By Peter Chilson
What occurs whilst a rustic without warning splits in ? In 2012, Mali, as soon as a poster baby for African democracy, all yet collapsed in a succession of coups and countercoups as Islamist rebels claimed keep an eye on of the country’s north, making it a brand new refuge for al Qaeda. Prizewinning writer Peter Chilson turned one of many few Westerners to commute to the clash area within the following months to record stipulations at the flooring. What he discovered used to be a hazy dividing line among the doubtful, demoralized remnants of Mali’s south and the hot statelet shaped within the north via jihadist warring parties, who effectively commandeered a long-running uprising by way of the country’s ethnic Tuareg minority to show Mali right into a new frontier within the fast-morphing worldwide conflict on terror. Chilson’s definitive account -- the 1st within the new Borderlands sequence of ebooks from overseas coverage journal and the Pulitzer heart on hindrance Reporting -- is a gripping learn, taking us again to the founding of French West Africa and correct to the very entrance traces of this contentious new flashpoint.
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Extra info for We Never Knew Exactly Where: Dispatches from the Lost Country of Mali
This, too, remains unchanged. In other words, add it all up, and the unstated border policy of the two countries is: Who cares? Still, the best known modern maps of Africa, like those produced by Michelin or the National Geographic Society, show the Mali-Ivory Coast border, fine print aside, as an unassailable fact: a bold black line that runs on a jagged east-west axis, from the junction with Burkina Faso to Guinea, for about 350 miles. The line follows a drunken trajectory, as if the person holding the pen that made it suffered from tremors or acute indecisiveness.
In Bamako the chain of command had been turned inside out. An army captain was running Mali from behind a civilian president and prime minister. A mob of young men, many riding motor scooters, had recently stormed the presidential palace to show their support for the army junta by assaulting the civilian president, who then had to take a few weeks in France for medical treatment. Western journalists on the scene reported that soldiers guided the mob into the palace. In Bamako generals are under house arrest, though Dacko appears to remain above the fray.
Isaac and I visited a camp on the outskirts of Mopti, which housed 400 people who had fled Timbuktu and Douentza, most within the past few days. They represented every major ethnic group of the north: Tuareg, Arab, Songhai, Fulani, Dogon, and Bambara. When we entered the large walled compound where the Red Cross had set up tents and medical facilities, people crowded around. But when it came time for them to talk, many did not know what to say except from where they’d fled. They had little understanding of the conflict that had driven them from their homes.
We Never Knew Exactly Where: Dispatches from the Lost Country of Mali by Peter Chilson