The Role of Race in Mali's War

The Role of Race in Mali's War

I don't know one word of Tamasheq, the ancient Berber language spoken by Tuaregs, tens of thousands of whom are currently living as refugees in northern Burkina Faso. But one thing I could understand from the group of Tuareg men I sat with under a tent in Mentao – an inhospitable refugee camp a few hundred kilometres from the border with Mali – was the repeated gesture as they pointed to their skin.

"C'est à cause de la peau claire", the interpreter said over and over again in French. In English: "It's because of our light skin."

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