Bamako

For me, the movie had two layers: the real and the unreal.

The real part of the movie for me was the constant reminder that people still lived their lives regardless of what had happened/what was happening in their country. We saw mothers feeding their children, women dying their fabrics for trade,  a man was learning to speak Hebrew in the hopes of getting a future job, people doing laundry, etc.

The trial, for me, was the unreal part of the movie: I almost laughed when I saw that the trial was held in Mali, and that the defendant was the World Bank. I mean, who would EVER bring the World Bank, the IMF and other western financing corporations in front of the people of  a nation who has suffered immensely under SAPs and has not been able to recuperate fully ever since? Who would EVER question them about the consequences of the (mostly) disastrous SAPs (Structural Adjustment Programs) that they forced many African nations to implement?

Although I found the movie thouroughly enjoyable (and very informative), the “unrealness” of the trial (especially since it was interrupted at random times by crying children, or Mele asking someone help her do up her top) left me thinking “What next?” Will such a trial ever hold in the future? Will the WOrld Bank/WTO/IMF see the consequences of its actions on Africa, and forgive the rather unreasonable debts that many African countries are still stumbling under the crushing weight of? Will Mali ever be restored to even a half of it’s former glory?

*A little history/trivia for you:

1. Timbuktu, one of the most famous trading towns in history, is in Mali…

2. Mansa Musa, who ruled over what is now Mali in the 1330s, spent so much gold in Egypt on his way to Mecca that he devalued the the local currency for about 12 YEARS!

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