periodical

L'Essor Quotidien (1949, 1960 & 1963)


in Archives Nationales du Mali
Notes © 1999 by Jim Jones, Ph.D.

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"Bravo le DN" by "l'observateur," editorial in L'Essor, n°48 (December 14, 1949), 2

The author applauded the new train schedule that offered thrice-weekly express trains between Bamako and Dakar in three classes with sleeping and restaurant cars. Trains left on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. However, during a recent radio broadcast on Radio-Dakar, Governor Louveau said that the Chemin de Fer Dakar-Niger had the highest railroad tariffs in the world. Since "les usageurs de réseau ne sont pas le plus riches du monde," the author hoped that new rates would be introduced along with the new equipment.


L'Essor, n°51 (December 17, 1949), 1

This article contains a mock conversation with "Madame de la Compagnie du Niger-Francais" (Unilever) who sold cooking oil to whites for 47 francs per liter and the same oil to Africans for 89.50 francs per liter.


"Il faut faire payer les trusts coloniaux" in L'Essor, n°59, (December 28, 1949)

The Union des Syndicats de Dakar demanded a rise in the minimum wage from 17 to 21.80 francs per hour due to the constant increase in the cost of living ever since February 1949. This article also discussed the profits of commercial houses like Maurel et Prom, Delmas, Vezia, Société Commerciale Ouest-Africain and others. However, the Chemin de Fer Dakar-Niger was not on the list of profiteers.


Dresch, "Qu-est-ce-que c'est le Niger-Francais" in L'Essor, n°60, (December 30, 1949), 3

This is one of several articles questioning the role and profits of the big European commercial houses in West Africa.


"Manifeste à tous les travailleurs de la fonction publique, du rail et au personnel civil des services militaires" in L'Essor Quotidien, n°74, (January 16, 1950), 1

The author of this article demanded that the administration fulfill promises made to workers ever since 1946, and threatens action to obtain satisfaction. "L'exemple de notre succès de 1945-46 à propos de l'indemnité de zône, celui de la grève historique des cheminots en 1947-48, ceux de nos camarades fonctionnaires et ouvriers qui, en France, comme en Afrique remportant des succès grandissants par la lutte revendicative, nous montrent la voie à suivre." At the end. there was a list of USRDA representatives. For the cheminots, there were N'Gom and Sarr. For the Soudan, Houhoun Cissé, Lamine Sow and Abdoul Singaré.


"L'Aeronautique Civile au Mali. Extrait de la Revue `Le Mali'"
in L'Essor, n°3289 (January 19, 1960)

The Fédération de Mali had 39 airports (aerodromes). Ten offered commercial flights; the rest were military or for small private craft. The airport at Dakar could handle DC-8s and Boeing 707s. The airport at Bamako could handle DC-7s. The other commercial airports could receive DC-4s.

Dakar had two landing strips of 2,000 and 2,400 meters for planes up to 65-70 tons and a new 2,950 meter strip for planes to 135 tons.

Bamako had a 2,135 meter strip and could handle DC-7s or Superconstellations. The air force was in charge of "controle fiscale." There were lights for night landings and radio- navigation aids were being installed. A building housed the restaurant and other commercial enterprises.

The other commercial airports were located at St. Louis, Ziguinchor, Segou, Mopti, Goundam, Gao, Matam, Nioro and Tessalit.


"8673 Kilometre avec le sourire"
in L'Essor, n°3302 (February 3, 1960)

M. Randriamanantera, a 25-year old Malagache man (from Madagascar), built his own bicycle and rode it from Madagascar to Europe via Kenya, Uganda, Belgium Congo, Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria, Niger, Upper Volta, and Mali. He left Madagascar in November 1959 and reached Bamako on Saturday January 30, 1960. Next Wednesday, he intends to continue to Senegal, Morocco, Spain and France. He had had 36 flat tires up to this point.


"Statistique des passages au bac de Bamako pour l'exercice 1959. Du 18 Juillet au 1er Decembre Inclus" in L'Essor, n°3306 (February 8, 1960)

This is a list showing the types and amounts of traffic that used the ferry boat across the Niger River at Bamako from July 18 to December 1, 1959:


"À Ségou, Modibo Keita denonce certains coutoumes, evoque la partie unique, stigmatise certains deviations"
in L'Essor, n°3320 (February 24, 1960)

This is a quotation from part of a very long article about a speech given by President Modibo Keita in Ségou.

