Almost 4 decades after Thomas Sankara and his 12 companions were treacherously murdered, they are given a burial at the memorial erected in Sankara’s honor in front of the place where they were assassinated, at the Conseil de l’Entente. His family has boycotted the ceremony because, as they say, how can you bury such a hero in the place where he was murdered? In a press release, they said, “We believed and continue to believe that it is fundamental that a space be found that allows to gather and appease hearts, and not to divide and increase resentment,” the Sankaras added in their statement on Sunday, calling the place chosen by the government “conflictual and controversial”. I know that Thomas Sankara now belongs to the entire nation of Burkina Faso, and even to the continent of Africa, but shouldn’t his family have a say as to where he is buried?
At the time of Thomas Sankara and companions’ murders in 1987 ordered by Blaise Compaore and his croonies, Sankara and his comrades were buried in some common fields with no names. Later, their bodies were exhumed in 2015 for legal proceedings.
What do you think? Is it okay to bury Thomas Sankara, our true panafricanist and anti-imperialist revolutionary, who fought for our freedoms, in the place where he was murdered?
As Sankara always said, Homeland or death, we shall overcome!
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.
Compaoré’s apology last week raised mixed reactions [Blaise Compaore Apologizes for Thomas Sankara’s Death?]. Almost everybody could smell the trap… It turns out that Compaoré is friend with the current military ruler, and has even visited Ouagadougou, the capital, last month even though he has been found guilty by the country’s courts [Verdict Guilty: Blaise Compaoré Guilty of the Murder of Thomas Sankara]. Many think that he wants a presidential pardon! The coward! See… I always told you that Compaoré is really a coward, always has been, and always will be. After all, he is the one who has changed his citizenship to become Ivorian so as not to be extradited. Imagine that, a man who held the highest position of a nation, finishes and changes his citizenship like some common person… such a coward! Anyways, below are excerpts from AfricaNews.
Compaore’s apology, issued on Tuesday is leaving mixed reactions as Burkinabe citizens consider the manner and sincerity of the former head of state Blaise Compaoré’s request for pardon.
If they had simply put at the end of the letter, ‘I place myself at the disposal of my country’s justice system’, I would have applauded.” says one passer-by.
… Compaore seized power in the West African nation in a 1987 coup in which Sankara was gunned down by a hit squad. The violent death of his former comrade-in-arms was a taboo subject throughout his 27 years in power.
A Burkina court handed him a life term in absentia in April for his role in the assassination.
… Luc Damiba, Secretary General of the Thomas Sankara International Committee Memorial is disappointed.”You have not been condemned or punished yet nor have you recognised your acts” he says of Compaore.
”You deny justice, even defy it and at the end of the chain, when you see that there is no other way out, you come and ask for forgiveness. It’s a forced pardon! It’s as if he was forced to ask for forgiveness.” Damiba lamented. He went further and blasted the apology as “a masquerade… a kind of diversion that he is sowing in people’s minds“.
Compaore’s goal, he said, was “to be able to return to Burkina and get a presidential pardon“.
Blaise Compaore returned to Burkina Faso for several days this month, without facing arrest, after the country’s military leader Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba invited him in the name of “national reconciliation“.
The visit sparked an outcry among civil society groups and political parties, who said uniting the nation should not come at the expense of impunity.
Yes you are not dreaming, nor am I joking. Blaise Compaoré, the past president of Burkina Faso, the one who murdered his friend and comrade President Thomas Sankara, has ‘apologized’ to his family. Is it for real? What is going on? Is Compaoré dying? Why the sudden regrets? or is he hoping to come back in power with the new military ruler? Should we applaud for him? NO! We are candidly interested in your apologies… but brother Compaoré, you need to pay! Tell us how you did it! Give us details! Tell us, who helped you; tell us where our brothers, mothers, sisters, fathers bodies are, and share some of the wealth you have acquired illicitly on our backs for the many years of regression and suffering at your hand. And what about Norbert Zongo [May 3rd: World Press Day – Norbert Zongo]?And then, the message read by the speaker goes, “I hope that we can move forward from now on …” Wait a second, so you can send a letter read by someone else, and you expect us to clap and just turn the page? Oh, I am so sick of people saying words, no actions, and expecting us to just forget, and move on! Actions speak louder than words! As you read, do you think Compaoré is really sorry? Excerpts below are from the BBC.
Burkina Faso’s ex-President Blaise Compaoré has apologised to the family of Thomas Sankara, his charismatic predecessor who was shot dead during a coup in 1987.
“I ask the people of Burkina Faso to forgive me for all the acts I committed during my term of office, especially to the family of my brother and friend Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara,” Mr Compaoré said in a statement.
“I take responsibility and deplore, from the bottom of my heart, all the sufferings and dramas experienced by all the victims during my mandates at the head of the country and ask their families to forgive me. I hope that we can move forward from now on to rebuild our common destiny on the land of our ancestors.”
