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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Aminata Traoré interdite de séjour en France

by Rosa Mousaoui

Aminata Traoré persona non grata in France !

Translated Wednesday 24 April 2013, by Isabelle Métral

Mali’s Former Minister For Culture Denied a Renewal Of Her Visa.
Is France making Aminata Traoré pay for her opposition to the war in Northern Mali? The question is well worth asking, seeing how the French consulate refused to deliver a visa to a renowned essayist, no-global militant and former Malian minister for culture.

Aminata Traoré was invited by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, the Prokla daily and the association AfricAvenir to take part in a convention in Berlin from the 17th to the 19th of April on the theme “Mali at the crossroads, after the military intervention and before the general elections”. Her four-year circulation visa having expired in February, she asked the consulate for a renewal, which was immediately refused. The German consulate in Bamako eventually delivered a safe-conduct at the last minute so she could fly to Berlin. On the absolute condition that she leave Germany on April 19th. Another invited guest, Oumar Mariko, general secretary of the Sadi party (African Solidarity for Democracy and Independence) was refused all document whatsoever. On her return Aminata Traoré was summoned to the German consulate to make sure she had not overstayed her leave. Aminata Traoré suspects France of having exerted pressure on its European partners in order to dissuade them from giving her a Schengen visa. Because she was not allowed to stop in France she was forced to fly back via Istanbul and Dakar, which meant an exhausting, 26-hour-long journey. As to the public meetings in which Aminata Traoré was to take part, they must take place without her!

“This leaves me with a deep sense of injustice, all the stronger as this visa problem links up with a serious legal dispute between France and Malians [1],” she protested. “It is now clear that I am being demonized on account of my positions. What kind of dialogue, solidarity, or reconciliation is France talking about when in addition to living in a country under foreign military occupation we are denied the right to move about freely?” Right from the beginning of the “Serval” operation, Aminata Traoré opposed the French military intervention very stridently as being an instance of neo-colonial interference. “The war that has been imposed on Mali today is no war of liberation for the Malian people, but a war for the pillaging of our resources, (…) a war led by a former colonial power in order to secure advantageous positions”, she argued at the world social forum in Tunis in late March. Whether or not one approves of her analysis of the serious crisis Mali is laboring under, preventing a voice that is so influent in Africa to make itself heard by depriving a respected intellectual of the freedom of movement clearly belies the virtuous democratic pretensions proclaimed in Bamako and Timbuktu by President Hollande.

[1Over the possibility of France forcefully “returning” Malian immigrants to their home country

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