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Azawad’s Facebook Warriors

The MNLA, Social Media, and the Malian Civil War

Series:

Michael Keen

In January 2012, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), a group dominated by members of the Tuareg ethnic group, launched a military uprising seeking the independence of Mali’s vast but sparsely populated north as the democratic, secular nation-state of Azawad.  Azawad’s Facebook Warriors tells the extraordinary story of a small group of social media activists who sought to broadcast the MNLA’s cause to the world. Azawad’s Facebook Warriors offers a groundbreaking new study of the MNLA’s use of social media through the original analysis of more than 8,000 pro-MNLA Facebook posts published over a four-year period and interviews with key architects of the MNLA’s media strategy. The book further places the MNLA’s social media activism in context through a nuanced treatment of northern Mali’s history and an unparalleled blow-by-blow account of the MNLA’s role in the Malian civil war from 2012 through 2015. More broadly, through the case study of the MNLA, the book argues that studying rebel social media communications, a field that has until now unfortunately received scant scholarly attention, will prove an increasingly important tool in understanding rebel groups in coming years and decades.
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Appendix 1: Full Texts of Official Social Media Posts Referenced in Chapter 5

Extract

This appendix contains the full texts of social media posts made by official accounts quoted in Chapter 5. They are presented in chronological order and in the language in which they were posted. They have not been reformatted or edited for clarity. Photos, videos, and links that were also shared in the posts are not included. Posts by non-official accounts are not reproduced here to protect their privacy.

Voici notre declaration lors du rassemblement qui vient juste de se terminer devant l’Assemblee francaise ….

Déclaration pour le rassemblement en faveur de l’Azawad Paris, 04 février 2012

Chers frères, chères sœurs, chers amis, Merci d’être venus apporter votre soutien à l’Azawad qui se bat avec courage et détermination pour accéder enfin à sa liberté et à sa dignité.Le combat que mène actuellement le MNLA dans l’Azawad est ←153 | 154→un combat noble et légitime. Il est noble parce qu’il aspire à mettre en place une société emprunte de liberté, de justice et d’égalité entre les différentes composantes de l’Azawad. Il est légitime parce qu’il est l’émanation de l’ensemble des peuples qui vivent sur ce territoire façonné par des siècles de cultures et de civilisations autochtones ayant vécus auparavant en parfaite harmonie.

Aujourd’hui, l’Azawad, dans toutes ses composantes, lutte pour se libérer de la politique criminelle de l’État malien qui nie nos existences, ruine notre territoire et affame...

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