Status of War Torn Mali

Bamako Mali, a country that once prided itself as being one of the most progressive nations in the African continent is in a sad state of affairs today. While I was there during the coup d’etat of June of 2012 I was able to witness first hand the ramifications of an ongoing political tug of war. The parliaments and governmental offices located in the capital of Bamako are all on the same side of the Niger river. Access to this area is restricted by 3 bridges. The ousted government in a tit for tat retaliation countered by closing all three bridges after everyone left their offices during their lunch break. No one was allowed back until the next day. Upon arrival they discovered that all of their computers, servers and documents were GONE. All legal documents, records, deeds, land titles, you name it, were also GONE. Fast forward to 7 months when the French government decided to intervene and help its former colony. Getting emergency supplies into Mali has been difficult throughout the ongoing civil war. Even now with the French forces on the ground in Mali it is still very difficult to get supplies to the needy. We have been sending money via western union to the orphanages we support. Another non profit has figured out a way to get supplies to the needy safely by partnering with local NGOs GRAT (Groupe de Recherche et d’Applications Techniques) and APH (Actions de Promotion Humaine). So far they have been able to get food to 50,000 people. Bravo! What a smart move to partner with local teams on the ground. This is indeed the safest solution as the locals are better equipped to navigate throughout the country, in unmarked vehicles and without drawing attention to themselves. Hopefully, some of our larger non profits will learn from their example and be able to do the same in Syria as well as other countries in need.

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Tina Cornely is a long standing humanitarian and environmental activist. She is the former Director of Technology of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and the former Director of Operations at the Miami Art Museum in Miami, Florida. Ms. Cornely believes that art is healing and revealing. In her own words, we can express with art what we cannot express with words. When we use art to teach others, we help increase their critical thinking skills exponentially. Art can also be a means to generate a revenue source. And when you make art out of trash, everyone benefits.

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