Declaration of Mrs. Mariam SANKARA for the 30th Anniversary of Thomas Sankara’s Assassination

Thomas Sankara family
Thomas and Mariam Sankara with their children (Source: MyAfricanow.com)

I can only imagine how hard it must have been for Mrs. Mariam Sankara to write this letter, and for her family as well; but to think of the joy they must have felt when Compaoré was booted out of power brings satisfaction, and not tears; to think of the joy they must have felt to know that the Burkinabe people are now rising up, and that a light might now be shed about their husband, father, son, and brother’s assassination to bring them closure. I raise my hat to them, and I thank Mariam Sankara and her entire family, for having lent us  Thomas Sankara, for our enlightenment. They made so much sacrifice while he was alive, and now that he is gone, the least we can do, is to express our profound gratitude and support: THANK YOU, and AFRICA will always be with you, and cherish the memory of one of his greatest sons, Thomas Sankara.

Below is the declaration made by Mariam Sankara on the 15 October 1987, this is from ThomasSankara.net. Enjoy!
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Thomas Sankara
Thomas Sankara a Ouagadougou

Mesdames, Mesdemoiselles, Messieurs, Chers amis,

L’assassinat du Président Sankara et de ses compagnons, le 15 Octobre 1987, a interrompu une expérience de développement originale et prometteuse de l’histoire de l’Afrique contemporaine.

Je tiens à vous remercier pour votre soutien à toute la famille Sankara et à moi-même  ainsi que pour votre fidélité à la mémoire du Président Thomas Sankara.

A travers sa politique, Thomas a défendu, en donnant lui-même l’exemple, les valeurs essentielles telles que l’intégrité, l’honnêteté, l’humilité, le courage, la volonté, le respect et la justice.  En mobilisant les différentes composantes de la société, il s’est battu, de façon acharnée, contre la dette, pour le bien être de tous les burkinabè, la promotion du patrimoine culturel burkinabè et l’émancipation de la femme. Il a incité ses concitoyens à se prendre en charge pour vivre dignement. Bref, il a refusé  la soumission au diktat des plus puissants de ce monde, a pris la défense des plus faibles et des plus défavorisés.

Imprégnés de ces valeurs et de ces idées, vous avez, à travers l’insurrection populaire des 30 et 31 octobre 2014, mis fin au régime dictatorial de Compaoré. Cette insurrection a permis au peuple de reprendre la parole pour exiger, entre autres, la fin de l’impunité, la réouverture du dossier de justice sur l’assassinat de Thomas Sankara et ses compagnons, celui de Norbert Zongo et tant d’autres.

BurkinaFaso6
Flag of Burkina Faso

La décision prise au Burkina Faso par les autorités de la transition de rendre enfin justice à Thomas Sankara a suscité un immense espoir au Burkina, en Afrique en général et dans le monde. Mais on est toujours dans l’attente de la justice.

La requête de la société civile et des familles est claire. Nous voulons connaître au plus vite les commanditaires et les exécutants de cet assassinat et ceux des autres crimes.

Retarder la quête de vérité, c’est jouer le jeu des assassins de Thomas Sankara et de ses compagnons. Ne pas rendre justice, c’est refuser une sépulture digne pour Thomas Sankara et ses compagnons, c’est empêcher les familles de faire leur deuil.

C’est la raison pour laquelle, le peuple burkinabè et ses amis doivent rester mobilisés et relancer la campagne pour que trente ans après, justice soit enfin rendue à Thomas Sankara et à ses compagnons.

Chers compatriotes, notre famille salue votre initiative visant à ériger un mémorial à la mémoire de Thomas Sankara.

Thomas Sankara and Mariam
Thomas and Mariam Sankara on their wedding day (Source: Africanglobe.net)

Nous sommes attachés, comme nombre de nos compatriotes,  à la défense et à la sauvegarde de la mémoire de Thomas Sankara. Je tiens à saluer cette initiative de la société civile, conduite par l’association CIMTS (Comité International pour le Mémorial Thomas Sankara). Ce projet de Mémorial bénéficie du soutien populaire. Une démarche consensuelle et inclusive devrait permettre de réaliser un ouvrage de qualité qui témoignera de la vitalité des idées de Thomas et de ses fidèles compagnons de la révolution du 4 Août 1983. Toutefois, la famille tient à ce que ce mémorial ne soit pas construit dans l’enceinte du Conseil de l’Entente qui rappelle de douloureux souvenirs en raison des assassinats et des tortures qui ont marqué ce lieu.

