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Nigerien artists refuse to let culture be "taken away"
17/09/2023 20:46 in World News

This Nigerian flautist and singer has a message. This is a measure against France, the country's former colonial power, which bans cultural venues from collaborating with domestic artists.


"The French have to respect us. If we say, Ah, I won't give you a visa', it's like saying to a child, Ah, if you don't, I won't buy you candy' .At that level, we went above and beyond,"  said Yacouba Moumouni. He is not alone in sharing this view and message.  In Niger, artists are reacting to, among other things, France's decision to suspend visa issuance for its citizens.


"We won't beg. We are the world's business. We are the world's artists. And the world has to deal with us. We cannot exclude our culture from the culture of the world,” said Rachid Ramane, president of the Niger Federation of Cultural and Artistic Associations.


Ramane emphasized: "Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and Mali today are facing problems, and not the least important ones. Demands for independence and autonomy are not excessive. People need to understand them.".


On Thursday, a letter sent by the French Directorate of Culture to national theater and choreographic centers called for an immediate halt to all projects involving citizens of Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso. For Garba Mahamane Lawali, director of the Niger Music Training and Promotion Center, any culture that is not open but closed in on itself is a dead culture. "In Africa, we thank God; we are open to everyone, and if it were not for the fact that we cannot go to France, we would have Africa and other places in the world. They just need to close down. We'll see." If they can evolve, then all they have to do is be more moderate. The time has come. It is time for them to have intelligence to face this new era.”


Led by military juntas that have dismissed their democratically elected presidents, Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso are currently engaged in a diplomatic conflict with their former colonial power, France.


On July 29 and August 6, France suspended all budget support and development aid to Niger and Burkina Faso. She did so for Mali in November 2022.

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