The coup d’etat which just happened a little over 2 weeks ago in Burkina Faso on September 30, 2022, marks the need for Burkinabe and Africans in general to be in charge of their own destinies. We have the land, we have the resources, we should be in charge of our own destiny. We can no longer be ‘partners’ (more like slaves) to a master (France and the West) which takes all our resources while leaving us dirt poor. We deserve dignity, and are going to reclaim our territories, in the case of Burkina Faso or Mali, territories stolen by terrorists armed by foreign powers; we are going to reclaim our resources, and more importantly reclaim our lives, and our futures. As we mark the35th anniversarysince the murder of Thomas Sankara, president of the Faso, his widow Mariam Sankara gave a speech which can be found in its entirety onThomasSankara.net. I have translated parts of it. Enjoy!
Once again, I would like to thank you all for your support before and during this first part of the trial. My thanks go to the family lawyers, to the organizers of the “fight against impunity, justice for Thomas Sankara” campaign, to militant Africa in general, to the associations of Burkina, to the Diaspora, to the people of Burkina Faso and to the friends from Burkina Faso.
However, we must know that our struggle is not over. …
.. Burkina, as we all know, is going through a serious period in its history due to the destabilization imposed on it by terrorists supported by shadow forces. These forces want to wipe our country off the map of the world. This project is unacceptable.
We must all opt for the support of our security forces, the families of the victims and those displaced by war, who number in the thousands.
Admittedly, we must rely on our own strengths, but it is imperative that we call on honest and credible partners, if necessary.
May Burkinabè patriotism serve as a compass for the final victory against terrorism, for social cohesion and for the prosperity of our country.
On Wednesday 06 April 2022, a court in Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso (Who killed Thomas Sankara? The Trial starts in Burkina Faso) has found the former president Blaise Compaoré guilty of the murder of president Thomas Sankara. In reality, it was no secret that Compaoré had killed Sankara, his former friend and companion of arms. We all knew who did it, but during Compaoré’s 27-year reign, Sankara’s demise was taboo, plus the French government’s complicity in it did not help either. Given that Compaoré is now in exile in Ivory Coast, the condemnation is in absentia, and the sentence is life imprisonment. Two of Compaoré’s former top associates, Hyacinthe Kafando and Gilbert Diendéré, were also sentenced to life imprisonment. Compaoré will probably never set foot in Burkina Faso again, especially given that as the coward that he is, he now has Ivorian nationality so as not to get extradited. It took over 34 years to begin to bring some sense of closure to the family of Thomas Sankara and to all of us. Sankara’s widow, Mariam Sankara said at the courthouse, that she was relieved, and stated, ” … the people of Burkina Faso and the public opinionknow now who is Thomas Sankara, … the man, … the politician, … what he wanted and what those who assassinated him wanted too.”
This is a monumental decision not just for Burkina Faso, but for the whole of Africa. It also shows that we, Africans, do not need the Hague Court to judge our own, and that we can make correct decisions. As such the lawyer for the Sankara family, Guy Hervé Kam stated to Reuters, “Today I am very proud to see the culmination of a legal battle of almost 30 years, proud to have a country where justice works.”
Burkina Faso’s former President Blaise Compaoré has received a life sentence in absentia for his role in the assassination of his charismatic predecessor, Thomas Sankara.
Sankara, 37, was gunned down along with 12 others during the 1987 coup d’état that brought Compaoré to power. The pair had been close friends and had jointly seized power in 1983.
Sankara remains a hero for many across Africa because of his anti-imperialist stance and austere lifestyle. …
He was shot in the chest at least seven times, according to ballistics experts who testified during the trial.
… the verdict was greeted by applause in the courtroom following the six-month trial that came after years of campaigning for justice by his family and supporters.