Sankara_We are heirs of the worlds revolution
“We are heirs of the revolution” by Thomas Sankara

Avec toutes ces volontés de valorisation de la mémoire de Thomas observées à travers le monde, on se rend compte avec le temps que Thomas Sankara était un visionnaire. Conscient des actions des détracteurs de la révolution, il savait qu’il était incompris parce qu’il était en avance sur son temps. Il dira alors : « tuez Sankara, des milliers de Sankara naîtront ». Ceci est devenu une réalité. On constate aujourd’hui que la jeunesse s’imprègne de ses idées progressistes pour transformer la société.

Trente après sa disparition, la pensée de Thomas reste vivante et d’actualité.

Encore une fois, je vous félicite pour votre mobilisation et pour votre fidélité à la mémoire du Président Thomas Sankara.

30 ans de résistance !

30 ans d’impunité !

Rendez enfin justice à Thomas Sankara et ses compagnons ainsi qu’à toutes les victimes des crimes impunis !

La patrie ou la mort, nous vaincrons !

Je vous remercie.

Mariam Sankara

Montpellier le 15 octobre 2017

“Misfortune to those who gag the people!” / “Malheur à ceux qui baîllonnent le people!”

Flag of Burkina Faso
Flag of Burkina Faso

This is what Thomas Sankara uttered on April 21, 1982 in opposition to the regime’s anti-labor drift: “Misfortune to those who gag the people (Malheur à ceux qui baîllonnent le peuple)”. Funny how 33 years later, general Diendéré, one of those complicit of killing Sankara himself, had to face the people’s wrath. Indeed, Diendéré‘s coup and presidency lasted 7 days: 7 days when he took and gagged the people of Burkina Faso. At the beginning of the week when he took over, many ‘international’ newspapers (as usual, supporters of coups against the liberty of the African people) were writing about him, praising him as

Thomas Sankara
Thomas Sankara a Ouagadougou

one of Compaoré‘s boys, very calm, charismatic, courageous, etc. At the end of the 7 days, after the people of Burkina Faso, backed up by their army, rose up as a single man against the ugly coup, the same newspapers were calling him a ‘stupid’ general. Diendéré thought he could gag the people again and again and again. That time is long gone, because the people of Burkina Faso have decided against it, and have said, like Sankara: “Homeland or death, we shall overcome!” I used to wonder, sadly, why the people of Burkina Faso, who had had the great Sankara, could not rise against Compaoré… well it took them 27 years to overtake the tyrannical system, but they overtook it and now they are rising as a single man! “La patrie ou la mort, nous vaincrons!”

 

 

La Patrie ou la mort, nous vaincrons! / Homeland or death, we shall overcome!

Thomas Sankara
Thomas Sankara

In view of recent events in Burkina Faso, and to continue our fight for democracy, for equal rights, for the right of a nation to choose its leaders without military/external forces dictating it, I live you with a quote by President Thomas Sankara, president of Burkina Faso. It was previously published in a “prayer for Cote d’Ivoire.” As the quote goes:

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La patrie ou la mort nous vaincrons!

Telle était la devise de Thomas Sankara, notre grand Che africain, ce grand maitre de la révolution Burkinabé, le president du Faso. Telle est la devise que nous nous devons de garder dans nos coeurs en ce moment pour le Burkina Faso: savoir que nous nous battons pour notre liberté, pour notre patrie, pour la seule terre que le bon Dieu a bien voulu nous donner! Amandla!… Ngawethu!

Flag of Burkina Faso
Flag of Burkina Faso

Homeland or death, we shall overcome!

Such was the motto of Thomas Sankara, our great African Che, this great master of the Burkinabe revolution, the president of Burkina Faso. This is the motto that we must keep in our hearts for Burkina Faso right now: to know that we are fighting for our freedom, for our country, for the only land God ever gave us! Amandla! …Ngawethu! Power to the People!

