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Sat Feb 2, 2013, 07:13 PM

Timbuktu Gives France’s President an Ecstatic Welcome

Source: New York Times

TIMBUKTU, Mali — France’s president, François Hollande, paid a triumphant visit to this ancient city on Saturday, receiving a rapturous welcome from thousands of people who gathered in a dusty square next to a 14th century mosque to dance, play drums and chant, “Vive la France!” The muezzin of the mosque, whose singing calls residents to pray five times a day, wore a scarf in the colors of the French flag around his neck, as he shouted, “Vive Hollande!”

But even as thousands of people gathered outside the mud and wood mosque here to greet Mr. Hollande, hailing him as the city’s, and their country’s, savior, questions remain about what, exactly, France has accomplished aside from chasing Islamic extremists from the cities and into their desert and mountain redoubts.

“These Islamists, they have not been defeated,” said Moustapha Ben Essayouti, a member of one of the city’s most prominent families who lined up to greet Mr. Hollande here. “Hardly any of them have been killed. They have run into the desert and the mountains to hide.”

Mr. Hollande, speaking to French and Malian troops gathered here, praised the alacrity of their victories.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/03/world/africa/france-hollande-timbuktu-mali.html?hp&_r=0



This will continue to be an interesting unfolding story.

10 replies, 2239 views

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Response to alcibiades_mystery (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 07:32 PM

1. I can't help but recall that scene in Bahgdad

Western soldiers were supposed to have been welcomed with open arms that time, too. Eventually we learned that it was a staged performance.

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Response to daleo (Reply #1)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 07:46 PM

2. On the day George Washington went through NYC on his way to command the Army in Boston

He was greeted by a large mob who cheered him on his way. Later the SAME DAY, the last Royal Governor of New York, disembarked off the ship in the Harbor and landed on New York Island, and was greeted by a large mob that cheered him. Observers at the time said many of the same people where in both mobs (No matter which side wins, they supported the winning side).

Just do NOT give "cheering mobs" much weight, they are easy to buy,

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Response to happyslug (Reply #2)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 02:26 PM

9. It's true

And many civilians in a war zone will very logically cheer the day's victor, because they have very little stake in the outcome and just want to stay alive for another day.

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Response to alcibiades_mystery (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 11:14 PM

3. Freedom returns to Mali's Timbuktu, as women show their faces, put on makeup, dance

On the morning French commandos parachuted onto the sand just north of this storied city and ended 10 months of Islamic rule, Hawi Traore folded up her veil. On the next day, she wore heels. On the day after, she put on her sparkly earrings, got her hair braided and tried her mother's perfume.

Finally on Thursday, the 12-year-old girl dared to dance in the streets, celebrating freedom from the draconian rules that were imposed by the al-Qaida-linked militants on this desert capital for much of the past year.

Four days since French special forces liberated Timbuktu, there is a growing sense of freedom _ particularly among women. The speed with which women have claimed back their freedom underscores one of the advantages the French hold against an elusive enemy on unforgiving terrain: The population here has long practiced a moderate Islam rather than the extremism of the militants.

http://www.newser.com/article/da45sceo0/freedom-returns-to-malis-timbuktu-as-women-show-their-faces-put-on-makeup-dance.html

This story, alone, is a good reason to cheer the French action.

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Response to question everything (Reply #3)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 12:05 AM

4. We had a story a while back about the militants destroying ancient relics in Timbuktu.

Mali: Islamists attack Timbuktu heritage sites

Algeria jihadists arrive in Mali to reinforce "Islamists"

"About 30 Algerian jihadists arrived in Gao on Friday to assist in securing the town and hunting down rebels" from the Tuaregs' National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), a regional security source said.

He said they had come to join Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who is currently in Gao.

......The Tuareg, who had kickstarted the rebellion with an eye for independence of northern Mali, or Azawad, did not agree with the Islamists who wanted a state based on strict Islamic law, which they have already enforced.

http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/30/4601404/mali-islamists-attack-timbuktu.html

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5j5Sb4gi1N6X45KGC0E8xPUZaYmFw?docId=CNG.262300e1fe08b3deae5dc6fa4e31972d.7d1

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-briggs/islamist-is-it-time-to-reconsider-the-term_b_1624319.html

Both of those are taken from this thread:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/1014156169

Another story from Mali of the locals saying they did not want their girls forced to cover up, despite the positive face at the begining of the article:


Mali: The 'gentle' face of al-Qaeda

"...I can't lie before God. They came to us and paid their respects. At the time these little girls were not wearing hijab. They put hijabs on them and gave us a dress code..."

...Yet for all the huge sums of money, most Tuaregs in northern Mali dislike Salafism and remain un-seduced by al-Qaeda. Most still cling to dreams of independence and find old-school national liberation groups like the MNLA attractive, in spite of the fact that it cannot even afford to feed its troops.

"We are Muslims but we can't stand the Salafi way," says Bukhadu, a 22-year-old Tuareg herder who likes the MNLA. "We want our sisters to feel the wind in their hair..."


http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/spotlight/2012review/2012/12/20121228102157169557.html

From this DU thread:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/101652946

We can look at this as an attempt to regain colonial power. These people and others in Africa are being invaded by more than one force, some corporate and some religionist. We'll see how it goes.

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Response to alcibiades_mystery (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 04:01 AM

5. His motives may or may not be pure

but at least Hollande got a little respect for what seems like the first time since he got rained on without an umbrella at his inauguration last May:

Then:


Now:


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Response to alcibiades_mystery (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 04:09 AM

6. I am 100% against US involvement in the Mali "situation."

And I have no idea what the true intentions of the French there are.

But I can promise you, the people there are better off not under the extreme Islamist rule and are temporarily elated.

However, just like when we (NATO) leave Afghanistan, when the French go home, the people who aided the "infidels" will be subject to pure hell.


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Response to alcibiades_mystery (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 09:01 AM

7. Dude's got no style...

... what, he didn't fly in on a carrier plane and address the citizens wearing a flight suit?

-- Mal

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Response to malthaussen (Reply #7)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 11:10 AM

8. please, le président de la République rides in a Citroën écolo hybrid...



. . . naturellement!

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Response to alcibiades_mystery (Original post)

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