… However, there is little prospect that Compaoré will serve his sentence any time soon. He has lived in exile in Ivory Coast since he was removed from office following mass protests in 2014, and has taken up Ivorian nationality. He previously denounced the trial by a military court as a political sham. …
Ten others were also found guilty, including Compaoré’s security chief Haycinthe Kafando, who was accused of leading the hit squad that killed Sankara. He has been on the run for several years and was also tried in absentia. He too received a life sentence. They had both denied the charges.
Gilbert Diendéré, one of the commanders of the army during the 1987 coup and the main defendant who was actually present at the trial, was also sentenced to life. He is already serving a 20-year sentence for a coup attempt in 2015.
… Eight other defendants received sentences ranging from three to 20 years, while three defendants were acquitted.
We all know who killed Thomas Sankara… and we all know that it was an international affair with Blaise Compaoré at the center, France, Felix Houphouet-Boigny of Cote d’Ivoire and even Liberians… we all know… but with all the cover-ups, and the powerful owing the justice, will we, citizens of Burkina Faso and Africa ever get justice for Thomas Sankara and his family? Well, the trial started this past Monday in Ouagadougou, without the main actor Blaise Compaoré, the coward previous president of Burkina Faso who got Ivorian citizenship to avoid getting extradited to face his crimes against the people of Burkina Faso… really a coward… how could someone like that have ever governed people? Excerpts below are from the BBC. Enjoy!
Thirty-four years, almost to the day, since the shocking killing of Burkina Faso‘s then President, Thomas Sankara, 14 men are going on trial, accused of complicity in the murder of the man known as “Africa’s Che Guevara”.
The charismatic Pan-Africanist was shot dead aged 37 by soldiers during a coup on 15 October 1987, which saw his close friend, Blaise Compaoré, come to power.
Four years previously, the pair had staged the takeover which saw Sankara become president.
Mr Compaoré is among the 14 accused but he is currently in exile in neighbouring Ivory Coast, where he fled after being forced to resign during mass protests in 2014. He has repeatedly denied involvement in Sankara’s death and is boycotting the trial.
“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” the former president’s widow Mariam Sankara told the BBC. “I want to know the truth, and who did what.”
Sankara remains something of an icon across Africa – … across the continent in South Africa, radical opposition leader Julius Malema cites him as one of his inspirations.
Today, I have translated Mariam Sankara‘s declaration on the day of the 30th-year anniversary of the death of her husband, the president of the Faso, the great revolutionary Thomas Sankara.
Very often we forget women’s contributions to revolutions, history acts as if these men had been all alone. If Mariam Sankara had not been home to take care of their two children, to take care of Thomas when he got home after a hard day, do you think we would have had a revolution? If Winnie Mandela had not carried on the battle, do you think the world would have known about Nelson Mandela? Maybe not… because during those 27 years while Nelson was living a ‘somewhat’ cozy life in prison, Winnie was being jailed, attacked, harassed, beaten to death, had to run to exile several times, but she kept his name high up. Now, today, history chooses to only count his contributions, forgetting hers!
The assassination of President Sankara and his companions on October 15, 1987, interrupted an original and promising development experience in the history of contemporary Africa.
I would like to thank you for your support to the whole Sankara family and to me as well as for your loyalty to the memory of President Thomas Sankara.
Through his policy, Thomas defended, by giving the example himself, essential values such as integrity, honesty, humility, courage, will, respect and justice. By mobilizing the various components of society, he fought hard against the debt, for the well-being of all Burkinabé, the promotion of Burkinabé cultural heritage and the emancipation of women. He urged his fellow citizens to take care of themselves to live with dignity. In short, he refused submission to the diktat of the most powerful in this world, took the defense of the weakest and most disadvantaged. Impregnated with these values and ideas, you have, through the popular uprising of October 30 and 31, 2014, put an end to the dictatorial regime of Compaoré. This insurrection has allowed the people to take back the floor to demand, among other things, the end of impunity, the reopening of the justice file on the assassination of Thomas Sankara and his companions, that of Norbert Zongo and many others.
The decision taken in Burkina Faso by the transitional authorities to finally bring justice to Thomas Sankara has generated immense hope in Burkina, in Africa in general and in the world. But we are still waiting for justice.
