Burkina's youth resurrect Thomas Sankara's anti-colonial project
One of Africa's greatest tragedy was losing a man who gave it all for his people to thrive as an autonomous and sovereign nation.
A special rapport published by Sputnik on Saturday revealed that the recent wave of political changes that have swept in Burkina Faso over the past year has marked an important shift in the political consciousness of Burkina's youth.
In the past year alone, Burkina Faso has witnessed two separate military coups, the most recent yielded by Capitaine Ibrahim Traoré who rid the nation of his predecessor, Paul-Henri Damiba, a military officer who maintained close ties with France and is considered a traitor to the nation.
Activists interviewed by the agency explained they actively supported changes that they regard as anti-colonial and anti-imperialist, an approach that is relevant considering recent warnings the West African nation has issued for French troops to leave the territory.
One of the activists, a filmmaker named Abdoul Salam Koussoube, told the agency that the political turmoil invoked the youth's radical demands for substantial political change.
"Recent events force us to revisit History when this country experienced a progressive military regime that changed its destiny forever from 1983-1987. We dare to believe and hope that the current authorities are working in the same direction, even if it must be recognized that the mechanisms of oppression of imperialism do not make the task easy. Personally, my hope comes from the fact that it is the younger generation, especially those who are out of school and excluded from the system of governance, that are currently leading the revolt against Western influences as well as against local valets," he told Sputnik.
The African nation's history does not go unnoticed as its previous leaders, in particular Pan-African leader Thomas Sankara, left an unprecedented mark in the history of anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism.
The African leader led a military coup in 1983 and introduced some of the continent's most progressive reforms, including mass vaccination programs which contributed to eradicating polio. He launched education programs to combat the nation's 90% illiteracy rate and initiated large-scale housing and infrastructure projects in efforts to end urban slums.
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Although shrouded in uncertainty and worry, recent political events brought about the memory of that historic period in time that characterized the heroic feat of breaking the chains of colonialism and imperialism.
But prospects of success remain dim in the light of previous leaders who failed to gather a legitimate base of national support.
"Power is centralized in the hands of a few individuals, while communities are manipulated and instrumentalized. We have been experiencing this for more than two decades. It is the inability of democratically elected rulers, due to corruption, mismanagement, and nepotism. This is what led to the coup d'etats that were generally welcomed by the general population who do not want more of those 'pseudo-intellectual’ elites and politicians," Koussoube told the agency.
Another relevant factor has been influences from neighboring countries, including Mali, which kicked out its former colonizer France in August 2022.
France supposedly intervened to counter militants in Mali but was later uncovered by the military government as aiding terror groups. It was also held responsible for committing acts of espionage and sabotage.
On Wednesday, the French Foreign Ministry said it received the official request from Burkina Faso to pull French soldiers from the country after continued pressure against its military presence in the country.
Following Burkina Faso’s decision to expel French troops, France’s President Emmanuel Macron said he is “waiting for clarifications” from the West African country.
Macron added that Burkina Faso's decision reported by the media caused “great confusion” since the purpose of the presence of French troops was to combat "the Islamist insurgency" which has been crippling the country for years.
Yet, after so many years of 'aiding' the African country, it is clear that France had no intention of ridding the nation of its terrorists.
For many, this was a clear sign that West African nations had to start taking matters into their own hands.
"I think what happened in Mali has had the biggest influence on Burkina Faso with the transition government affirming its stance against the French military. I think the vision objective unites a lot of Pan-Africans," a political source told Sputnik.
"People are also aware that, right now, we're seeing a world that is changing. For a very long time, the world was dominated exclusively by the US and its allies, including the EU countries. That's what's been dominating the Burkina Faso economy and benefiting from the resources of not only Burkina Faso, but also Africa as a whole. Too much of our history is tied to colonialism and imperialism. I think the end goal is for more African countries to leave the Western camp or influence. They can unite with each other. I think that's a pathway towards African unity," they added.
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In attempts to discredit political changes that occurred in both Mali and Burkina Faso, several western media outlets accused the Russian private military contractor Wagner Group of having interfered in the coups.
Unlike western troops, Wagner PMC's have provided substantial support to government forces in Africa, including military training and the necessary assistance to ward off terrorists.
China has likewise been accused of waging a project of neo-colonialism due to its expansive investments allocated into building crucial infrastructures in exchange for raw materials and resources.
Unlike the West, the developmental trajectory of China’s growth, which is detached from militarism and built on a working-class-led resistance, it is an arithmetic certainty that China will never morph into a war-mongering nation.
It simply does not depend on war to grow. Moreover, having itself been the target of imperialism for centuries is enough to suggest that China in no way intends to pursue such an agenda - but rather strives to resist it, as it always did.
Through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China promoted infrastructural ventures in some of the world’s poorest economies in a way that complemented their productive assets in facilitating productivity, growth, and economic mobility.
The Asian country has defied neoliberalism both as an ideology and as an economic policy by upholding its own brand of socialism based on “Chinese characteristics”.
Hence, for this reason, Western allegations that China is waging a neocolonial project in Africa are simply inaccurate and politically motivated.
As put by one of the activists interviewed by Sputnik, "the world needs African resources. I'm aware of that. At the same time, I don't think Russia, China, or Iran have the same long colonial history with African countries. I don't believe it is the same thing. I will believe it when I see a Russia or Chinese-backed military coup overthrowing a leader. Up until now, I don't think it's fair to say it's the two sides of the same coin. Right now, I don't think most people are worried about Russia or China trying to take over Africa."
And they surely shouldn't be worried so. As the balance of power keeps shifting further towards the establishment of a multipolar world, Western reports condemning important political developments in Africa merely serve to reflect growing fears that the West is beginning to lose its foothold across the African continent.
Pan-African leader Thomas Sankara was brutally murdered on 15 October 1987 in a French-supported coup with at least 10 gunshots to the head and legs and thrown into a grave with 12 others.
Following his death, Burkina Faso endured two decades of political corruption and unequal distribution.
Under the crushing weight of years of political repression via comprador classes and neocolonial lackeys, any change which subserviently characterizes a clear break with the past serves to revive hope in the hearts of Burkina's youth for regaining autonomy and sovereignty - and will be as such regardless of positive or negative outcomes of the current political transition.
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