"Le parti s'est dévelopé. Petit à petit, les adversaires ont fini par s'y intégrer. Nous en sommes assivés au Parti Unique. Nous savons que c'est un expression qui inquiète nos amis occidentaux, qui inquiéte nos amis métropolitains, qui se disant `mais avec la parti unique, il n'y a plus de liberté; mais avec la parti unique, l'individu n'a plus sa personnalité; mais c'est la dictature!'"

Roughly translated, this means "The party has developed. Little by little, its opponents have become intergrated into the party, and now we have a single party. We know that this worries our friends in the West, our friends in the metropole (France), who say that a one-party state allows no freedom, suppresses individualism, and creates a dictatorship.)


"Communiqué du Ministère des Travaux Publics et des Transports"
in L'Essor, n°3334 (March 12, 1960)

On March 12, 1960 at noon, the Pont de Bamako (Niger River bridge at Bamako) was finally opened to the public.


"Communique du Ministère des Travaux Publics"
in L'Essor, n°3338 (March 17, 1960)

This article gives the rates for airfare for the pilgrimmage to Mecca. A roundtrip flight from Bamako to Jeddah by DC-6 cost 133,000 CFA. A roundtrip flight from Gao to Jeddah by Douglas Skymaster cost 123,000 CFA. A roundtrip flight between Jeddah and Medina cost 12,500 CFA. The Saudi Arabian govenrment imposed an additional tax of 7,000 CFA. Sea travel prices via Dakar would be announced as soon as they became available.


"Accidents de la circulation portés à la connaissance de la gendarmerie"
in L'Essor, n°3373 (April 30, 1960)

One accident involved a truck "de la Transafricaine" #0671-8-A that overturned between Gao and Tessalit on April 20, 1960. Three people were seriously injured.


"Les Messages ... Sympathés Affluent de Toutes Parts"
in L'Essor, n°3415 (Bamako, June 23, 1960)

Malian independence came on June 20, 1960. Among the telegrams of congratulations, the cheminots sent the following message from the Fédération National des Cheminots du Mali: "Soudan, Koulouba. Occasion Indépendence Mali vous adresse au nom Cheminots vives félicitations et vous assure soutien camarades dans action engagé pour reconstruction nationale. Dhiarra."


NOTE

Until the end of June 1960, the format of L'Essor was four stapled letter-size (about 8.5"x11") mimeographed (ronéotype) pages. In July, they switched to a larger format of four pages, about 12"x20" in size, folded. The new format included black/white half-tone photos.


"Le President Modibo Keita part pour Dakar"
in L'Essor, n°3450 (August 13, 1960)

Modibo Keita traveled by express train on August 13, 1960 to the Conference Inter-états du Mali, which opened in Dakar on August 20.


L'Essor, n°3451 (August 16, 1960)

The front page of this issue shows a photograph of President Modibo Keita waving from the train.


"Le President Modibo Keita exalte la mystique du rétour à la terre"
in L'Essor, n°3453 (August 18, 1960)

Following a tour of the Soudan, Keita expressed pleasure at the success of the campaign by the government and the party to increase agricultural production. Villages organized collective farms and office workers spent Saturday afternoons working small plots of land. (NOTE: Railroad workers viewed this program in a very different way. See the testimony by Cheick Diombana of the Retired Railway Worker's Association.)


"Le peuple Malien du Soudan unamime soutient son gouvernement légal"
in L'Essor, n°3458 (August 25, 1960), 4.

This issue contains the text of letters and telegrams from various people supporting Keita's break with Senghor on August 20, 1960.

The Fédération National des Cheminots du Mali sent the following message: "Le comité exécutif élargi des délégués du presonnel du Soudan de la FNCM, réunie en assemblée générale, ce jour 22 Aout 1960 sous la presidence du secretaire responsable du Soudan, ... invite (en consequence) tous les travailleurs du rail à se mobiliser pour soutenir l'action du gouvernement légal du Mali . . ."


"A Travers l'Afrique: En Sénégal"
in L'Essor, n°3460 (August 27, 1960)

Yesterday, the Conseil des Ministres de la République du Sénégal, led by President Mamadou Dia, took over the port of Dakar and the Régie des Chemins de Fer.