The request of the civil society and families is clear. We want to know as soon as possible the sponsors and the executors of this assassination and those of the other crimes.
To delay the quest for truth is to play the game of the assassins of Thomas Sankara and his companions. To do no justice is to refuse a dignified burial for Thomas Sankara and his companions, it is to prevent families from mourning.
That is why the people of Burkina Faso and their friends must remain mobilized and relaunch the campaign so that thirty years later, justice is finally done for Thomas Sankara and his companions.
Dear compatriots, our family welcomes your initiative to erect a memorial to Thomas Sankara.
Like many of our compatriots, we are committed to the defense and safeguarding of Thomas Sankara’s memory. I would like to salute this initiative of the civil society, led by the association CIMTS (International Committee for the Thomas Sankara Memorial). This Memorial project enjoys popular support. A consensual and inclusive approach should allow to realize a quality work which will testify to the vitality of the ideas of Thomas and his faithful companions of the revolution of August 4, 1983. However, the family wants this memorial not to be built in the enclosure of the Council of the Entente which brings back painful memories because of the assassinations and the tortures which have marked this place.
With all these wishes for the valorization of the memory of Thomas observed around the world, one realizes with the time that Thomas Sankara was a visionary. Aware of the actions of the critics of the revolution, he knew he was misunderstood because he was ahead of his time. He said back then: “kill Sankara, thousands of Sankara will be born”. This has become a reality. Today, we see that the youth is immersed in its progressive ideas to transform society.
Thirty years after his death, Thomas’s thought remains alive and of actuality.
Once again, I congratulate you on your commitment and your loyalty to the memory of President Thomas Sankara.
30 years of resistance!
30 years of impunity!
Finally bring justice to Thomas Sankara and his companions and to all the victims of unpunished crimes!
Very often history books suffer from amnesia: they forget women’s contributions to revolutions. History acts as if the men had been all alone, as if only men were there, as if only men stood against injustice.
When people talk of the struggle for independence in Africa, and around the world, only the great men are cited. As one browses from country to country, only men are cited, as if women had been silent spectators. Do you think apartheid would have collapsed without the critical and vital input of women? Do you think without Winnie Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s name would have been anchored in our heads today? What do you think these women were doing while their husbands were in prison? History wants us to think that they were ‘just’ raising children as if that was not an enormous contribution already, but in the case of Winnie Mandela and countless others, they took up the fight, and were jailed, harassed, beaten, and humiliated by the system (some were even raped). Yet today, the world acclaims only the men! And when a woman raises too strong a voice, then she is vilified, told that she acts like a man, or is an ‘angry’ woman. How could you face injustice day after day, and just keep quiet? There comes a time when, as Bob Marley says, “You can fool some people some time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time…” people will rise up!”
I am so sick of the saying, “behind every great man, there is a great woman.” I think it is again quite sexist, and should rather read, “ALONGSIDE EVERY GREAT MAN IS A GREAT WOMAN.” Raising children, and pumping somebody’s ego after a day’s fight, taking up the fights, and then keeping the men’s memory so that the world does not forget them, are no easy fit; these are extraordinaryfits. Alongside Nelson Mandela, there is Winnie Mandela. Alongside Thomas Sankara, there is Mariam Sankara. Alongside Patrice Lumumba, there is Pauline Lumumba. Alongside Felix Moumié, there is Marthe Moumié. Rosa Parks had to be defiant and sit in the front of the bus, for the movement to be taken over by Martin Luther King Jr.; without her part in the fight, there would have been no movement!
It is our duty to remember this, and to claim it. The world and history wants us to think that men are the only ones in the world, when we know that 50% of the world’s population is female; men are not the only ones fighting for independence, liberation, freedom, revolution, democracy, … Can one make a revolution without the remaining 50%? NO! It is our duty to remember Women’s contributions to history, and stop the global historical amnesia!
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!
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.
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 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.
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 !