Amidst the sad news from Mali this morning, a friend shared this link. The violence in Mali is very scarcely reported. There are no dramatic photos of resources flown in or world powers vying for the hearts and minds of Mali. It's a very poor country, full of wonderful people who are from diverse cultures and groups. All but one signed their recent peace accord and that group is now making its displeasure known. In some coverage, the attacks are ascribed to "Touaregs" but the responsible parties are only one faction as near as I can tell. Then of course, the opportunistic thugs that operate in any society and take advantage of disarray are also taking advantage of this time.
As I edit photos of my amazing trip, I think of the breath-taking beauty and the bone-jarring roads. I think of the how honored and humbled I was to be invited into people's homes for a meal when the price of rice and millet have skyrocketed to five times their cost last year on the heels of drought. I think of the farms many miles from villages where women walk to work in the hot sun in fields of green onions that pop up from the arid dessert in surprising intervals. The wells from which they draw water, bucket by bucket.
To say my trip was life-altering is no exaggeration. My heart breaks a little knowing people I met, people who laughed with me and opened their homes to me, introduced their families to me, are under siege. They are most likely scared, and many are scattered for their own safety and that of their families. Many others will not be able to afford to flee.
The tensions between old ways and the new world were evident in Mali, and they are poignantly described in this film. The wisdom of the ages and the pride of the people in the ways that have sustained them is to be honored. This film highlights some of the very issues that are not so far from many things that I observed in Mali - across the continent from Ethiopia. Whether it is religion or seed (or arms or buildings) that are offered by seemingly generous and well-meaning outsiders, some gifts are not gifts at all.
The short, thought-provoking documentary is well worth a few minutes of your time to watch. It is clear to see why it has won so many awards.