I published this originally on November 28...I want to share this with as many people as possible. I wish I could provide more specifics about what we are trying to do, but to be successful, discretion is the utmost concern. Again, GCAM is not a political organization. This is a very focused NGO which has been working closely with the Toureg Tribal People in a few villages for almost 30 years. Since I posted this, GCAM has received some very needed and most gratefully appreciated donations. There is virtually no overhead or administration fees in GCAM. The only money wasted is the percentage that PAYPAL takes for their service. If you are one of the great people who have donated already, thank you very much! We still desperately need help!
Here's a recent video of the Malian Refugee food relief effortOn the side panel of this blog, there is a PayPal account button for a little NGO organization named GCAM. The initials stand for Groupe Coordination Aude Mali. This is a very little group and it's focus is working with a small group of Tribal Toureg People in Mali. This is not a political organization. The focus is to provide humanitarian aid and assistance to a group of people who have had to try to exist during the last 25 years of conflict. They have had to leave their lands and then come back and resettle and pick of the pieces of their lives and culture too many times in the last quarter of a century. Now it looks as if they are going to have to abandon their ancestral lands again and it may be for the last time.
I realize there is a lot going on the world and in your own lives and we each and only have a limited amount of compassion we can spare. There are only so many emergency situations which require you immediate assistance that you can bear to even hear about. I know, I have had to learn how to "compartmentalize" my mind and decide what I want to do and what I can do to remain sane. But here's a shot of reality regarding what is going on in Mali today and what we can do to help a few people in their struggle to stay alive and preserve their centuries old culture. For more back ground, I have been posting since last August here and here....We still need your help and now, more than ever.
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that there are almost 212,000 refugees that have had to flee the current political violence in Mali. These people have had to make epic cross Saharan journeys to find refuge in Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Niger, Guinea and Togo. For a pretty good overview of the political and military nightmare these people are facing, I would recommend this article by Eddy Morgan, who posted it originally on the BBC's website.
Caught in the twisted nightmarish knot of regional politics and militant Islamic fundamentalism, thousands of innocent people are being pushed out of their traditional homeland. Trying to hang on to hope, they see their sons being abducted by the AQIM to be used as human shields in the escalation of the conflict as a unified African force finally tries to fight back.
As I said, the focus of GCAM is not political. They cannot get involved. They can only try to assist and save the small group of Toureg tribal villages that they have been assisting for the last 30 years. This is human triage, trying to raise enough money to move the precious human cargo to safety and then help them stay alive in the Refuge Camps. I can't even begin to give you more detailed information, because at this point in time, any info posted on the web is being mined by AQIM internet researchers to target those involved in need and offering assistance. The most I can do is humbly ask for for a donation by PAYPAL, which is totally legitimate charity tax deduction. The PAYPAL form will give you all of the information you need to declare it. PAYPAL takes a bite out the donations, but this is the safest, easiest way to keep funds flowing to buy gas, hire trucks and drivers and save lives. This is a highly focused effort to save a small group of Toureg People in immediate danger. It's working, but once they get out, GCAM has to keep them alive and healthy in the camps because they will have a future and you can be a part of it for just a few bucks! I humbly thank you.
Here's a link for a reportage on the ARTE channel which was shown on French TV a few weeks ago. Unfortunately I can't embed it, so if you want to view it, hit the link above. It is in French, but it is pretty good! Below is another video by Damon Albarn, the British musician who you might remember with the great band Blur, but now the Brains behind the really great conceptual band, Gorillaz. He collaborated with the Malian Musician, Afel Boucoum who is working with OXFAM to help the Malians preserve their culture. The Musicians of Mali are one of the planets treasures...a synthesis of ideas, influences and cultures steeped in the traditions that reach beyond our feeble grasp of time...