004 won the Supreme Court to its side and Pakistan’s Black Revolution of March 2007 had the full support of the judiciary. From The Huffington Post

In light of the recent events in Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Tunisia or even Senegal, it is interesting to hear a scholar analysis of the popular revolutions occuring throughout Africa this year. Ayittey’s new book, Defeating Dictators: Fighting Tyranny in Africa and Around the World, will be out in October. I’ll tell you more about it when it comes out.

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Will the revolution spread across the Sahara ?

A wind is blowing. It is heading south, and won’t be suppressed forever. In Ivory Coast, despite last week’s brutal attack, on the eve of International Women’s Day hundreds of women marched to the spot where their colleagues were killed, a clear demonstration that, slowly but surely, even Africans south of the Sahara will shed their fear and confront their dictatorial leaders. The women’s bravery will be an inspiration to others in Africa and elsewhere. Wangari Maathai

Read the rest here.

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