I have noticed that I have been feeling numb about the terror attacks around the world. So much hatred, so much pain, so much violence; I respond with self-protection. i guess it’s ‘compassion fatigue’.
But this piece by the magnificent Salif Keita and his band cracked my protective shell open, just a little, and the grief walled up behind was able to escape, and be felt … just a little.
Keita is from Mali, the site of the most recent terror attacks.
So is Fatoumata Diawara. Here she sings part of the soundtrack from the movie Timbuktu, which is about the impact of religious extremists on the people of northern Mali.
And I was able to cry a little more.
The attack on the Radisson Hotel in Bamako is not necessarily linked to the Paris attacks the week before, but it’s still an expression of religious craziness, hatred and intolerance.
Among the dead is an American aid worker, Anita Datar. One of Anita’s neighbours described her as a person who was dedicated ‘to making the world more just’. In trying to come to terms with her senseless death, he drew inspiration from her life, saying that ‘the values she lived tell us a great deal about how to respond’.
I guess that’s as much as most of us can do — try and always act from a position of compassion and commitment to social justice, in the hope that collectively we can, one day, somehow, put an end to the madness.
I’m finishing this post with Fatoumata Diawara and other Malian greats singing about the tragedy of extremism in Mali, because their callout for unity, love and peace applies to the whole world. And if we haven’t got hope, we’ve got nothing.