Mali’s stormy politics spilled onto the streets of Paris on Saturday when supporters and opponents of a breakaway Tuareg state in the north tried, calling itself Azawad, to win the newly elected French government’s ear.
Supporters of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) gathered outside the French National Assembly in Paris on Saturday.
After the Socialist victory in this month’s parliamentary election, they were calling for the new French government to talk to the breakaway leaders.
In April the MNLA declared northern Mali an independent state, which they call Azawad, after a coup by a faction of the military destabilised the central government.
Both ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy and current President François Hollande have said they want the country whole.
Members and supporters of The Association of North Malians turned up to oppose the MNLA’s attempt to divide Mali
The MNLA, while undertaking politics by other means to the south, is undertaking politics as usual in France.
I can’t help but remember that Ho Chi Minh’s appeal to the western powers at Versailles to consider the rights of the people of Indochina as they carved up the world. Ho was, of course, completely ignored, and it’s not difficult to surmise that it affected his political philosophy for the rest of his days. You know the rest of that story.
I foresee a similar response to the MNLA supporters from France and its leadership. Insurgencies such as the movement to free the Azawad are created through a lack of political representation. France will more than likely regret its decision to ignore the Tuareg.