Thomas Sankara

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"We have to work at decolonizing our mentality and achieving happiness within the limits of sacrifice we should be willing to make. We have to recondition our people to accept themselves as they are, to not be ashamed of their real situation, to be satisfied with it, to glory in it, even."
—Thomas Sankara[1]

Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara (21 December 1949–15 October 1987) was the President of Burkina Faso, a Marxist-Leninist revolutionary, and someone who probably shot Anti-Vaxxers for sport.[2]

Early life[edit]

Sankara was born in 1949 in Yako, French Upper Volta as the third of ten children to Marguerite Kinda and Joseph Sankara.[3] He grew up Roman Catholic, and his parents wanted him to become a priest. He joined the military instead, which he used to gain a scholarship to the Kadiogo military academy. While there, he fell prey to the militant leftist agenda, and became a communist, an anti-imperialist, and otherwise pretty darn cool.[note 1] He was appointed Secretary of State for Information, but resigned, probably because they were so bourgeois. He issued a governmental callout post denouncing their anti-labor tendencies, for which he was automatically deported to a remote military camp.[4] But he came back.[note 2]

Presidency[edit]

Sankara became president of Burkina FasoWikipedia's W.svg as a result of a Coup d'état on August 4, 1983. While president, Sankara initiated many changes to the structure and policies within his country, primarily focused on fighting corruption, promoting public health, women's rights, environmental preservation, and becoming self-sufficient. He remained president for four years before being assassinated.

The Good™️[edit]

Between 1983-1987, the Sankara administration accomplished the following:

  • Redistributed feudal land to the workers.[5]
  • Implemeted irrigation and fertilization programs which heavily increased cotton and wheat production. The increase in wheat production eventually brought the country to complete self-sufficiency in food production.[5]
  • Vaccinated 2.5 million Burkinabé children against measles, meningitis, and yellow fever in two weeks, raising the rates of immunization from 11 percent to 75 percent.[6]
  • Planted 10 million trees over the course of a 15-month "People's Development Program."[7]
  • Banned female genital mutilation, forced marriages, or polygamy.
  • Increased access to clean water, electricity, and contraceptives.[8]
  • Sold the government standard Mercedes cars and made the Renault 5 (the cheapest car sold in Burkina Faso at that time) the official service car of the ministers.
  • Ordered wealthy civil servants to utilize one month's salary for public projects.[9]
  • Converted the OuagadougouWikipedia's W.svg army provision store to a state-owned supermarket open to all, the first of its kind in the country.

The Bad[edit]

Between 1983-1987, the Sankara administration also accomplished the following:

  • Attempted to increase the country's 10% illiteracy rate, which had some success in the first few years, but resulted in the firing of 2,500 teachers over strike negotiations gone sour.
  • Accused of engaging in show trials via the "People's Revolutionary Tribunals," to try former government officials on charges of corruption, tax evasion, and the like. The trial procedures did not conform to the international standards and often resulted in overturning the light sentences.
  • Census officials accidentally wandered into MalianWikipedia's W.svg territory, which was claimed to be an encroachment on their sovereignty. This resulted in 5-day war which killed about 100 civilians, most from a bomb dropped by a Malian plane.
  • Accused of human rights violations by Amnesty International, including extrajudicial executions and "arbitrary detentions of political opponents by the Committees for the Defence of the Revolution." [10]

Assassination[edit]

On October 15th, 1987, Sankara was killed in another coup organized by his ex-BFF Blaise CompaoréWikipedia's W.svg. The ex-colonial French may have also been involved in his death, as they have refused to release their security archives related to the assassination.[11] It's not like western government agencies have ever done anything of this sort, shame on us for even mentioning it!

See Also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. You know, like, objectively.
  2. Because of course he did.
  3. Get it? It's a red link because...there's no one as cool as him.

References[edit]