"Le horaire des trains" in L'Essor, n°3467 (September 7, 1960)

This is the same train schedule described in issue n°3482 (see below). Since the new schedule started on September 1, 1960, it probably appeared in earlier issues as well. However, it did not appear in the September 1st issue.


L'Essor, n°3471 (September 13, 1960)

A state of siege was declared in Mali on September 12, 1960. A state of emergency had already been declared on August 30, 1960.


Le Ministère Fédéral des Transports, Région Soudanaise de la Regie des Chemins de Fer, communiqué le horaire des trains"
in L'Essor, n°3482 (September 28, 1960), 2

Train No. Passenger classes Leaving from Time & day Destination Arrival time
1 1+2+3 Bamako 1200 Saturday Kayes 2125 Saturday
80 2+3 Bamako 0945 Monday & Wednesday Kayes 2128 Monday & Wednesday
1 1+2+3 Kayes 1112 Monday Bamako 2100 Monday
83 2+3 Kayes 1100 Tuesday & Thursday Bamako 2244 Tuesday & Thursday
n 3 Kayes 0600 daily Galoumbo 0808 daily
n 3 Galoumbo 1300 daily Kayes 1514 daily
82 2+3 Bamako 1632 daily Kita 1955 daily
81 2+3 Kita 0620 daily Bamako 0940 daily
350 3 Bamako 0730 daily Négala 0950 daily
351 3 Négala 1445 daily Bamako 1730 daily
91 2+3 Bamako 0955 daily Koulikoro 1140 daily
93 2+3 Bamako 1800 daily Koulikoro 2000 daily
90 2+3 Koulikoro 0600 daily Bamako 0745 daily
92 2+3 Koulikoro 1400 daily Bamako 1545 daily


"Les Réunions de Travail de la Delegation de Tchechoslovakie et de
celle de Mali se poursuivent"
in L'Essor, n°3486 (October 4, 1960)

This long article describes plans for cooperation between Mali and Czechosolvakia. It mentions transportation improvements to improve communications with Guinea and the south - specifically bridges at Toukoto, Bafoulabé and Douna (over the Bani River), and railroad branch lines from Kayes to Nioro and Kita to Kourousso. They also mention receiving Czech automobiles, but there is no mention of any deliveries of trucks from Czechoslovakia.


"Resolution Finale du Congres Constitutif des Cheminots du Mali"
in L'Essor, n°3488 (October 8, 1960)

The railroad union congress met on September 25-26, 1960, in the Salle du Centre Culturel in Kayes. 47 representatives from the different sections of the railroad approved the government's economic blockade of Senegal. (Note: the president of the Soudanese union was Diallo Samballa and the Rapporteur was Diabité Oumar.)


"Avis de Réunion" in L'Essor, n°3488 (October 8, 1960), 2

This spells out the resolution passed by the Cheminots du Soudan in response to a letter written on September 20, 1960 by the "soit-disant Syndicat des Cheminots en Residence au Senegal" (the so-called Union of Railroad Workers Living in Senegal). After stating the desire of all cheminots for peace, the Cheminots du Soudan said that the preservation of the Federation was not worth the sacrifice of dignity. They added that Radio Sénégal lied when it broadcast a report that the spontaneous suspension of railroad operations was do to a Soudanese plot, and urged calm in order to resist those who wanted to expel the Soudanese cheminots from Senegal in order to confiscate their belongings. They also resolved that cheminots should neither demand nor refuse to serve their government, and they totally condemned the letter and its three authors.


"Du Bureau Nationale des Syndicats"
in L'Essor, n°3495 (October 15, 1960), 22

In the meeting of October 10, 1960, the Syndicat National des Douanes, the Syndicat National des Cheminots du Mali and the Syndicat National des Médécins, Pharmaciens, Vétérinaires et Sages-femmes diplomées de l'État all joined the Union Syndical des Travailleurs du Mali. This article also mentions the unjust expulsion of Malians from Senegal.


L'Essor, n°3491 (October 25, 1960), 4

In this issue, there are three photos related to the expulsion of the cheminots from Senegal, including one from a mass meeting of support in Bamako on October 23, 1960.


