• Islamist Groups Now Main Threat To North Mali Say Tuareg Refugees

    May 17, 2012 by marine_olivesi in with 0 COMMENTS




    Mohamed Ag In’ Tahna (top left) arrived at Damba refugee camp yesterday at 5am. He had to leave 20 relatives at the border as their car broke down on the way. A camel took him to Damba, and he’s now looking for a vehicle to bring his family over. He says they fled their village near Timbuktu on Monday along with 2 other families because of the Sharia law imposed by Islamist groups.


    Alhader Ag Azar (bottom left) arrived at Ferrerio refugee camp 3 months ago. He had already spent 3 years in the mid-90′s on the same site as a refugee, “under the same tree.” He says he originally fled for fear of a military crackdown when the Tuareg rebellion kicked off, but is now staying put because of the rise of Islamist groups in North Mali.

  • Tuareg Girls at Refugee Camp, Northern Burkina

    May 15, 2012 by marine_olivesi in with 0 COMMENTS

  • A Somewhat Unhealthy Teaser

    May 10, 2012 by marine_olivesi in with 0 COMMENTS


    This Brussels Airlines ad in Bamako translates into “Europe has never been so close” or “Putting Europe within your reach.”


    One out of three Malians live abroad today. Europe only hosts a small chunk of the diaspora, but has long been considered a prime destination.


    Beyond the claim that a 406,000 CFA ticket (about $810) is within reach of regular Malians in a country where the average monthly salary hovers around $60/month (…and beyond the claim that $810 for a flight to Europe is such a great deal to begin with), I can’t help but wonder if the “mad men” behind that ad have purposely designed it to tease Malians’ year for migration.

  • “Greece never wanted immigrants. They came at night and at night we will get rid of them.”

    May 9, 2012 by marine_olivesi in with 0 COMMENTS

    Another Greek election, another spike of votes for Golden Dawn. On Sunday,  the neo-Nazi party garnered close to 7% of the votes in a national election. 21 of their representatives will seat in the Parliament.


    The headline is a quote from its spokesperson, Ilias Panagiotaros back in the fall 2010. Reporting on a surge of racist behaviors and anti-immigrant sentiment in the Greek capital, I attended one of their meeting in Athens ahead of local elections. A few days later, Golden Dawn won a seat in Athen’s city council. That was the party’s first breakthrough in the polls.


    I looked into my notes from back then. I was the only journalist in the conference room that day and I had recorded the entire rally. Later on, a friend translated the speeches delivered by Nikolaos Michaloliakos, the party leader, and Ilias Panagiotaros.


    Here are a few excerpts.


    “I propose we would have the permission to carry guns. When you have a refugee from Senegal or Congo or Togo with swords, only machine guns will do. I don’t believe that that a man with words can impose the order.”


    “They (speaking of migrants) kill each other, they would not respect the officers. It’s like cancer came to Greece and we must live up with it. We will not tolerate chemiotherapy. We will reap out the cancer.”


    “There are no muslims, they are only illegals. They have no rights, their only right is to leave and go back to the place they came from. Let them go to hell. We don’t give a damn. All these motherf**** who talk about immigration policy are speaking nonsense.”


    Golden Dawn features the swastika on its flag. Its members greet their leader with the Sieg Heil (the Nazi salute). Racism is their essence, provocation a prerequisite. We know all extremes thrive in a time of crisis. No surprise here.


    Yet here we’re also talking about a country that sent entire generations of young men and women to emigrate overseas. About half a million Greeks arrived to the United States between 1890 and the early 1920′s alone. Most were “undocumented.” What I’d like to know is how many of their great grandkids and great grandnephews cast a Golden Dawn ballot Sunday… I bet the number is pretty high.



  • From Libya to Mali, a Tale of Two Returns

    April 25, 2012 by marine_olivesi in with 0 COMMENTS

    Haruna Traoré, a Malian who had spent a decade in Libya, compares the return

    of about 20,000 Malian migrant workers to that of some 2,000 Tuaregs and

    says they’ve been on the loser’s end twice — in Libya, and back home in Mali.

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