World in View: Burkinabe revolution

From the November-December 2014 issue of News & Letters

Crowds burn Burkina Faso parliament building, Oct. 30, 2014. Photo courtesy of The Speaker. https://www.flickr.com/photos/thespeakernews/15048526783/

Crowds burn Burkina Faso parliament building, Oct. 30, 2014. Photo courtesy of The Speaker. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ thespeakernews/15048526783/

President Blaise Compaore received a rude awakening when he attempted to rewrite the Constitution of Burkina Faso in order to further extend his 27-year rule of this African nation. He first seized power in 1987, with the murder of former friend Thomas Sankara.

Activist Emile Pargui Pare told the AFP news agency: “Oct. 30 is Burkina Faso’s Black Spring, like the Arab Spring.” Protesters filled the streets of the capital, Ouagadougou, burning government buildings and storming the Parliament and presidential palace. The army at first attempted to clamp down, firing on the crowds, and then attempted a coup of their own, which the masses have continued to thwart.

Some are calling this Revolution 2.0, referring back to Sankara’s 1983-1987 rule. Sankara was perhaps the one African protege of Muammar Qaddafi who took the idea of social revolution seriously—the reason he was killed by Compaore’s coup, which re-established good relations with the former French imperialist rulers and televangelist Pat Robertson’s diamond smuggling operation. Of course, Compaore remained on good terms with the loathsome Qaddafi as well.          

—Gerry Emmett

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