Patria o muerte, venceremos!
Tal era el lema de Thomas Sankara, nuestro gran Che de África, este gran maestro de la revolución de Burkina Faso, el presidente de Burkina Faso. Este es el lema que debemos tener en nuestros corazones para Burkina Faso en este momento: saber que estamos luchando por nuestra libertad, para nuestro país, por la tierra sólo Dios nunca nos dio! Amandla!… Ngawethu!

Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso

Pátria ou morte, venceremos!
Esse foi o lema de Thomas Sankara, o nosso grande Africano Che, este grande mestre da revolução burkinabe, o presidente do Burkina Faso. Este é o lema que devemos ter em nossos corações para Burkina Faso agora: saber que estamos lutando por nossa liberdade, para o nosso país, para a única terra que Deus já nos deu! Amandla!… Ngawethu!

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x13ne25_la-patrie-ou-la-mort-nous-vaincrons-anthologie-des-discours-de-thomas-sankara-version-1_news

“Capitaine Thomas Sankara” by Christophe Cupelin

"Capitaine Thomas Sankara" by Christophe Cupelin
“Capitaine Thomas Sankara” by Christophe Cupelin

I had to share the trailer of the documentary “Capitaine Thomas Sankara” by Christophe Cupelin, which was shown this year at the FESPACO 2015 in OuagadougouBurkina Faso. This is the first time a movie about Thomas Sankara, the African Che, could be shown at the FESPACO in 27 years since Compaore‘s coup. Enjoy!

Who/What did we Celebrate in Africa in 2014?

Beji Caid Essebsi, new President of Tunisia
Beji Caid Essebsi, new President of Tunisia

Like every year, I have to tell you about the good things that happen in Africa, and all the things we celebrated. Here are 10 of them.

1. I have to say it again: Blaise Compaore’s demotion. Blaise Compaoré was booted out of office in 2014. Thomas Sankara‘s murderer taught that he will be eternal in power, and on October 30th 2014, the people of Burkina Faso said ENOUGH!

2. Presidential Elections finally took place in Tunisia, 3 years after Ben Ali‘s toppling at the beginning of the ‘Arab Spring’, and the election of the people’s choice as president: Beji Caid Essebsi. We are glad the people of Tunisia’s choice was respected.

Some members of the South African Team - MTN Qhubeka(Source: bicycling.co.za)
Some members of the South African Team – MTN Qhubeka(Source: bicycling.co.za)

3. Mrs Catherine Samba-Panza was sworn in as interim president of the Central African Republic on 23 January 2014. She was chosen as a neutral person to lead the country of the conflict that rages in the area; she is the first woman appointed in such a position in the history of the country.

4. For the first time in the history of Cycling, there was an African team competing in a great race. 6 Africans (two Erithreans and 4 South Africans) ran in Spain for the South African team, MTN-Qhubeka.

5. Two African teams advancing into the last round of 16 at the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup for the first time in the history of the FIFA World Cup: namely, Nigeria and Algeria. Even though both teams were eliminated in the last round of 16, Algeria particularly put up a good fight against Germany (who went on to win the World Cup) and made us proud.

6. The African version of Robocop designed by two female engineers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of them being Thérèse Inza.  This is a traffic cop who regulates the traffic, and even gives tickets to the cab drivers, and those who do not want to follow the code of the road.

Lupita Nyong'o
Lupita Nyong’o

7. There were 3 Africans nominated at the Oscars in main categories this year: Chiwetel Ejiofor(Nigeria) in the ‘Best Actor’ category, Barkhad Abdi (Somalia) in the ‘Best Actor in a Supporting role’ category and Lupita Nyong’o (Kenya) in the ‘Best Actress in a Supporting role’ category. Lupita made us proud by winning the Academy Award for ‘Best Actress in a Supporting role’ for her role in 12 Years a Slave. She was also named the ‘Most beautiful Woman’ by People magazine (I never really understood that People Magazine award: as if they had searched through the 3.5Billion women in the world before giving this award!) and ‘Woman of the Year’ in Glamour, and was announced as the ‘New Face’ of Lancôme, a first for a Black woman.

8. Nigeria became Africa’s # 1 economy after rebasing its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 1990 to 2010 constant prices. Nigeria just surpassed South Africa as Africa’s top economy, and the world’s 26th largest economy.

9. U.S President Barack Obama hosts 50 African Heads of State and government officials at the historic US-Africa Leaders Summit.

