Oumou Sall Seck: Save Mali

January 3rd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Oumou Sall Seck’s impassioned op-ed plea came out in last Saturday’s New York Times. Her plea is cogent and gripping, and made for a sobering note in this season of celebrations.

In 2004, I became the first woman to be elected mayor of a town in northern Mali. It wasn’t easy in this ultraconservative region. We built a community center to encourage the economic self-sufficiency of women, who accounted for more than half the town’s population of about 16,000. Despite many difficulties, the initiation of development projects created a real sense of hope among the population. Even if the economy was slow to take off, it was progress. Now it is all in shambles.

Jihadist criminal groups like Ansar Dine and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, working with drug traffickers and armed separatists, are threatening democratic institutions, national unity and secularism in Mali.

President Obama must not allow northern Mali to become a hotbed of terrorists and drug traffickers that poses a danger to the entire world.

The United States has intervened in less dire situations. I call upon its conscience. Please help us get our families out of their wretched distress. We are innocent victims. We cannot do it alone.

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