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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Wish for Peace- Cote d'Ivoire

My father was driving in Abidjan very late one night and ran a red light. A policeman saw him go through the light and followed my father and indicated he should stop. My father apologized and asked the police officer to give him a break. This was during a politically charged time in Cote d’Ivoire. At this time, in 2000, Alassane Ouattara, a Muslim, was trying to get on the ballot to run for President of Cote d’Ivoire. Many people opposed this for a variety of reasons. My father, who was Christian and Baoule- the ethnic group that had dominated Ivorian politics since independence and many of its members had opposed Mr. Ouattara’ candidacy. My father gave the police officer his driver’s license and other requested paperwork.

This police officer, who was Muslim, and most likely a supporter of Mr. Ouattara, recognized immediately from my father’s name that he was Baoule and commented on this fact. The police officer said he would give my father a break and not give him a ticket if he answered this question correctly, “Who should be our next president?” My father said the person who should be our next president is one who would make him and the police officer remember that they were brothers. The police officer laughed and said, “ Brother go on.”

I wish Cote d’Ivoire peace as my father did. Give a listen to one of Cote d’Ivoire’s greatest musicians and my former neighbor -Alpha Blondy.

1 comment:

Osman Ouattara said...

I'm proud of you Sojourner. Keep up the good work!!