THE BLOG
07/08/2013 05:50 pm ET Updated Sep 07, 2013

In Love With Mali...

As a world citizen, I always used to think that mobility was a great rule for a journalist. This idea was comforted by my personal background. Born in Paris, I grew up in Sénégal, and graduated in Paris. Before I fell in love with Mali, I had spent a passionate year 2008, studying languages at La Sorbonne university in Paris, while practicing radio, and learning media. But I had never imagined that right after my tiny flat was robbed, I would leave Paris. This is in fact the great dilemma for many African students. What to do after graduation in Europe or USA ? Should we stay and benefit from Western life or go back and be part of Africa development as financial institutions still call us the Thirld World or under-developed country...

I then took a flight on February 9, 2009, and landed in a hot and colourful Bamako. It was so hot but the sky was clear, full of hope and possibilities. As a inland country, Mali was the good example, the democratic example in West Africa. Amadou Toumani Touré, its president, was admired by international community and African pairs...

Fours years after settling in Mali, and witnessing the military coup on March 22, 2012, when a bunch of crazy military took up on our constitutional legitimity, and declared on TV that they did this to save the people from anarchy, corruption, nepotism, etc., I wondered if I was still in love with this country ? Mali is a vast territory bordered by Algeria, Sénégal, Mauritania and Niger, with various ethnics, bambaras, fulanis, songhais, bozos. In the North, the infinite desert, proud Arabs, kel tamasheq people, and tuaregs rebels claiming for their independence, with arms and weapons. All this broke our national unity. All this broke up a part of my dream. Our so-called democracy was like a "chateau de cartes qui s'effondre..."

In Timbuktu, famous worlwide, are the 333 holy saints resting in peace, after their graves were destroyed by Islamic jihadists who claimed to act in the name of Allah ? If Unesco has promised to repair the damages, Mali, like so many places in the world, has become a new target for terrorists. Before the coup, I went to Timbuktu for a music festival in January 2012, the famous "Festival au Désert." High dunes of sands, warm tea with our guide Oumar, the rebel music of tinariwen and a deep feeling of freedom, now vanished for the people of Timbuktu. Not only jihadists have murederd people, but they managed to destroy cultural identity and legacy... Am still in love with Mali? I try hard every day to keep in mind the charm of this country. And when I close my eyes, I see the people, theirs smiles, their support and faith. in Mali, you will never experience loneliness. Family values are so deeply rooted.

With the military intervention, French president François Hollance became a hero for Malians who came out on the streets to welcome him in Bamako, our capital city. After saving our unity and regaining control over cities like Timbuktu, Gao, how to organize free and fair elections on July 28 and recover institutional order. As journalist, how to help my country recover fair institutions. How can we journalists participate in the building of a new nation, a new democracy, strong after 60 years of independance. A country where military coup will never happen and citizens will know the importance of voting. Yet, this election won't be perfect. Refugees in Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso may not have their voice heard but at least, we'll get out of this transitional period.

And yes, I know have this question in mind: What can I do for my country?