L'Essor, n°3505 (October 29, 1960)

The front page carries a photo of a baby born during the expulsion from Senegal. The caption reads "ce fils de cheminot est né durant le parcours Dakar-Bamako, effectué par sa mère, expulsée du Sénégal comme tous les familles de cheminots Maliens" (this son of a railroad worker was born during the trip from Dakar to Bamako by his mother, who was expelled from Senegal like all of the Malian railroad workers' families).


Moriba Sissoko, "Hommage aux cheminots du Mali"
in L'Essor, n°3505 (October 29, 1960), 3

This is a poem about the cheminots.

Original Version

Translation by Jim Jones

Tu es l'égal de tout les cheminots du monde.
Tu aimes ton pays; tu le prouves sans faconde.
A l'avant-garde de la classe ouvrière,
tu as toutjours confondu les races et les frontières.

Tu as pour devise: travail, discipline, patrie
que tu observes avec une âme bien pétrie.
Tu as partout méné des difficiles débats
avant de soutenir de libérateurs combats.

Tu as reçu en '38 à Thiès les premiers coups
de la folle réaction qui comptait beaucoup
sur ta très grandes faiblesse pour t'asservoir
sans se rendre compte qu'elle preparait ton devenir.

De '40 à la fin des hostilités,
tu as regulièrement assuré avec gravité
courage et toutjours enthousiasme
le ravitaillement de la métropole affamée.

De Dakar à Cotonou en passant par Conakry,
tu as élevé ta voix mais sans aucun cri
pour demander à tes frères de s'unir
afin de réserver à pays un meilleur avenir.

Tu demontais en '47 la preuve
de la maturité au cours d'une épreuve
qui restera encore longtemps dans l'histoire
et s'inscrira en lettres d'or dans les memoires.

Tu sortais victorieux de ce conflit unique
dans l'histoire de la grande Afrique.
Sur toi, les frères opprimés prenent exemple
ont alors engagé la lutte pour libérer leur peuple.

L'étendu de les sacrifices est incomperable.
Au Senegal, tu as tourné le dos à tes immeubles.
Tu as abandonné femmes et enfants pour patriotisme,
mais tu n'as accompli qu'un simple acte d'héroisme.

... parce que tu es un cheminot du Mali.

You are the equal of railroad workers all over the world.
You love your country; you show it without fanfare.
From your position in the forefront of the working class,
you have always transcended race and borders.

Your slogan is work, discipline and country
which you followed with a stout heart.
You successfully managed many difficult disputes
before supporting the struggle for liberation.

You suffered the first blows in '38 at Thiès
from the reactionary madness that counted on
your great weakness to enslave you
without knowing they were shaping your destiny.

From '40 to the end of the war,
you acted with gravity, courage and enthusiasm
to make sure that the starving cities
were continuously supplied.

From Dakar to Cotonou via Conakry,
you raised your voice calmly
to call your brothers to unify
in order to safeguard a better future for the country.

In '47 you proved your maturity
during a long ordeal
which will always remain in our history
and in our memories, written in gold letters.

You emerged victorious from this conflict
which was unique in the history of Africa.
Your oppressed brothers followed your example
and began the struggle to liberate their people.

The extent of your sacrifices is beyond comparison.
You left behind your homes in Senegal.
You left your wives and children to support your country,
but to you, it was just just another act of heroism.

... because you are a railroad worker from Mali.


"Temoignage ..." in L'Essor, n°3505 (October 29, 1960), 3

This article contains an eyewitness account by Mme. Keita, one of the Soudanese expelled from Senegal. She said that the refugees were assisted by the "Mouvement de la Paix du Mali" who provided the text of this article.

They left Thiès, Senegal on October 12, 1960 at about 4am. Many Senegalese friends came to say good bye, so she was sure that the expulsion was the result of a few criminals in the government and not the will of the Senegalese people.

They were put in unlighted, uncomfortable railcars and taken directly to the border at Kidira, with only one stop at Guinguineo around 6am. During the trip, they received no water and the faucets at Kidira were locked. There was also no food available, even at Kidira. As a result, many of the children got sick.

The bridge at Kidira was only one-meter wide and since everyone was weakened by the trip, she didn't think they would have made it across without help from the volunteers who came from Kayes. As they reached the different stations in Mali, they were greeted by large crowds of people.


