[Note: Thomas Sankara, president of Burkina Faso from 1983-87, was assassinated on October 15, 1987. This letter was written on the 25th anniversary of his death and modified slightly after.]
Dear President Sankara,
It was 25 years ago this autumn that you were removed from office and killed. So much has happened since then. Your beloved Burkina Faso, the country you renamed to reflect the upright nature of the people there, is imperiled. The vast majority is impoverished and frustrated by the current state of affairs. Your former comrade, Blaise Compaoré, who was instrumental in bringing you to power and supporting you, had eventually engineered your removal and assassination. He has most certainly congratulated himself on this twenty-fifth anniversary in power. Recently, Blaise won his last election but quickly set to work on how he could maneuver around a constitutional amendment that limits a president to two terms. Strange! He is currently serving his fourth term and has indicated he will run yet again in 2015.i
I imagine you are not surprised by this turn of events. You were making predictions about how your removal was inevitable in the years, months, and weeks leading up to the dark, fateful day when Africa lost a powerful and fiercely independent voice. It also probably would not surprise you that most people around the world have never heard of you and they most certainly won’t pay heed to the reminders of this tragic anniversary by international media or official government ceremonies. There will surely be commemorations in your honor but the silence will ultimately be deafening.
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Continue reading An Open Letter to the Spirit of a Rebellious Leader, by ADAM CHIMIENTI