Memories, Violence, Tuareg Rebellions and State Building in Mali and Niger

Monday, 16 July 2018: 16:00
Oral Presentation
Adib BENCHERIF, Université d'Ottawa, Canada
The aim of this article is to compare the memories of the Tuareg rebellions in the postcolonial states of Mali and Niger. These countries lived two synchronic Tuareg rebellions during the 1990s. However, after the peace agreements, they took two very different paths. The Malian state is now considered as trapped in cyclical Tuareg rebellions while the state of Niger seems to have achieved the reconciliation with the Tuareg communities. Many authors are explaining the Tuareg rebellions by using a functionalist framework. For them, the causes of the rebellion are the lack of political and economic inclusivity of the Tuareg minority in the two countries and the failure of the decentralization implementation in the northern parts of the country. However, the process of decentralization seems more advanced in Mali than in Niger. Furthermore, we can observe significant progress in the integration of Tuareg in Mali and Niger since the 1990s. Then, to understand the difference between the two cases, we must focus on the memories and representations of the political violence. The representations and memories of the Tuareg communities, particularly of their elites, are under-studied. However, memories and how they are used by the actors are a key piece of the puzzle to explain the emergence of an armed rebellion or the acceptance of the political national rules. To answer the following question: “How the Tuareg communities are depicting their relations within the state?”, we used two methodological tools: discourse analysis and ethnography. Based on a field research and semi-structured interviews conducted in Mali and Niger, we will be able to map the different representations and memories of the Tuareg communities and mobilized by their elites.