The weird thing is that while this is, effectively, a country at war, it really doesn't feel like it. I was talking to a few people here (a French lady who's been living here for the past 12 years, our lawyer and our amazing driver) and they would all give the same account of the situation, ie that, despite news of Islamic fundamentalist rebels moving southward, things aren't so bad, after all.
And to be fair, that's the impression we got while going around Bamako, the capital, in the past two weeks. Until yesterday, you couldn't tell that this was a country in trouble, as people would be up and about and extremely friendly. As is customary, on Sunday there were a million weddings all over the streets.
The only real clue was that the hotels are kind of empty and there are not many tourists around. Yesterday and today there had been demonstrations in town (but then again, only in the very centre of Bamako) to call for a more appropriate government intervention to re-instate national unity and the non-clerical nature of the state. Apparently the army are fighting back the rebels in the North, right now.
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