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Afrikan Revolutionary Thomas Sankara's Example Lives On

Afrikan Revolutionary Thomas Sankara's Example Lives On

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Published by Rbg Street Scholar
Afrikan Revolutionary Thomas Sankara's Example Lives On
Afrikan Revolutionary Thomas Sankara's Example Lives On

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Published by: Rbg Street Scholar on Jul 09, 2012
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01/31/2013

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RBG Blakademics November. 2010African revolutionary Thomas Sankara's example lives onPage 1 
 
Thomas Sankara rose to power in Burkina Faso in a popularly supported coup in 1983. To symbolize thisrebirth, he renamed his country from the French colonial Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, Land of Upright Men"and launched the most ambitious program for social and economic change ever attempted on the Africancontinent.http://www.newsreel.org/nav/title.asp?tc=CN0205 
 Afrikan Revolutionary ThomasSankara's Example Lives On
 
 
RBG Blakademics November. 2010African revolutionary Thomas Sankara's example lives onPage 2 
 African revolutionary Thomas Sankara'sexample lives on
Text written by
Demba Moussa Dembélé
 
Thomas Sankara was killed in the belief that itcould extinguish the example he set forAfrican youth and progressive forces acrossthe continent. They could not have been morewrong. One week before his assassination onOctober 15, 1987, in a speech marking the20th anniversary of the assassination ofErnesto ``Che'' Guevara, Thomas Sankaradeclared: ``Ideas cannot be killed, ideas
never die.’' Indeed, the history of humanity is
replete with martyrs and heroes whose ideasand actions have survived the passage timeto inspire future generations.Their ideas, courage and sacrifice for thefreedom and dignity of their people havemade these martyrs larger than life. ThomasIsidore Sankara is one in a long lineage ofAfrican sons and daughters whose ideas andactions have left an indelible mark on thehistory of their continent. That is why 21 yearsafter his death, Sankara continues to guidethose who are struggling to end thedomination of their continent and theenslavement of its peoples.
Sankara’s great popularity is in part a reflection of Africans’ disillusionment with
corruptleaders who are incapable of meeting the basic needs of their peoples and who taketheir marching orders from Western capital and institutions like the World Bank and the
International Monetary Fund (IMF). Sankara’s popularity is also rooted in the
profoundsincerity of his commitment to serving his people, his devotion to the cause of theemancipation of the Burkinabés and all African peoples. His charisma, honesty andintegrity made him a hero for the ``wretched of the Earth'', to coin a phrase from FrantzFanon, who was greatly admired by Sankara.
 
RBG Blakademics November. 2010African revolutionary Thomas Sankara's example lives onPage 3 
A great visionary
 
 Above all, however, Sankara’s ongoing popularity is due to
the ideas and values he embodied during his brief time onthe African and international stage. Indeed, if Sankaraarouses as much fervour today as he did 21 years ago, it isbecause he embodied and defended causes that stillresonate today among the oppressed in Africa and aroundthe world. Sankara was a genuine revolutionary and agreat visionary who had the courage to take on the mostdifficult challenges and who held great ambitions for hiscountry and Africa.Most of the ideas or causes he defended two decades agoare still at the heart of the struggle for the economic, socialand political emancipation of peoples around the world. Hewas an environmentalist ahead of his time in a so-called``poor'' country that was supposed to have other morepressing priorities than the environment.Sankara was one of the first heads of state, perhaps the only one in his time, tocondemn female excision, a position that reflected his unwavering commitment to theemancipation of women and the struggle against all forms of discrimination againstwomen.He was a relentless advocate of gender equality and the recognition of the role ofwomen in all spheres of economic and social life. In his famous speech of October 2,1983, he stated: ``We cannot transform society while maintaining domination anddiscrimination against women who constitute over half of the population.''His unrelenting struggle against corruption, long before the World Bank and the IMFpicked up on this issue, made Sankara an enemy of all corrupt presidents on thecontinent and of the international capitalist mafia for whom corruption is a tool forconquering markets and pillaging the resources of the global South.Sankara rejected the inevitability of ``poverty'', and was one of the first proponents offood security. He achieved the spectacular feat of making his country food self-sufficientwithin four years, through sensible agricultural policy and, above all, the mobilisation ofthe Burkinabé peasantry. He understood that a country that could not feed itself ran therisk of losing its independence and sovereignty.In July 1987, Sankara, close on the heels of Fidel Castro two years earlier, called on
 African countries to form a powerful front against their continent’s illegitimate and
immoral debt and to collectively refuse to pay it.

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