Dear brothers of all the other communities of Mali, do not applaud the killings of your brothers

President of the Association des Ressortissants de Gabero (ARG)

Insecurity is the name that characterizes and focuses today all conversations and occupies a central place in national and even foreign strategies and approaches. This name is used to explain the murderous confrontations between brothers or neighbors who have lived together since the dawn of time. I am thinking in particular of the brothers of Kidal who are killing each other for reasons that are deeper than insecurity but take the form of collective suicide. I am also thinking of all those conflicts which are deliberately or unintentionally given an ethnic character, but which are not deep down. These include especially conflicts between the Fulani and Dogon brothers and the Bambara and Fulani, or Fulani against Tamasheq in the northeast. I do not remain silent about the threats made in Timbuktu by brothers against others during the establishment of the interim authorities.

Insecurity therefore has broad shoulders in Mali. To observe these conflicts, insecurity appears just as the consequence of something. Of what? Difficult to explain all the contours of the word according to the contexts. However, it is obvious that insecurity is caused in Kidal by several factors or reasons to which the “solvers” do not want to attack. It results in Kidal’s “bad development”, youth unemployment, the struggle for leadership or access to power, regardless of level. It is also the result of several decades of poor cooperation between the State and the people. This collaboration is made bad by the poor distribution of State services and the greed of its representatives who become a party of conflict where they must observe neutrality and judge in all logic and objectivity but above all in accordance with the law.

Traffic of any kind

We should also add to it today the different types of trafficking, the most prominent of which is that of drugs, to which several actors give themselves and which confers a hybrid character to the problem. This traffic is today the breeding ground that feeds the insecurity because the latter nourishes it. It clears the way to the most distant destinations, which naturally cannot be Mali, let alone the Sahel. This would also justify the fuss of the world around Mali and the Sahel with approximate approaches and solutions.

It would not be possible to cut all the leaves that grow without really taking care of the roots of the tree. The solution to the problems lies in the courage and the obligation to tackle the real causes of insecurity in northern Mali and the Sahel. These causes are common to all countries in the field and to the G5 Sahel and even ECOWAS. They are internal in countries under development aid infusion. Even the links between this aid and insecurity deserve further reflection and analysis. Doesn’t it also contribute to insecurity? I know this topic is sensitive, but it cannot be more than the unveiled intimacies of the populations that are among the most modest.

The solution, to avoid the transformation of simple interpersonal conflicts (breeder vs. farmer) into a community conflict, requires the State to (well) legislate for a pasture to remain a pasture and a farm remains a farm. In a word, to review the vision of development that cannot be the same for all regions. The land does not lie, but the pastures are also sacred in certain areas.

The victims of insecurity are primarily the populations, but especially those of the zones where the fighting takes place. The victims are the families of these men and children – often also women – who kill themselves every day in fighting for honor and dignity under the guise of positional conflicts. Positioning in relation to what after death? Positioning in relation to whom when all around us we see and live only desolation and sadness?

Call for the saving peace of our future

That is why I would say to the brothers who are fight each other in all the midlands of Mali, to agree to talk to each other and to draw together the future of their children. Today, they fight and are obliged to feed the orphans of their brothers who fell on the field of honor. They are obliged to do so because they are relatives, friends and neighbors, but mostly forced to live together all their lives, regardless of the outcome of the fighting. They will only be losers. Even if all powers were given to a single person, family, clan or ethnic group, they cannot be a source of pride because they are invested with the invisible layer of the soul of the dead. That is why we must make peace, that of the brave. Accept to suffer to go to this peace today, so that tomorrow your children and grandchildren can live worthily among their fellows.

Today, and for several years, there is no school nor a health center in several localities in Mali. Let alone other basic social services that can give the human being that kernel of honor and dignity. This lack of today has a very pronounced negative impact on tomorrow. Dear brothers, accept to make peace so that the prerequisites of real and balanced development can be put in place in your respective localities. Accept to silence the weapons to commit all yourselves to a better development, social justice and inclusiveness. Accept to commit yourselves to promote quality education and training so that your children can compete with those of the world, the latter having become a planetary village or even hamlet.

Dear other brothers of all the other communities of Mali, especially those of the northern regions, do not applaud the killings of your brothers; do not celebrate any group victory whatsoever! Accept to commit yourselves to the return of final peace that will come through forgiveness and the guarantees of non-recurrence of conflicts. Know that every fighter who falls on the battlefield is a brother, friend, comrade, neighbor or even ally. So your joy is that of a helpless and resigned person because you suffer from the loss of a loved one.

The history of humanity must inspire us. The history of Germany and France must inspire us. These two countries today constitute the two pillars of the political and socio-economic construction of Europe. What are the relations of the USA and Russia with Germany today? What is our own relationship with France? Let us all strive for the development of our midlands, for more justice and equity! Let us fight so that our regions cease to be regarded as the beggars of the republic. This is all the more necessary because the crisis has a visible consequence the depopulation of our regions towards others where the degree of tolerance and acceptance is sensibly touched. This should engage the people of Mali, from all regions, in order to be able to demand accountability from the supervisory authorities and their partners.

Let us define our common future today, especially that of our children before being forced elsewhere.

Abdourhamane Dicko

President of the Association des Ressortissants de Gabero (ARG)

The views expressed in the article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of