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Rated: 13+ · Essay · Cultural · #2125845
Land of the Honest People
Burkina Faso, meaning "Land of Honest Men"1, is a landlocked country in West Africa. The six African countries that boarder this 274,200 sq km land are Mail, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana, and Ivory Coast. Before August of 1984, Burkina Faso was known as the Republic of Upper Volta. It was Thomas Sankara, who renamed the Republic of Upper Volta to Burkina Faso on August 4.2

President Sankara, who governed the country from 1983 to 1987, combined words from two different languages to create the name Burkina Faso. Burkina, meaning "honest" or "honest men", is derived from the Mossi language. Faso, from Dyula, means "fatherland" or "father's house". The citizens are referred to as Burkinabé, with the bé, meaning men or women, derived from Fula. All three of these languages are spoken in Burkina Faso.3

Burkina Faso,
Land of the Honest People,
a United Nations member since September of 1960.

Burkina Faso, like all countries in Africa, had an exciting and stressful history. In the early part of the 1900s, it was part of French West Africa. In March of 1919, it became a French colony with the name of French Upper Volta. The colony was named after the Volta River. In December of 1958, French Upper Volta became a self-governing colony and its name was changed to the Republic of Upper Volta. Then in August of 1960, the country gained its independence from France and Maurice Yaméogo became president.4

The Republic of Upper Volta experienced political upheavals between 1966 and 1983 in the form of several coup d'états5. After the 1983 coup d'état, Thomas Sankara became president. After renaming the country, Mr. Sankara implemented several socioeconomic programs, among which was "the outlawing of female genital mutilation, forced marriages and polygamy"6. In 1987, Blaise Compaoré lead a coup d'état in which Thomas Sankara was killed.7

Compaoré lead Burkina Faso from 1987 until October of 2014 when Michel Kafando, as a result of a youth movement, became President. In September of 2015, when the military took over for a few days. In late September of that year, Kafando was reinstated until National Elections took place in November. Roch Marc Christian Kaboré took the Presidential oath of office in late December of 2015 and has held that position since.8

Burkina Faso
A Religiously Diverse Society

The 2006 Government Census revealed Burkina Faso as religiously diverse. In this census, the followers of Islam--with a majority being Sunni Islam--made up 60.5% of the population. All branches of Christianity claimed claimed 23.2% of the population, while 15.3% claimed traditional indigenous beliefs. About 1.0% of the population claimed either different or no religion. A 2010 estimate placed Muslims at 61.6%, Catholics at 23.2%, Protestant (all branches) at 6.7%, Traditional religions at 7.3%, other religions at 0.2%, and the non-religious at 0.9%.9

One of those "other religions" practiced in Burkina Faso is the Baha'i Faith, which came to this landlocked country in 1960.10 The Baha'is of Burkina Faso, as Baha'is in other parts of the world, receive their inspiration from the scriptures revealed by Baha'u'llah. They work for the advancement and well-being of society by implementing and participating in activities that combine social, educational, and spiritual activities.11

in the Twenty-first Century

"Being afraid does not help you escape danger. You aren't safe anywhere. That's the madness."
Gaetan Santomenna12

Like all other countries on Earth, Burkina Faso and its citizens have to deal with terrorism. Take Gaetan Santomenna he lost his wife, son, and mother when jihadists attacked his restaurant on January 15, 2016. Instead of giving up, Mr. Santomenna chose to rebuild and reopen his establishment with added security features. The attack in 2016, was instigated by foreign terrorist, but Burkina Faso--like numerous other countries--faces a growing list of home grown terrorists.13

Mr. Santomenna's response to the terrorists attack show the resilience and determination of the Burkinabé people. It is this resilience which will lead to their success as a nation in the twenty-first century and beyond.

WC: 673

1  http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13072774
2  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burkina_Faso
3  ibid
4  ibid
5  Merriam-Webster defines this as "a sudden decisive exercise of force in politics" https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/coup%20d%27%C3%A9tat
6  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burkina_Faso
7  ibid
8  ibid
9  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Burkina_Faso
10  http://www.bahai.org/national-communities/burkina-faso
11  ibid
12  http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/burkina-faso-living-risk-terror-re...
13  ibid

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