Open letter to UN May 2014
Assi walet Hitta, Tuareg political organizer and leader of the Azawad Women’s Association, has issued an open letter to Bert Koenders, Representative to the United Nations in Mali.
- Mali has made a parody of democracy.
- Mali has not practiced good governance.
- Mali has been unable to build a pluralistic nation, for 54 years now.
- The United Nations is supposed to be neutral, and we were expecting that the UN would act impartially.
- But your press release on May 18, 2014, is based on the unfounded accusations by the Malian government.
- We cannot remain silent, when the United Nations is ignoring – in silence – the inhumane actions of the Malian army, firing live ammunition on defenseless people.
- On May 16, 2014, twenty civilians were injured by the Malian army firing live ammunition at them – and these include women and children.
- Where is your indignation at the Malian army for such injuries and abuses?
- When the United Nations ignores the Malian army’s abuses against us, we cannot rely on the United Nations.
- We cannot rely on the United Nations to investigate the massacres committed on the white populations of Azawad from 1963 to the present day.
- It is your mission and duty to at least be neutral, to not support one side and ignore the other, since you are supposed to be the defender and guarantor of human rights.
- The Malian state is in disrepair.
- Mali’s leaders lack the desire for real peace.
- Mali’s army is racist [against “white” or “light-skinned” Africans such as Tuaregs], and they tend to use the Azawad as a testing ground for their racist actions against defenseless populations.
- We want the United Nations to understand that the real challenge that Mali faces is not to “reconquer Kidal” – which is occupied by people of Kidal – or to watch jealously over colonial butchering – but to renew the desire [for us all] to live together on a sound basis.
- The essence of the “nation” is the desire to live together – the recognition of differences, and [the will and ability] to transcend them.
- The international community defends Mali – but it is important to remember that Mali’s origin was the result of a Colonizer carving up territories without the consent or endorsement of the people living in this land.
- Peacekeeping is a social contract between communities, based on good governance, respect for human rights, self-management – and the recognition of repeated genocide committed against white civilian populations.
- We want the United Nations’ mission of peace to succeed, because we are the main victims of this war, and we will be the beneficiaries of peace.
- And that is why we have always asked for dialogue.
- But the Malian authorities do not act with wisdom: they have responded with divisive tactics, military forces, pogroms, and abuses of all kinds.
- Our message is clear: the people of Azawad will make no economy of sacrifice to achieve our legitimate aspirations.
- The only way to spare our people of the horrors of war is a sincere and respectful dialogue, based on a collective awareness for peace and justice.
- Such a dialogue requires humility and clarity.
- When the people of Mali had other serious difficulties – the coup d’etat, for example – the international community showed prudence, offered dialogue, and listened to them to find solutions; Mali was considered a badly bruised and torn nation.
- We are strongly convinced that, if the problem of Azawad were treated the same way, it would be resolved much faster.
- We also recall that terrorist groups and drug traffickers have been embedded in the Sahara/Sahel for more than a decade, while the states of this region watched helplessly and indifferently – or even indulgently and in complicity with them.
- The terrorist groups and drug traffickers pose a serious threat to the people of Azawad.
- The people of Azawad are not fundamentalists or traffickers.
- We will fight with all our strength against this danger to our people.
- We are sending you this letter to draw your attention to the regard that we have for the United Nations, knowing that your organization is committed to peace.
- Will you then permit us, your Excellency, full involvement with the international community in our appeal to the leaders of Mali.
- The veils have fallen, and there is no longer any impediment to a constructive dialogue, to recognize the suffering that the people of Azawad have endured for three generations – to recognize the aspiration of the people of Azawad to live in liberty and dignity, to believe in their capacity to be responsible for their destiny, and to live in peace with their neighbors.
- The lands – they are also the peoples, the ultimate source from which States draw their legitimacy. The people must be heard, beyond their states – by the international community.
- Thousands of Azawadiens are refugees in neighboring countries, having fled the abuses of the Malian army and Malian militias, which have never stopped.
- Such abuses have already carried away thousands of women, men, elders, and children, who have had no other crime than to want to live in peace on their lands.
- For you to support, unconditionally, a State whose leaders have such a lack of spirit, will not bring a durable peace.
Please accept, your Excellency the United Nations Representative in Mali, our highest regards,
— Assi walet Hitta
[Tuareg political organizer and leader of the Azawad Women’s Association]
The original Appeal is in French: https://www.facebook.com/AssociationFemmesAzawad