Friday, December 12, 2003

PASSING OF AHMADOU KOUROUMA
I was saddened to learn of the passing of the great writer Ahmadou Kourouma at 76 years. Native of the north of Cote d'Ivoire, he lived in exile after having angered the regime of the late Felix Houphouet-Boigny and more recently, of the current head of state Laurent Gbagbo, Houphouet's sworn enemy. His first work is considered one of the great classics of African literature. Published in 1970, Le Soleil des indépendances (The Sun of the Independances) addressed the sensitive topic of what had become of the newly sovereign African states. He also received literary prizes for his excellent book En attendant le vote des bêtes sauvages (Waiting for the Vote of the Savage Beasts) which skewered the autocratic party-state system and for the powerful Allah n'est pas obligé (Allah is Not Obliged) on the tragic life of a West African child soldier. I strongly recommend all three.

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