Power dynamics are everywhere, and while we often find examples where power dynamics can shift and grow with relationships mutually benefitting every party there are other examples where the dynamic is fixed. These fixed power structures are often drastically unbalanced in favour of the dominant party which makes it even more difficult for the ‘underdog’ to make any real progress in balancing it again.
With the unpredictable security situation in Mali I have been reflecting on how unbalanced the power dynamics are here. Mali was beaten into submission under the French colonialists and now the country remains divided between rebel groups, fundamentalist and government forces – violence begetting violence. But hey maybe someday the story of war ends with a happily ever after ( said with sarcasm dripping off my words). But the uneven power dynamics permeate other areas – interacial relations, being friends with people, being honoured or over-looked just based on skin or religion.
So what can that look like in Mali? It can be as simple as always making the Malian move so a foreigner can sit down, it can be very qualified experienced individuals differing their expertise to a newbie keener from Mali who has little to no e perience at all. It can look like a war torn northern region that makes families worry over loved ones, and divides based on ideology. It looks ugly.
Mali isn’t all ugly. At times though, it seems an ugly duckling that someday all those intriguing qualities will help transform into a unified beautiful swan of a country. Grow little one – continue to move forward, learn from western oppressive mistakes, and go thrive!