The message was delivered to military ruler Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who took power in a coup in January, by an Ivorian delegation accompanied by the former president’s daughter Djamila Compaoré.
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.
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — The long-awaited trial on the killing of Thomas Sankara, Burkina Faso’s influential leftist leader killed more than three decades ago, has been suspended as a result of the West African country’s recent coup.
The trial has been paused until the constitution is reestablished, a lawyer for the prosecution said Monday.
The suspension comes one week after a military junta overthrew President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, suspended the constitution and dissolved the national assembly.
Prosper Farama, one of the lawyers for the Sankara family called the suspension a good thing that would respect everyone’s rights. “We have to be patient until the constitution is reestablished for things to be legal,” he said.
… Fourteen people are being charged for Sankara’s killing, including former President Blaise Compaore, who ousted Sankara in a 1987 coup. Compaore is charged with complicity, undermining state security and concealing corpses, according to military documents seen by The Associated Press. He’s being tried in absentia, as he has been in exile in Ivory Coast since he was toppled in 2014.
… “As young Sankarists, we are very worried about the suspension of the trial,” said Passamde Occean Sawadogo a singer and activist. “We remain vigilant so that nothing can jeoparidze the trial’,” he said.
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.
As you all know, we have seen in recent coups and throughout history, that the colonizers/oppressors in Africa tend to install fake chiefs, or rather puppets to serve their interests. Remember when Agoli-Agbo (French puppet) was installed after King Behanzin was deposed in 1894? or Patrice Lumumba with Joseph Mobutu in 1961, or more recently Thomas Sankara by Blaise Compaoré in Burkina Faso in 1987, and countless others … history repeats itself. This behavior is not just observed at the top of the country, but even at the levels of the local traditional chiefs… where the successions are contested thus breaking the will of the people, and the passing on of a culture, effectively destroying the oppressed. I could not have said it better than Amilcar Cabral, himself during his February 20, 1970 speech, as part of the Eduardo Mondlane Memorial Lecture Series at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, under the auspices of The Program of Eastern African Studies. Enjoy!
… the colonizer who represses or inhibits significant cultural activity on the part of the masses at the base of the social pyramid, strengthens and protects the prestige and the cultural influence of the ruling class at the summit. The colonizer installs chiefs who support him and who are to some degree accepted by the masses; he gives these chiefs material privileges such as education for their eldest children, creates chiefdoms where they did not exist before, develops cordial relations with religious leaders, builds mosques, organizes journeys to Mecca, etc. And above all, by means of the repressive organs of colonial administration, he guarantees economic and social privileges to the ruling class in their relations with the masses. All this does not make it impossible that, among these ruling classes, there may be individuals or groups of individuals who join the liberation movement, although less frequently than in the case of the assimilated “petite bourgeoisie.” Several traditional and religious leaders join the struggle at the very beginning or during its development, making an enthusiastic contribution to the cause of liberation.
But here again vigilance is indispensable: preserving deep down the cultural prejudices of their class, individuals in this category generally see in the liberation movement the only valid means, using the sacrifices of the masses, to eliminate colonial oppression of their own class and to re-establish in this way their complete political and cultural domination of the people.
… among the oppressor’s most loyal allies are found some high officials and intellectuals of the liberal professions, assimilated people, and also a significant number of representatives of the ruling class from rural areas.
… Without minimizing the positive contribution which privileged classes may bring to the struggle, the liberation movement must, on the cultural level just as on the political level, base its action in popular culture, whatever may be the diversity of levels of cultures in the country. The cultural combat against colonial domination–the first phase of the liberation movement–can be planned efficiently only on the basis of the culture of the rural and urban working masses, including the nationalist (revolutionary) “petite bourgeoisie” who have been re-Africanized or who are ready for cultural reconversion. Whatever may be the complexity of this basic cultural panorama, the liberation movement must be capable of distinguishing within it the essential from the secondary, the positive from the negative, the progressive from the reactionary in order to characterize the master line which defines progressively a national culture.
… Confronted with such a necessity, the liberation struggle is, above all, a struggle both for the preservation and survival of the cultural values of the people and for the harmonization and development of these values within a national framework.
A recent case has had my head spinning with this fundamental question: how do we keep going when the movement has been decapitated? Or when the leader is no longer fit to lead? I do not claim to have the answers as this is a crucial question, but it is worth pondering.
