Keep the memory of the trial for posterity
After a long wait of 34 years, by National, African and International opinion, the trial relating to the assassination of Thomas Sankara and his fellow victims has finally opened on 11 October 2021 amidst the enthusiasm of the Burkina Faso people. The extensive media coverage on the first day of the trial, with a large number of journalists from all over the world, confirmed the historic nature of this trial.
We, historians, researchers, lawyers, artists, journalists, political and community activists, and citizens from the world over, were astonished to learn that, despite the prosecutor’s request, arguing that the trial had a ‘democratic, historical and memorial purpose’, the military court has refused to allow that the trial be filmed and recorded. Many voices in Burkina Faso have called for the trial to be filmed, broadcast and conserved as a historical archive.
In a press release dated 15 October 2021 Mariam Sankara vigorously protested against this decision: “We dare to believe that the Military Tribunal will reconsider and hope that it will grant this request. For it is not only a question of judging the actors of this crime, but also of informing the people, of remembering, with the modern means of communication, this important moment of our collective and individual history. We must learn from it forever in terms of mutual respect and the sanctity of life for present and future generations.”
The trial has implications for the history of Burkina Faso, Africa and beyond, as well as for national construction. We therefore urge the military court to reverse its decision and to accept that the trial be filmed and entrusted to the national archives of Burkina Faso for documentary and historical purposes. We also urge the defence lawyers not to oppose this.
Even if the audiovisual archive of the trial is not made immediately public, its creation is a historical imperative, determining specific conditions of access may be done later.
It is not too late to safeguard the memory of the trial for the history and construction of Burkina Faso as a nation. Any authority and goodwill that can help in this regard is strongly welcomed.
Ra Sablga Seydou Ouedraogo, Researcheur, Executive Directeur of the FREE Afrik institute, Ouagadougou
Brian Peterson historien, Albany NY, auteur de Thomas Sankara A Revolutionary in Cold War Africa
Amber Murrey, Associate Professor in Geography at Oxford University, author of: A certain Amount of Madness, The Life, Politics and Legacies of Thomas Sankara, Oxford,
Bruno Jaffré, author of works on Burkina Faso and the Burkina Faso revolution, Director of the website thomassankara.net Paris
First signatures: Alfred Sawadogo, Zakaria Soré, Gnaka Lagoke, Smockey, Horace Campbell, Aziz Salmone Fall, Leo Zeiling, Dr. Moussa Traore, Ama Biney, Dr. Harper-Shipman Takiyah,
Supported by: Réseau international Justice pour Sankara justice pour l’Afrique, Balai citoyen, SURVIE, CADTM, Comité Sankara de Montpellier, Ligue des Jeunes (Burkina), REPPADD-NIGER, Per a Pace
Target: 10000 Signatures Received: 45
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Total Signatures: 45