Tuareg Rebels in Mali Declare Independence : Part of an African Awakening for Self-Determination ?
The president of Mali, Amadou Toumani Touré, has formally resigned after soldiers ousted him in a coup in March, with power set to be transferred to Mali’s National Assembly after elections later this month. The soldiers say they seized power because of Touré’s alleged mishandling of a rebellion of ethnic Tuareg rebels, who have succeeded in capturing several key northern cities, declaring their independence and now calling for international recognition. Officials claim the rebels are a mix of Tuareg separatists and Islamists with links to al-Qaeda. We speak with Firoze Manji, editor-in-chief of Pambazuka News, a pan-African social justice website. He was formerly the Africa director for Amnesty International. Manji recently co-edited a book called "African Awakening : The Emerging Revolutions." Manji argues the political unrest in Mali, Senegal, and beyond is "driven by the fact that over the last 30 years our people have lost all the gains of independence," due in large part to what he calls neoliberal policies imposed on many African countries by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. "People feel that their governments are more accountable to the banks and to the international multinational corporations than they are to their citizens," Manji says. [includes rush transcript]