Le Monde: Chad – 1979

March 27, 2021
As a research journalist from the l970s, I would clip all things from everywhere as future stories to write. Forty years later, I am in the grand ‘sort and toss’ of all those bankers boxes filled with those saved news stories that I never got to. Some of those stories I just cannot let go of. I talked to my podcast partner, Agnes, about it on a recent show.

“I don’t know what to do. The black and white photos haunt me, from LOOK magazine. In the day, that magazine was ‘the’ media in the most social sense of the world because they sought out and found stories that were authentic, true, the real deal. It says, ‘…Half of the 4 million citizens in this north-central African country - twice the size of Texas - are Moslems and the other half Christians. Centuries of animosity divide them.’ I mean nothing changes, and I know that but, what do I do with this stuff now? Why can’t I let it go?”

Agnes said to keep the story, repeat the story, share the story precisely because it is a reminder to all of us who know things and, more important — to all the ‘youngs’ who don’t have the experience of having read it before.

“We’re role models,” she said of being women in mid-60s stride, “we can’t change the world, but we can inspire others with that energy that 30 year olds have.’

Heraclitus, philosopher 500 BCE, said change is constant. Is this an oxymoron, the mobius-strip of shit we must constantly relive every generation? That change is constant, but the constancy is that it doesn’t change?

The cut-line continues: “There has been strife since independence from France in l960, with negotiations between the two sides failing regularly.” That was then, this is now.

But the now of then, had Christian gangs ‘recently’ slaughter more than 1,000 Moslems because of rumours that the Moslems were plotting to create a militant Islamic republic…

These faces from Look Magazine, April 2, 1979 were the unfortunate supporters of Christian president, Felix Malloum. Their hands are tied behind their backs with their T- shirts. They are kids. And they know they are going to die.

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