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Cote d’Ivoire Needs One Minute of Your Time

I was upset and worried. Now I’m legitimately angry. I still can’t get through to my friends. People on twitter are saying that there are roadblocks around Yopougon, the neighborhood they live in. I’ll admit this is personal, but it is outrageous that there is not more coverage of this story. Here are a few recent updates (see my previous post for earlier developments):

6 women shot dead at all women’s protest of Gbagbo. “The forward tank started firing,” said one Abobo resident, Idrissa Diarrassouba. “Right away six women were killed. I was right there, beside them. They just fell.”

On a video provided by Mr. Diarrassouba, gunshots can be heard, and the bloodied bodies of at least four women lying face down on the ground are seen. Near them, also on the ground, are the leafy branches that women in protests here hold aloft as they chant “We want peace.” (NY Times)

Several weeks ago, Gbagbo took over control of all utility and power companies. On Monday, he cut off power and water to the North of the country. Today (3/4), the power and water are still cut!!! The entire North of Cote D’Ivoire!! He just switched it off!!

In northern Côte d’Ivoire vaccines are going bad, taps are dry and the families of women in labour are ferrying buckets of water to hospital, three days after the government of Laurent Gbagbo ordered power cut in the region.

Officials of Gbagbo’s government, accompanied by armed men, went to the electricity distribution centre in the commercial capital Abidjan on 28 February and cut power off to the centre, north and west regions under FN control, “even though there appeared no need to do so and the grid is sound”, according to the utility operator Compagnie Ivoirienne d’Electricité (CIE). (IRIN News)

This is a major humanitarian crime!!!!

The UN Security Council believes Ivory Coast (also known Côte d’Ivoire) is sliding into a civil war, noting they are “deeply concerned by the recent escalation of violence in Côte d’Ivoire, particularly in Abidjan” (press release in French). (Yahoo News)

It’s no coincidence the power/water cuts and all of this violence kicked off precisely when Libya took up its current position in the headlines. I’m not saying that media attention is going to solve the crisis in Cote D’Ivoire, but I doubt Gbagbo will be as brazen when the cameras are rolling.

There is another issue at stake as well. At some point, Gbagbo will be out of power. Hopefully this will happen without a civil war or any kind of mass violence. He has committed war crimes. But who is keeping tabs and how many stories are untold? There are very few reporters on the ground and (from the Yahoo article above) twitter activists are warning on #civ2010 (mostly French) and #IvoryCoast of the increasing threat to journalists and civilians in the country.

This is where you can do something.

There are some media personalities and networks that pull a lot of weight. We need to ask them where the story is on Cote D’Ivoire? Absolutely bombard them with this question.

On February 25th, Anderson Cooper said this on Twitter: “I have been following #ivorycoast closely and it deserves far more coverage. Monday will try to do something.”

He has done nothing to cover the story. Tweet at him: @andersoncooper. Ask him: where is the story on Cote D’ivoire? Maybe he doesn’t know machine gun fire was used on an all women’s march. Maybe he doesn’t know that Gbagbo switched off power and water to millions of people. Go on his facebook page, CNN’s facebook page. Click here to email his show.

Nick Kristof finally brought up Cote D’Ivoire and he says he is “looking into going there.” Tell him he should. @nickkristof on twitter and facebook.com/kristof

You can also tweet: @cnn, @ac360, @maddow, @ariannahuff, @msnbc, @abc

Where is the story on Cote D’Ivoire?

For updated info on Cote D’Ivoire I have been running Google News searches and following people on twitter. @jeanettemallet, @ourmaninafrica, @sanders225 have all been invaluable for information. @jeanettemallet has been especially helpful to me personally concerning info in and around Yopougon.

I am hoping that my friends are safe and that perhaps, as some have suggested, their phones were confiscated at a roadblock (this has been happening everywhere apparently). Right now, it is very hard for Ivorians abroad to get in touch with friends and family there. It’s also impossible to send money as all international banks have pulled out of Cote D’Ivoire. Please keep Ivorians in your thoughts and spread the word that this story needs to be covered.

200,000 people have fled Adobo, a neighborhood in Abidjan where the heaviest fighting has occurred. This is where the women’s march was held. Here is a video from that neighborhood last year:


And from yesterday (warning, this shows the bodies of women killed in the march):

Spread the word.

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{ 15 comments… add one }

  • Katrina March 4, 2011, 4:35 pm

    Phil, go submit this on Flattr. Might help spread the news to a few more places.

    • phil March 4, 2011, 7:48 pm

      Done. Thanks

  • Maureen Brady Johnson March 4, 2011, 6:54 pm

    I posted on CNN Facebook.

    • phil March 4, 2011, 7:48 pm

      Thank you!

  • Andi of My Beautiful Adventures March 5, 2011, 4:12 pm

    I love that you are trying to shine light on this horrific situation! I will try to help too.

    • phil March 5, 2011, 7:15 pm

      Thank you Andi

  • Erica March 6, 2011, 3:22 am

    Retweeting incoming

    • phil March 6, 2011, 4:16 pm

      merci beaucoup

  • Ayngelina March 6, 2011, 9:38 am

    Just tweeted Anderson and Kris, hopefully this will push them.

    • phil March 6, 2011, 4:17 pm

      Awesome, thanks Ayngelina :)

  • Theodora March 6, 2011, 9:32 pm

    I guess it would be coals to Newcastle to point out that Libya is dominating the news because it has oil? Thanks for sharing another African crisis, unfolding hideously as we all don’t watch.

    • phil March 7, 2011, 2:02 pm

      That indeed seems to be the case. It’s very disturbing because it is hard to get a clear picture of what is actually happening, so few journalists on the ground.

  • Megan March 6, 2011, 9:53 pm

    Hey Phil–

    I’m pretty sure I saw the story of the women being massacred on CNN this weekend (it was just a brief clip and I was doing something else while I had CNN streaming, so I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure). But you’re right–this is being overlooked because of other things going on in the world.

    • phil March 7, 2011, 2:08 pm

      Megan,
      Yes, CNN had the clip, front page too. They need to get a reporter on the ground, though. Most of the news I’m hearing is coming directly from people I know in Abidjan. Stories are not making it out.

  • schamonda April 11, 2011, 5:37 pm

    I am praying for all the familes in Ivory Coast my friend has a daughter and his family in Ivory Coast and he has not spoken to them in a whole week and he always talks to his daughter and her mother at least 3 times a week. I pray for his peace and hope he looks to the hills from which comes his help for his help and peace comes from the Lord. I love you Marc…..

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