Thomas Sankara, “tireless peace activist”

When he addressed, on October 4, 1984, during his 39 e session at the United Nations General Assembly, Thomas Sankara has been leading Burkina Faso for barely a year. The young captain, mandated by the Board n national of the revolution », advances towards the platform dressed in his military fatigues to « speak on behalf of a people who have chosen to assert themselves and assume their history, without any complex ».

For nearly an hour, he delivers a damning indictment of the state of a world « where nations, evading international jurisdiction, command outlaw groups, living on plunder and organizing despicable traffic, gun in hand ». He lays down, above all, the essential conditions for achieving lasting peace, in particular by castigating the choices of the so-called developed countries to invest massively in armament programs instead of working to extract humanity from underdevelopment and of poverty. An indictment, alas, still of burning topicality, as illustrated by his violent charge against the policy pursued by the Israeli authorities, with the support of the« American protector », against the Palestinian people.

Excerpt from the speech

In our opinion, serious studies are needed taking into account all the elements that led to the calamities that have descended on the world. In this regard, President Fidel Castro, in 1979, admirably expressed our point of view at the opening of the sixth summit of the non-aligned countries when he declared: “With 300 billion dollars, we could build in one year 600,000 schools that can accommodate 400 million children; or 60 million comfortable homes for 300 million people; or 30,000 hospitals equipped with 18 million beds; or 20,000 factories that can employ more than 20 million workers or irrigate 150 million hectares of land which, with the right technical means, could feed a billion people…”. By multiplying this figure today by 10, I am certainly below reality, we realize what humanity wastes every year in the military field, that is to say against peace.

It is easy to see why the indignation of the people quickly turns into revolt and revolution in the face of the crumbs that are thrown at them in the ignominious form of a certain “aid”, accompanied by sometimes frankly abject conditions. We finally understand why, in the fight for development, we call ourselves tireless peace activists. We pledge to strive to ease tensions, introduce the principles of civilized life into international relations and extend them to all parts of the world. Which amounts to saying that we cannot assist, passively, to the trafficking of concepts. We reiterate our resolve to be active agents of peace; to hold our place in the fight for disarmament; to finally act in international politics as the decisive factor, freed from all hindrance vis-à-vis all the great powers, whatever the projects of the latter.

Icon QuoteThe search for peace goes hand in hand with the firm application of the right of countries to independence, of peoples to freedom and of nations to autonomous existence.

But the search for peace goes hand in hand with the firm application of the right of countries to independence, of peoples to freedom and of nations to autonomous existence. On this point, the most pitiful, most lamentable – yes, lamest – record is held in the Middle East in terms of arrogance, insolence and incredible stubbornness by a small country, Israel, which since , more than twenty years, with the unspeakable complicity of its powerful protector the United States, continues to defy the international community.

In defiance of a history which, only yesterday, designated every Jew to the horror of the crematory ovens, Israel comes to inflict on others what was its own ordeal. In any case, Israel, whose people we love for their courage and their sacrifices yesterday, must know that the conditions for their own peace of mind do not lie in their military power financed from outside. Israel must begin to learn to become a nation like the others, among the others.

For the time being, we would like to affirm from this rostrum our militant and active solidarity with the combatants, women and men, of this wonderful people of Palestine, because we know that there is no endless suffering. »


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