This is the wish of the Muslim to everybody he comes across and indeed a prayer for peace to all believers and to the world at large.
Assalam alaikum; Peace be with you today; peace be with you tonight. This is the permanent desire of the Muslim, a prayer for permanent peace in a world unfortunately increasingly perverted and defiled with an unspeakable violence in different forms, with different origins.
The white policeman who shoots down a coloured passer-by in an American street, reveals how mean and narrow minded he is, a typical case of an unrepentant racialist.
The notorious Kouachi brothers who indiscriminately shoot at journalists, unleashing thus, their hatred against the Prophet of Islam, express just horror, contempt of an extreme intolerance.
Palestinians and Israelis ensnared in a face to face permanent blind killings express a prevailing domination instinct of violence over normal reasonable thinking and principles of freedom. We face an outstanding example of a clear rejection of colonization and injustice against human being.
When Houthi militia refuse to surrender under a hail of Saudi Arabia led coalition shell bombs, one can see that the Shiite and Sunnis religious confrontation is just an excuse to justify a bitter struggle for power.
In Africa, in most cases, when the ruling party supporters and its opponents are in the streets, engaged in bloody confrontations, attempt to confiscate the power or contest of the outcome of rigged elections is the real cause of such violence.
Such examples are too many to be numbered; the situation of hatred that pollutes life on earth. But all this violence, the ways of protests and the motives of the protestors are rooted in an environment of injustice.
Any state that does not severely sanction cruel evidence of racism is questionable.
In International relations, unequal treatment of states and citizens naturally exacerbates tensions and clashes among populations as it offends human dignity and remains in the eye of the ordinary citizen a foul play.
The despise of other peoples’ skin’s colour or their beliefs, fatally leads to human’s catastrophes in the indifference of accomplice States, still comfortable with a flawed freedom and intolerance, the most serious foul play.
Violence is generally rooted in an injustice environment, poor and disastrous governance, that grant premium to impunity.
The republic of Mali is still healing the wounds of its democratic process with many setbacks. This country which has for long years been subject of mess and chaos, hardly identify the real causes of its many diseases:
The increasing number of night assaults or barbarians armed robberies just to snatch ordinary citizens’ cars or motor bikes is a clear indication of how life has become casual, how little the state values the poor indigent people life, assuming that this state still has any authority.
When racial militias become rampant, it means that the state is spineless. This very state representatives that condone drug trafficking and hostages kidnappings, gives good excuses to criminality as it thrives as ever with the passive complicity of authorities.
When a handful angry citizens, for reasons hardly known to their countrymen, start claiming the independence or the autonomy of one part of the Nation against the opposed views of the vast majority, common sense commands that past centuries of common life, prevail over racial considerations and the supposed marginalization of a community. The common history alternately shared under Songhoy, Bambara, Fulani and Tamashek empires, probably not appreciated somewhere in the world, has set into motion invisible hands against the country. The resulting violence should nonetheless affect the conscience of those behind the tragedy of a country known to have existed for centuries as a rainbow nation.
What appropriate response, what bitter therapeutic prescription this situation deserves?
Every disease has its appropriate treatment. The Hadith confirms that: To each disease its own medication. How then combat intolerance?
What kind of treatment; how to anchor peace in the Cities in the world round?
In Islam, tolerance must be the first attitude towards everybody we come across and, the rejection of any form of evil. Being tolerant means to stand against intolerance and say categorically no to intolerance. One of the first revelations of the Holy Quran was to castigate the Jewish King Dhus Novas who burned alive thousands of Christians who had refused to abide to the King’s order and change consequently their religion. A complete Surah:
Sura number 85, denounced the crime and promised to the authors of such a crime a more ardent fire that their vile blaze.
Here in Mali, all the known rosary of intolerances must be carefully exhibited out in the open, for public condemnation. From Fily Dabo Sissoko murder, Alhadin of Sakoïba to Aguelhoc mass murders including the senseless crimes of political militia; all the evil actions should be exposed. A convened Public ceremonial and popular denunciation must be regarded and valued as a Treaty for Peace.