L'Essor, n°3505 (October 29, 1960)

On page 4 of this issue, there are eight photos of the border at Kidira and the crowd at the bridge. The bridge has a one- meter boardwalk next to the rails. The photo shows people walking across on the boards and on the rails.


L'Essor, n°3506 (November 2, 1960)

Air Mali, the national airline, was created on October 27, 1960 by Ordennance #31.


"Syndicat des Cheminots de la Republique du Mali"
in L'Essor, n°3524 (November 26, 1960)

This anonymous article refutes a Senegalese statement that "des cheminots Maliens expulsés seraient revenus en vague au Sénégal, soliciter au gouvernement leur reprise de service" (the expelled Malian railroad workers returned to Senegal to ask the government to allow them to return to work). After denouncing Senegalese lies, the article asserted that no Malian asked for his job back ... "ceux qui y sont rétournés sont été simplement effectuer la récolte de leurs champs de culture et regler leurs affaires familiales" (... those who returned to Senegal did so to collect their belongings).


L'Essor, n°3528 (December 2, 1960)

This issue contains an article about the agreement between the Union National des Syndicats du Mali and the Confédération Nationale des Travailleurs de Guinée. The article mentions a few of the important people in the Union Nationale des Travailleurs Maliens (UNTM), including Secrétaire-Général Sissoko Mamadou Famady, Secrétaire Keita Nama, and the following members of the Commission Administrative: Kanté Mamadou and Soumaré Samba.

this issue also reports that the Régie des Chemins de Fer du Mali announced a new stop at kilometer 1246.385 for the "Campement de Droit" located between Moribabougou and Tiénfala. Third class passenger tickets cost 50 francs from Bamako, 15 francs from Tiénfala and 85 francs from Koulikoro. (NOTE: This must have been about 16 kilometers east of Bamako at the western edge of the Forêt de Tienfala. It may have been a resettlement camp for expelled cheminots -- see Lakroum, page 629.)


L'Essor, n°3930 (July 21, 1960)

This issue has the story about Kassoum Touré, commerçant à Bagadadji, who was arrested and charged with hoarding CFA after the Franc Malien was created. Other Lebanese and Malien merchants were arrested and their CFA confiscated following disturbances that included an attack on the 1st Arrondisement police station and a demonstration in front of the French Embassy.


L'Essor, n°3932 (July 25, 1960)

This issue contains the announcement of the arrests of Fily Dabo Sissoko and Hammadoun Dicko on July 23, 1962.


L'Essor, n°3977 (October 2, 1960)

This issue reports the verdict of the Tribunal Populaire in the cases that resulted from the "Complot Anti-national." Three men--Fily Dabo Sissoko, Hammadoun Dicko and Kasoum Touré--were sentenced to death. Fourteen of the defendants were sentenced to 20 years at hard labor; another eight got 15 years; seven got 10 years (one had an additional five years of exile), twenty-six got 5 years (one got five more years of exile) and twenty-one got a year in prison. Fifteen of the defendants were acquitted for lack of sufficient evidence.


"Communiqué conjoint Sénégalo-Malien"
in L'Essor, n°4146 (June 11, 1963), 1

An agreement was reached on June 7, 1963 between the two countries concerning matters of commerce, customs duties, debt repayments, railroad operations and access to Senegalese ports. The document was signed on June 8, 1963 by Alioune Badara M'Bengué, Senegalese Ministre des Travaux et Transports, and Mamadou Aw, Malian Ministre des Travaux Publics, Telecommunications, Mines, des Resources Énergétiques et de l'Habitat.

This issue also contains an advertisement for Air Mali that describes an air connection from Bamako to Paris via Rabat (Morocco) "avec les fameux Ilyouchine 18" and shows a picture of a four-engined prop plane. There are two flights in each direction per week. They leave Bamako on Tuesday and Friday, and return on Wednesday and Saturday.


L'Essor, n°4147 (June 12, 1963), 4

An advertisement for Air Mali on page 4 mentions that they use DC-3s and Ilyouchine 14's for their flights to Niger, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire and Guinée, as well as internal flights to Nara, Nioro, Tombouctou and Gao.


"La Rencontre de Kidira" in L'Essor, n°4156 (June 25, 1963)

Malian President Modibo Keita met with Senegalese President Léoplod Senghor on the border at Kidira to reopen relations between their two countries.