January 3 – Anniversary of a Coup in Burkina Faso

Posted on January 3, 2018

The full name of this public holiday is "Anniversary of the 1966 Upper Voltan Coup d'État." 

Let me translate that a bit:

Upper Volta is the old name for Burkina Faso. This landlocked African nation used to be a French colony.

Coup d'état is the term for a sudden, usually violent, illegal change of government. A coup can be the military snatching control of a civilian government, or it can be a well-armed group killing or forcing into exile governmental officials, or it can be the people as a whole rising up and taking over from a corrupt and unpopular government.

On this date in 1966, a general strike began against the harsh and corrupt president of Upper Volta. President Yaméogo had not only made opposing political parties illegal, he had unfairly rigged elections in his favor and had restricted labor unions.

When huge numbers of protesting workers stormed the ruling party's headquarters and the National Assembly, the military turned against the president - they did not follow the president's orders to shoot protesters. Soon, a military leader stepped in and grabbed power for himself.

Unfortunately for the people of Upper Volta - now Burkina Faso - the new leader wasn't that much better than the old. Tragically, since then most governments have been unseated through force rather than from the peaceful transfer of power. Coups, not elections, have tended to be the way rulers got their power.

The current president, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, WAS elected, and he is the first non-interim president in half a century to have no ties to the military. Hopefully he will rule his complete legal term, the people will elect his successor, and the nation will continue on a more democratic path!

Check out some of the gorgeous sights of Burkina Faso:

As always, I love these uniquely decorative structures.

As always, I love falling water...water falling...

As always, people are beautiful! Their eyes, their smiles, their styles!

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