By Judy Gray ~ with excerpts from an article by Joe Penney, published in the New African magazine, January 2015
I returned a week ago from an eight day visit to Fada, Eastern Burkina Faso to monitor the World Neighbours Canada (WNC) project there. It was a unique and heart-warming experience and one that I will post more about over the coming months. However, the visit also inspired an interest to learn more about the recent political upheaval that the people in this country faced. Brad Fee, the colleague who travelled with me to Fada, sent me this article which elaborates on the struggle which recently occurred in this country.
Excerpts follow, with a link to the entire article by Joe Penney:
“Since the revolution that ended 27 years of rule by Blaise Compaoré, Burkina Faso has become an inspiration to protest movements across Africa. No one is under any illusions that the road ahead for the country will be easy, but the momentum of people power cannot be denied. ”
“Since the burning of parliament, Burkina Faso has become ground zero for democratisation efforts in West Africa. In a rousing speech reminiscent of the country’s former socialist leader and hero Thomas Sankara, Lieutenant-Colonel Zida remarked shortly after taking power that “in the history of our dear country, there will be a before and an after October 30th”.
“Such is the momentum of people power in the country that many Burkinabé are starting to believe that the path to development Sankara laid out for them between 1984 and 1987 can once again become a reality, rather than a myth.”
“Today in Burkina Faso, no one knows the trajectory of the future, and the youth who risked their lives to kick Blaise Compaoré out of power are under no illusions that the road to justice and development will be easy. But one phrase is on everybody’s lips: “Nothing will ever be the same.”
Joe Penney is an American photojournalist from New York City based in Bamako, Mali, who has been living and working in West Africa since 2010. Since then he has worked in almost every country in West Africa, covering politics, conflict, daily life and culture. He is passionate about journalism in Africa and more specifically in the Sahel region. He is the main photographer and photo editor for Reuters in West and Central Africa and is also the co-founder of sahelien.com, a French-language news website covering Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.