George Weah
George Weah

10. George Weah, the only African to have won a FIFA World Player of the Year (in 1995) and won Ballon d’Or, won a senate seat in Liberia yesterday Dec. 29th. The 2005 presidential contender (he had won the first round of the elections then) of Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf won the senate elections against Robert Sirleaf (President Johnson-Sirleaf’s son). This was a landslide victory; it is a step forward, and progress is always to be acclaimed!

Who/what did we say goodbye to in Africa in 2014?

Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso

I have to do a recap of the year 2014. You already know that the number one person we said goodbye to was the dictator and murderer Blaise Compaoré, who was booted out of office the tail between his legs.

1. Blaise Compaoré, booted out of office in 2014. Thomas Sankara‘s murderer taught that he will be eternal in power, and on October 30th 2014, the people of Burkina Faso said ENOUGH!

2. Michael Sata, the President of Zambia, passed on in office on October 28, 2014. He was replaced by Guy Scott, the first white president (albeit interim president) of Zambia since independence.

President Joyce Banda
President Joyce Banda

3. Joyce Banda, President of Malawi, who lost the elections this year. She became president of Malawi after Bingu wa Mutharika passed away in 2012. She is succeeded in office by Peter Mutharika. She had been Africa’s second female Head of State.

4. Nadine Gordimer, South Africa’s first Nobel prize of literature, passed away at the age of 90, on 13 July 2014. She was called the one of the great “guerilla of imagination” by poet Seamus Heaney.

Lapiro de Mbanga
Lapiro de Mbanga

5. Lapiro de Mbanga, the voice of the voiceless, the great Cameroonian musician, and activist, left us this year, in March. Lapiro sang for the people, talked about the youth’s shattered dreams, the division, the tribalism, the corruption, the decadence, and the ills of the country. So long Ndinga Man!

6. Abel Eyinga and Charles Ateba Eyene, both of Cameroon, passed away. These were strong outspoken voices of Cameroon, and will forever be remembered.

7. King Kester Emeneya, the king of la Rumba, passed away on 13 February 2014. I had just recently gotten reacquainted with his music, and danced to Nzinzi again. So long King.

8. Mama Gbagbo, the mother of Laurent Gbagbo, passed away this year. Gbagbo who is currently detained by the CPI at the Hague was refused the opportunity to bury his mother. She was over 90 years old.

Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou

9. The world said goodbye to Maya Angelou in May of this year. Dr. Maya Angelou was one of the world’s best poets. My two favorite poems by Dr. Angelou are ‘Phenomenal Woman‘ and ‘Still I Rise.’ Her African roots are very deep as she was a journalist in Egypt and Ghana. Her life was an embodiment of Truth, and passion.

10. More than 160 immigrants were feared dead after a boat carrying about 200 African immigrants sank off the coast of Libya. How many Lampedusa shipwrecks are we going to have until the world realizes that feeding and destabilizing countries does not help global equilibrium?

Blaise Compaoré resigns from the office of President of the Faso

Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso

15 jours et 27 ans, après avoir fait assassiner Thomas Sankara, Blaise Compaoré est à son tour forcé ou plutot jeté dehors.  En effet, c’était le 15 Octobre 1987 que Thomas Sankara était assassiné par des hommes de Compaoré.  Donc le fameux Compaoré est tombé le 30 Octobre 2014.  Comme on le dit si bien, quiconque se sert de l’épée perira par l’épée.  Maintenant, notre voeu le plus cher est que cette révolution populaire ne soit pas confisquée par l’armée qui est constituée d’hommes de Compaoré, et des bras de la France.  Bye Bye Compaoré.

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Flag of Burkina Faso
Flag of Burkina Faso

15 days and 27 years, after having murdered Thomas Sankara, Blaise Compaoré is in his turn forced to resign or rather booted out of office.  On 15 Octobre 1987 that Thomas Sankara was murdered by men of Compaoré.  Now, Compaoré himself fell on 30 October 2014.  As it so well said, anyone who uses the sword, will die by the sword.  Now, our hope is that the people’s revolution will not be hijacked by the army who are Compaoré’s men and France’s men.  Bye Bye Compaoré.

