Tuesday, April 3, 2012
C is for Coup
My original theme for this year's A-Z challenge was to post light-hearted stories, random stories my kids love me to tell over and over. I had two awesome ones for today, but this topic fits my mood a little better. And, well, it needs to be said.
Apparently there was a coup last week or maybe the week before in Mali. I'm not really sure because the news coverage is very light on this particular government's overthrow, but I'll get to that later.
I'm no journalist or expert in African politics, but my understanding is the president of this stable, democratic nation, was taken down (not sure if that means figuratively or literally) by some military leaders just before the new elections. This president, whose name I honestly don't know, was at the end of his term. He was stepping down. He was overthrown in an attempt to mess up the election and potentially bring an end to democracy in this nation.
In the aftermath of the coup, a group of people who fought in Libya brought their weapons back to Mali and made the most of the situation, bringing more instability and bloodshed to the region where several of my husband's friends and their children live.
My understanding is Mali is predominantly Muslim, not extremist Muslim, the kind we are told to fear, but devout Muslim. It is also my understanding that Mali doesn't have oil. Instead there's an important center for malaria research centered in Bamako as well as field research stations throughout the country.
Yesterday, the only news I could find about this was from a couple of news sites in the UK. Today things have stabilized, and now there is finally coverage on news sites in the US.
So my question is this: Have you heard about this?
Has this once been on the evening news? Has this received news coverage in the US anywhere close to the nightly coverage of the overthrow of the other north African governments like Libya that have oil? Would it have made a difference if the Malian leader was an extremist Muslim? How is it less of a newsworthy event that a democratic government was overthrown? Why doesn't it matter that significant malaria research was put at risk?
The cool thing is that the neighboring countries pressured the guy in charge of the original coup to agree to carry on with the elections and were able to promote some stability without intervention from US military. I'm relieved and hopeful for my husband's friends but am very irked that the evening world news tonight covered the dangers of tanning beds instead.