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Wole Soyinka Comments on the Global Response to the Situation in Mali

Of AfricaYou Must Set Forth at DawnNobel laureate Wole Soyinka has written an opinion piece for The Guardian in which he looks at what he calls the “viral mutations of the human psyche” that have produced a world in which fundamentalists, like Ansar Dine in northern Mali and Boko Haram in northern Nigeria, run rampant. He looks at the structures in place that would halt their progression and violent tactics but finds the instruments that the UN or even the AU employ, to be fatally flawed.

In noting that a former colonial power was welcomed in Mali, and was basically successful in beating back the Islamist radicals in the north, Soyinka states that this intervention is not humiliating for that country or region, but was necessary in a challenge gone global. What he finds disturbing is that for organisations in the fight against fundamentalism there seems to be a lack of urgency:

My mind, frankly, was on anything but peace as I entered the United Nations conference hall to participate in a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence event. On that same day – 21 September 2012 – yet another UN resolution had been released on the crisis in Mali. I felt overwhelmed by the ponderousness of the UN machine. That the UN, in association with African political leaders, recognised the danger posed by fundamentalist aggression to the Sahel and west Africa was not in doubt. The sense of urgency, however, lagged so far behind my own that it was a marvel I did not invade the conference hall with a banner, screaming: TAKE BACK MALI – YESTERDAY!

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