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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Daily LIFT #253

Thomas Sankara Speaks -- Daily LIFT #253

The great revolutionary Thomas Sankara took power on August 4, 1984 in Upper Volta. The name of the country was changed to Burkina Faso and his government launched an impressive program of reform and liberation that included public health, infrastructure, women's rights, land redistribution and much more.

Sankara was overthrown and assassinated in October, 1987.

"We think that debt has to be seen from the perspective of its origins. Debt’s origins come from colonialism’s origins. Those who lend us money are those who colonized us. They are the same ones who used to manage our states and economies. These are the colonizers who indebted Africa through their brothers and cousins, who were the lenders. We had no connections with this debt. Therefore we cannot pay for it.

Debt is neo-colonialism, in which colonizers have transformed themselves into “technical assistants.” We should rather say “technical assassins.” They present us with financing, with financial backers. As if someone’s backing could create development. We have been advised to go to these lenders. We have been offered nice financial arrangements. We have been indebted for 50, 60 years and even longer. That means we have been forced to compromise our people for over 50 years.

Under its current form, controlled and dominated by imperialism, debt is a skillfully managed reconquest of Africa, intended to subjugate its growth and development through foreign rules. Thus, each one of us becomes the financial slave, which is to say a true slave, of those who had been treacherous enough to put money in our countries with obligations for us to repay. We are told to repay, but it is not a moral issue. It is not about this so-called honor of repaying or not." - Sankara, speech to the Organization of African Unity, July 1987


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