Mali: The Day the Music Died

What’s missing from this New York Times piece about Mali, the country that gave us music stars like Salif Keita [photo] and Ali Farka Touré?


The paper notes that about nine months ago,

Armed militants sent death threats to local musicians; many were forced into exile. Live music venues were shut down, and militants set fire to guitars and drum kits.

There are many theories for the reasons behind the music ban. Some point to religious fanaticism that sees music as a distraction from single-minded devotion. Others suggest that the ban was an attempt to sabotage the economy by gutting one of Mali’s primary export industries. Perhaps the militants, who cut off the hands of thieves and whip those who drink alcohol, just wanted to terrorize people.

Anything jump out at you when you read the whole thing?

To me, it was this: While there’s no doubt about the pro-music sympathies of Sujatha Fernandes, who authored the article, it seems odd that the word “Muslim,” as either a noun or an adjective, appears nowhere in her article. I thought it might be worth pointing the finger squarely at the fundies who, when it gets down to it, do more than just kill the buzz.

[image via]