 

May 3rd: World Press Day – Norbert Zongo

Norbert Zongo
Norbert Zongo

May 3rd marks the World Press Freedom Day, or simply World Press Day.  This day is to raise awareness of the importance of the freedom of the press and remind governments across the world to respect the right to freedom of expression.  Today I would like to commemorate the life of an African journalist hailing from Burkina Faso, Norbert Zongo, who just like the great Cameroonian journalist Pius Njawe, stood for justice and fought injustice.

Norbert Zongo was the publisher and editor of Burkina Faso newspaper L’Independant.  On 13 December 1998, Norbert Zongo was assassinated after his newspaper investigated the murder of a driver (David Ouédraogo) who had worked for the brother of the president Blaise Compaoré, François Compaoré.  Zongo’s burned body was found along with the bodies of three other people: his brother Ernest Zongo, his chauffeur Ablasse Nikiema, and Blaise Ilboudo, in a vehicle near Sapouy, 100 km from the capital Ouagadougou.  An investigation showed that Zongo was killed for political reasons.  His murder rocked Burkina Faso, and manifestations arose within the country, and neighboring countries.  The most violent manifestations took place in the city of Koudougou, Zongo’s birthplace, and government supporters organized a militia armed with clubs engaged to hunt protesters in many cities of the country.

Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso

Bowing to popular discontent, President Blaise Compaoré, had to open a judicial investigation where his brother was charged for murder and harboring the body of the victim in connection with the death of David Ouédraogo who died of torture.  The charges were later dropped by a military tribunal.  In August 2000, five members of the presidential guard were charged for the murder of Ouédraogo, were convicted and sentenced to lengthy prison terms, but all were later freed.  In seven years of trial, one suspect, a member of the presidential guard was charged, but the accusing witness later recanted.  The Zongo trial ended in July of 2006 with a non-place which caused an international outcry.

Norbert Zongo is also the writer of the book, The Parachute Drop (Le Parachutage), which was translated to English and published in 2004.  Many of his articles can be found in the review Mobutuization of Burkina Faso.

Today, Norbert Zongo is celebrated as a martyr, one who stood for truth, in a country where not many dared to talk.  This is why he should be the man of the day, for a day like World Press Day: He dared to talk, he expressed the truth to enlighten others, and sought justice for another man.  In 2003, a documentary was made to talk about his murder: Borry Bana, the fatal destiny of Norbert Zongo.  In 2012, a memorial was erected at the Highway N6 (Ouagadougou – Léo) near Sapouy, exactly where Zongo was murdered.  Please watch this video of Norbert Zongo talking to African youths.  His message is that of maintaining intrinsic values of principle, of growth, of conscience.

Témoignage sur les derniers jours de Thomas Sankara? Boukary Kaboré, le lion, raconte.

Thomas Sankara
Thomas Sankara à Ouagadougou

Le lion du BoulkiemdéBoukary Kaboré raconte ses derniers jours avec le capitaine, Président du Faso, le Che Africain, Thomas Sankara, et la largesse d’esprit de ce grand homme.  Proche de Thomas Sankara durant la révolution, le capitaine Boukary Kaboré dirigeait une des 4 regions militaires.

Dans les jours qui suivirent l’assassinat de Thomas Sankara, il refusa de faire allégeance à Blaise Compaoré.  Il refusa d’organiser une montée sur Ouagadougou arguant du fait qu’il ne voyait pas qui pouvait diriger le pays.  Ce sont finalement des militaires proches de Blaise Compaoré qui vont assaillir la ville de Koudougou procédant à un véritable massacre des militaires restés fidèles au Lion.  Il réussira à s’enfuir de justesse pour se réfugier au Ghana.

Boukary Kabore
Boukary Kaboré

Il revient longuement sur tous ces évènements.  ll raconte aussi combien il a tenté vainement de protéger Thomas Sankara qui ne voulait pas de protection (il dit si bien en parlant de Thomas: ‘comment protéger un président qui aime se déplacer à vélo?‘), les tentatives pour le convaincre de démissionner afin d’éclaircir la situation politique, comment était organisée la sécurité de la présidence, comment on a acheté un des fidèles, etc…

Regardez, écoutez, et que ceci vous apporte un élément de clarté sur la mort de notre héros, et grand ‘Che’ africain, Thomas Sankara.

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