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(Photo by Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images).

MPs attend a plenary session to debate motion on French colonisation at the parliament in Tunis, Tunisia on June 09, 2020.

Tunisia's Bold Move to Demand Apology from French Colonisers Rejected

The motion to demand that France apologise to Tunisia for its colonisation has been rejected with politicians saying, 'We are not going to feed Tunisians with such motions.'

Tunisia's parliament has recently rejected a motion put forward by the Al-Karama coalition which demanded an apology from France for the "murder and torture, the brutality of French colonialism". Seifeddine Makhlouf, the leader of the coalition which currently occupies 19 of the 217 seats in parliament, had insisted that the apology would be a move towards "[healing] the wounds of the past". According to Aljazeera, the motion fell short by 109 votes needed for it to pass.

READ: Belgium Has Apologized to its Former African Colonies for Kidnapping their Mixed-Race Children

The details of the motion included the European country taking responsibility for the "crimes, assassinations, torture, rape, forced deportation and looting of natural resources" before Tunisia eventually obtained its independence in 1956.

However, resistance to the motion was voiced out by leader of the Qalb Tounes opposition party, Osama Khelifi, who said that, "We are not going to feed Tunisians with such motions." Ultimately, the significance of France as a trade partner in light of Tunisia's longstanding economic crisis swung the vote and moved for the motion to be dismissed.

Given the current climate, the motion was a bold move by Tunisian opposition leaders in their attempts to have the injustices of colonialism acknowledged. With the continued Black Lives Matter protests in America, and now several other countries in the world, colonialism and its various symbols have been cast into the spotlight as racist systems of oppression are being interrogated.

More recently, Belgian authorities removed the statue of King Leopold II from Antwerp square, amid the mass protests in the country. The monarch was responsible for the murder of an estimated 10 million Congolese people in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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