I recently read “The Cost of Sugar” by Cynthia McLeod, where she talks about the fight of the Maroons or Boni or Alukus of Surinam for freedom. Surinam was a Dutch colony, and so the Dutch crown sent troops to fight the rebellious slaves; they also hired local slaves to whom they promised liberty and land in return for fighting the Maroons. The Maroons never gave up! They were well organized, even though they had very little and were under-armed, and lived in the bush. Their leaders were very often killed, but they kept the fight… they were fighting for their freedom: men, women, and even children contributed to the fight. Yes… they terrorized the planters for many years, they were defeated, and fled to neighboring French Guyana, but kept the fight. Why? Because the prize of freedom is too great to lay on the shoulders of one man, one leader, or a few… the fight must continue in spite of some men (betrayers and others)… we do not follow men, we follow ideas… we are not fighting for men, we are fighting for our right to dignity, our right to humanity, our liberty.
We have to keep the fight. Yes, it is okay to cry, it is okay to fall, feel discouraged, but we have to rise up, and keep up the fight. We might be disappointed by the so-called leaders who may turn their backs on us and betray us [“The Cancer of Betrayal” by Amilcar Cabral, J.J. Rawlings in His Own Words: African Identity, Betrayal, and More], or we might get discouraged when our leaders and hopes have been killed, but we have to keep the fight. We rise up! Dust off ourselves, and keep on fighting! The enemy will try many tactics to distract us from our goals, because the enemy lives on our ignorance, the enemy flourishes on our divisions, our disappointments, and discouragements. We cannot afford to cry too long! When a leader no longer matches our ideals, we put him to the side and keep on fighting. We are not fighting for ourselves, we are fighting for our ancestors who died fighting, we are fighting for our children who should not be beggars on their own lands while the enemy feasts on it. We fight because it is more than just us. Dignity, freedom, is a divine right, and it is ours… we need to claim it!
It took 100 years for China to reclaim Hong Kong and Macao from the British… China was able to do so because its leaders kept telling them how Great Britain made them sign treacherous treaties and stole their lands, they did not hide it from their people like many African leaders do [Did You Know about the 999-year Lease granted to Europeans in Kenya ?]. As a result, 100 years later, the Chinese leaders went to the British, and said “time is up, give us back our lands”. The leaders who were forced to sign these treaties 100 years prior were no longer alive, but the history, the preparation, the muscling up, the battle continued!… so we have to plan over decades, generations, to ensure continuity in the battle, implying education, real knowledge of our history (our triumphs as well as our defeats and the causes), the stakes, and keeping a living memory of our history. It may take years, decades, even a century like China with Macao, but we have to grow, know, and muscle up… we cannot keep crying.
I know this is like 10 days+ old news… but it is news: the ex-president of Burkina Faso Blaise Compaoré has been indicted for the murder of Thomas Sankara by a military court in the country. We cannot reiterate enough that France through her minion Blaise Compaoré (with the implication/blessing of Felix Houphouet-Boigny) killed Thomas Sankara. When Compaoré was booted out of office in 2014, he sought refuge in neighboring Cote d’Ivoire which is controlled by another one of France’s minions imposed on Ivorians via France’s bombs, Alassane Ouattara (ADO). Not only did he run to Cote d’Ivoire with his tail between his legs, but he even renounced his Burkinabe citizenship for the Ivorian one so as not be extradited. Everything about the man Compaoré screams cowardice: can you imagine a president of a country for 27 years who changes his citizenship? Such a coward! Now, a Burkina Faso military court has indicted Blaise Compaoré for the murder of Thomas Sankara. What power does this court really have? How to implement its findings? Is it just symbolic? Moreover, this is in absentia, given that Compaoré is hiding in Cote d’Ivoire. Excerpts below are from an article on the Al-Jazeera‘s website.
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso – A military court in Burkina Faso’s capital has indicted former President Blaise Compaore in connection to the 1987 murder of his charismatic predecessor, Thomas Sankara.
A statement issued by the court on Tuesday cited “complicity in assassination” and an “attack on state security” by Compaore, who ruled the country until 2014, when he was forced to resign in the face of mass demonstrations against an attempt to extend his 27-year rule.
Thirteen others – including Gilbert Diendere, Compaore’s right hand man, and Hyacinthe Kafando, his security chief – were also indicted on charges ranging from “assassination” to “concealment of corpses”.
Benewende Stanislas Sankara, a lawyer representing the relatives of the slain former president, described the indictment as “a victory and a step in the right direction”.
“It’s with a sigh of relief the family can now go ahead with all the guarantees that surround Burkinabe justice,” he told Al Jazeera. “We can now calmly go to trial.”
… Following his re-election last year, President Roch Kabore appointed a minister for national reconciliation, Zephirin Diabre, who pledged to address the issue of justice for Sankara.
In 2015, Burkinabe courts had issued an international arrest for Compaore, but Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara has prevented his extradition back to Burkina Faso despite an extradition treaty between the two countries. …
… “The warrant can be executed at any time if Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso implement the existing agreements between the two states properly,” Benewende Sankara said. “I must specify that it can happen very quickly.”…