When a known recidivist, a convicted criminal comes into the open to mock his victims and the people and demonstrates that he is rather proud of his violent crimes, he gives evidence that he is untouchable; the country he lives in, is therefore at risk and may be classified as no man’s land and the spillover of its failure might be out of control.
Impunity is the fertile land for prosperous criminality. Unfortunately, what do we see here and there in Africa and in the world is rampant impunity, condoned and accepted as if it was a style of governance. This situation is rather a clear evidence of the abdication of the official rulers of such a country who just want to cover an ambiguous situation. Hasn’t the shaky state’s justice machine completely surrended?
A country stands because of its governing texts. When it appears that these laws and fundamental texts are unenforceable, the state is declared bankrupt.
Corruption is a serious social aggression against the people and their resources. Because of corruption, the Government is deprived of the necessary resources that are normally earmarked to meet the needs of the less privileged. The practicers of corruption are morally down falling, the victims are also morally down falling. A genuine anti-corruption brigade, requires yet the support of the people. The Public exposure of criminals should be a common cause shared and supported by the people and such denunciation should be documented with evidences. It is such an approach even popular assistance to the justice structures that can quickly improve the situation and avoid any impression of personal harassment.
UNESCO has adopted a very meaningful motto. Evil germinate first in the minds of people and it is in these peoples’ mind that the struggle should start.
This wisdom is useful today. In Mali for years, facts have been distorted, and false information have been carefully distilled on the northern areas of the country, to make people believe that socio economic development programmes designed for the northern parts of the country were hijacked by representatives of the south. It follows thus that a dominant feeling emerged and was then spread accordingly. This belief is that: Policies designed in Bamako are mere hindrances to the development of the North.
Because of all psychological weight resulting from such rumors, it is now very urgent and important to reveal the truth to the populations of the north of Mali as well as to those of the south. The historic social mixing that took place centuries ago through trade need today to be reactivated through a campaign of sensitization. Old exchange relations of salt against cereal or cotton need to be strengthened today by permanent human exchanges.
Targeting youths does not suffice, it is also necessary that the North notabilities be welcomed by those in the South and vice versa.
Share meals as a remedy: We still refer to the prophetic word: ” Shared meal, bringing together believers, heals the hearts. ” Let us appeal to our NOTABILITIES, let us use the virtues of common prayers and shared meals to heal the wounds. It is so simple and feasible in each of the country’s prefecture and in a short term. Indeed, in every Malian prefecture there is a base camp for government missions, which can also be used for peace missions. Accommodate for three days illustrious non-governmental visitors and allow village leaders, assisted by notabilities and their counselors to live, share meals and pray together with their distinguished guests, enlivened with short visits of the surrounding sight places. Such an initiative in my opinion is a good step towards for peace. It goes without saying that such meetings can bring hearts, closer; they can help reveal the true realities and correct biased opinions regarding the country’s real development process. Such visits can be organized every month alternately in one part of the country and next time in the other part.
Peace caravans: Second initiative: Peace caravans should be organized for schoolboys and students chosen among the best in their respective class. Summer camps should be also organized in a professional way during Easter and Christmas holidays and continue during the long rainy season’s holidays. A ministerial Department like the Ministry of Sports and Youths should incorporate such activities in its agenda.
Mixed Crusades, coach trips for Peace should replace the ongoing unhealthy movements of armed groups; the joyful songs of the Youths should stifle and silence forever the clinking noise of Kalashnikovs. Such activities should be supervised by skilled specialists and people of good experience
To sum up: anchoring a culture of peace in Mali requires
As in La Fontaine fable, ‘‘Much is achieved with sweetness than with violence ”; these are not empty words. The wise Mahatma Gandhi proved it to the face of the world. Pastor Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, the African icon will long be remembered for having waged successfully wars without Violence.
Today’s world seems not to be able to own these great men’s experiences. Conflicts are so rampant!
Thus anchoring a culture of peace and non-violence in our country, in Africa, all around the world can be anchored on a solid ground of educated peoples that are prepared to learn from the apostles of peace and non-violence that are prepared to learn from religions, social ethics.
Ahmed Mohamed Ag Hamani
Former Prime Minister
Grand Officer of the National Order of merit