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In a message commemorating the death of Thomas Sankara on 15 October 1987, Mariam Sankara calls on the people to continue the struggle not only for justice for Thomas Sankara, but also for Africa.

My dear friends,
My dear comrades,

In this 50th anniversary year of African independence, let us give a special thought for those who fought to liberate Africa from the yoke of domination and imperialism: Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Emery Lumumba, Ruben Um Nyobe, Amical Cabral, Samora Machel and the many other heroes of the liberation struggle.

Because of their passionate commitment to the African cause and to Pan-Africanism, the cause of justice, because of the battles they led – often at the price of their lives – we don’t have the right NOT to strengthen our determination in our struggles and battles, despite obstacles of all kinds, to end the scourges that are obstacles to effective development and that all our people know: Social injustice, dictatorship, corruption, the plundering of the wealth of our continent, impunity…

The commemoration of the 23rd anniversary of the assassination of President Thomas Sankara and the companions who fell with him on 15 October 1987 holds a very special meaning for us, as Thomas Sankara, whose actions were inspired by those of his elders, fought against all forms of oppression and injustice, the fight of his life, both in Africa and worldwide.

That’s why I ask all those who claim his ideals to remain vigilant and to strengthen their efforts, so that that the flame lit by his struggles continues to expose, throughout the world, the ways of those in ‘the shadows, we do not see’, to try to end the barbarous logic that Bertolt Brecht denounced in his day:

‘Some are in the shadows
Others are in the light
We see those in the light
Those in the shadows, we do not see’

That is why I ask all those who fight beside me and the Sankara family to continue their mobilisation, as they have done for 23 years, so that justice can be done for Thomas Sankara and for his brave companions in this the struggle against the impunity enjoyed by their killers and those who sponsored them, a struggle for a future of Africa in which you can longer kill with impunity.

That is why, finally, I invite all my Burkinabe countrymen to unite on the side of the Burkinabe people so that, by their votes, in future presidential elections, we can at last see real change in our society, and end all the injustice, the misery and frustration inflicted on the majority of the population for the past 23 years under the regime of Biase Compaore.

Even if the road seems fraught with pitfalls, I am certain that, thanks to your determination, your courage and your selflessness, we shall overcome.



There are a number of events planned over the next few days to commemorate the assassination of Thomas Sankara, in Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, Togo, Sain, Italy, France, Germany and Canada… The programme of events is available on the Thomas Sankara website.

Today will allow the ‘Justice for Sankara, Justice for Africa’ campaign to reach new levels, with the collection of several new signatures.

Let us remember that this petition has already received 4,000 signatures over the internet alone, in addition to the many signatures collected on sheets of paper. The petition is supported by a number of personalities, notably José Bové, Tiken Jah Fakoly, Eduardo Galeano (writer), Didier Awadi, Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda, Jean Ziegler, Alain Mabanckou (writer, prix Renaudot 2006), Didier Daeninckx (writer), Guy-Patrice Lumumba, Alain Lipietz, Nicole Kiil-Nielsen (MEP), Luigi De Magistris (MEP) etc and many parties and associations.

The petition text and list of supporters is available here.

It calls for an international, independent enquiry and the opening of archives so that foreign responsibility for the assassination of Thomas Sankara can be brought to light.


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