News / Europe

Malians in France Hold Hope, Keep Eye on Mali

A French elite Special Operations soldier drives through the town of Markala, about 275 km (171 miles) from the capital Bamako, January 15, 2013, to meet Malian soldiers and organize a counter-attack in the jihadist-held town of Diabaly.
A French elite Special Operations soldier drives through the town of Markala, about 275 km (171 miles) from the capital Bamako, January 15, 2013, to meet Malian soldiers and organize a counter-attack in the jihadist-held town of Diabaly.
Lisa Bryant
About 100,000 Malians live in France and they are closely watching events in their homeland, where the French military launched its first ground assault against an Islamist insurgency Wednesday. One of the biggest Malian communities is located in the Paris suburb of Montreuil.

Foyer Bara, a hostel for Malian immigrant workers, sits on a small street just a couple of blocks from the subway station. It's a dark, rundown building, but full of activity

The central courtyard has been transformed into an informal street market. There are a couple of barbers. Other Malians sell candies and hot food from makeshift stands. Still others gather on this chilly day to discuss events in their homeland, where French troops are trying to halt an Islamist insurgency.

Moussa Doucoure, who helps run the Bara hostel, credited France for getting his country out of what he called a mess. He scoffed at the extremists for calling themselves Islamic.They are only bandits and thugs, he said, who rape women and cut off people's limbs.

Another Bara resident, Sigama Sekou said France is doing the right thing.  

Sekou praised the French military for doing a remarkable job. He's been in France for 10 years, and said he feels welcome and respected here.

About 6,000 Malians live in Montreuil, a population so significant that it's earned this suburb the nickname "Little Bamako."

Claude Reznik, who's in charge of international cooperation at city hall, said Montreuil's Malian community is important - but not just because of its size.

Reznik said Malians have been in Montreuil for a long time - and this city has nurtured longstanding ties with an area in the Kayes region of western Mali, where many here come from. He said the municipality is just as worried about the crisis in Mali as its Malian residents.

Montreuil's leftist government is taking action to help Malians at home - trying to restore dilapidated, overcrowded workers' hostels like Bara.

Reznik called it unjust and inhuman to offer such abysmal conditions to people who live, work and pay taxes in France.

Yeli Doucoure, who is in charge of another Malian hostel, said his family in Mali is doing well. He also comes from Mali's Kayes region, which has not been directly affected by the Islamist insurgency. But he said Malians feel like a single family. They share the same customs and Islamic religion - and anger at the extremists who seized control of the north.

Doucoure said Malians will never forget the military help that France has offered. He hopes the French soldiers in Mali stay safe.

You May Like

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, even music are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. Faith Lapidus narrates a report from VOA’s June Soh.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, even music are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. Faith Lapidus narrates a report from VOA’s June Soh.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid