Demba Boundy reports from Mali

Americans focus on work and making money, more than anything else. They don’t have time to spend hours drinking tea and socializing. And they know very little about the outside world.

These are the ‘stereotypes’ that Malians project on Americans.

Or, to put it another way, Malians understand Americans surprisingly well even if most Americans don’t know the first thing about Malians or their country.

This glimpse of Malians is provided by Demba Boundy, an independent journalist and English teacher in Bamako, during a conversation with Robert Wright.

Some viewers might treat Boundy’s assessment of the likely success of France’s intervention in Mali with skepticism, but I doubt very much that there will be many visitors to this site who can claim to be more knowledgeable about this West African state or the surrounding region.

(On one point, the size of the Tuareg population, when Boundy says they only amount to 2% of the population, I think this might be misleading — at least based on what I can glean from Wikipedia. The whole Malian population of 14.5 million is very unevenly divided between the north and south with only 10% of the population in the north. The estimated size of the Tuareg population is 450,000 — though this must fluctuate since they are nomadic. That would mean that in northern Mali, about 30% of the population is Tuareg.)

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