By IBON International
17 October 2012
Dakar – Leaders from the academe, student groups, trade union, women organizations, as well as former ministers and media practitioners from various West African countries paid tribute to the African hero and martyr Captain Thomas Sankara in an event co-organized by Africa Forum for Alternatives and the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS) in Centre Bop, on October 15, 2012.
Captain Thomas Sankara became president of Burkina Fasso in 1983 after a coup supported by the people to topple down French colonial domination in the country in 1983.
He has carried out steps to safeguard and promote sovereignty, democracy and self-reliance of Burkina Fasso and opposed neoliberal policies up until he was assassinated in a French-backed coup of Blaise Campaore in 1987.
Demba Moussa Dembele, of Africa Forum for Alternatives welcomed the participants and highlighted the importance of remembering and emulating the legacy of Thomas Sankara and his revolutionary ideals especially by the African youth. Africa Forum for Alternatives has been organizing tributes for Sankara every five years since his death in 1987.
Africa Forum for Alternatives, a member of the ILPS, thanked the league for co-organizing the event. Demba related that the ILPS Coordinating Committee readily adopted their proposal to hold homage activities for Sankara in different countries wherein it has members. Similar tributes for Sankara were also organized in Europe and North America.
Prof. Jose Maria Sison, chairperson of ILPS, speaking through a pre-recorded video, announced that ILPS gives value to Sankara’s vision of African development and contribution to African unity in line with his firm anti-imperialist stand and militant support for anti-imperialist struggles of the people in Africa and all over the world.
“It is the honor of ILPS to help propagate the heroic example and revolutionary legacy of Thomas Sankara in order to inspire all anti-imperialist and democratic forces to raise the level of their revolutionary strength and achieve greater victories through revolutionary struggle against imperialism and its reactionary puppets,” Prof. Sison added.
Boubacar Diop, a journalist who has interviewed Sankara in 1987, months before he was assassinated, shared his impression of the man. He described Sankara as a “man in a hurry who doesn’t seem to know when to rest.” He reminded the audience that Sankara was not alone in staging the revolution. He mentioned that Zongo and Langare, fellow military officers of Sankara, were also killed when Sankara was assassinated.
AmenitaTraore, former Minister of Culture of Mali, said that Sankara’s heroism is still very much relevant today due to the ongoing capitalist crisis. She narrated how Sankara has repudiated foreign debt of Burkina Faso and has instilled self reliance by promoting agricultural production that is not dependent on the world capitalist system.
Prof. Maurice Fahe from Côte d’Ivoire called on the African youth to relive the ideals of Sankara and to stand up against imperialism. He stressed the need to organize the masses and make them aware how imperialist countries are plundering the wealth of Africa.
IBON International also pointed out the notable practices of Sankara on international solidarity among anti-imperialist organizations to oppose imperialist interventions and tyranny in poor countries as in the cases of Palestinians against Zionism and the South Africans against Apartheid.
In closing, Prof. Sison stressed the relevance of Sankara’s revolutionary ideas and deeds of Thomas Sankara to inspire the resistance of the African peoples and light up the path of their revolutionary struggle.
After the forum, the commemoration of Sankara’s heroism continued in film showings and cultural presentations that featured documentaries and local musicians.