The revolutionary government he led set out along this course, mobilising peasants, workers, craftsmen, women, youth and the elderly, to carry out a literacy campaign, an immunisation drive, to sink wells, plant trees, provide housing, and begin to eliminate the oppressive class exploitation on the land.
Sankara stood out among leaders of the struggles for national liberation in Africa in the last half of the 20th century because he was a socialist.
“We are open to all the winds of the will of the peoples and their revolutions, and we study some of the terrible failures that have given rise to tragic violations of human rights,” he said.
“We take from each revolution only its kernel of purity, which forbids us to become slaves to the reality of others.
“The battle against the encroachment of the desert is a battle to establish a balance between man, nature, and society.
“As such, it is a battle that is above all political, one whose outcome is not determined by fate . . .”
As Karl Marx said, those who live in a palace do not think the same things, nor in the same way, as those who live in a hut. This struggle to defend the trees and the forests is above all a struggle against imperialism.
Imperialism is the arsonist setting fire to our forests and savannahs, Sankara noted. On Che Guevara he said, Che Guevara taught us “we could dare to have confidence in ourselves, confidence in our abilities”.
He instilled in us the conviction that “struggle is our only recourse”.
He, Sankara insisted, was “a citizen of the free world that together we are in the process of building.
“That is why we say that Che Guevara is also African and Burkinabè”.
On October 15, 1987 Thomas Sankara was assassinated along with 12 other officials in a coup d’état organised by his former colleague, Compaoré.
Referring to Sankara’s assassination, Ulises Estrada said he was “convinced that the hand of his assassins was guided by imperialism, which could not allow a man with the ideas and actions of Sankara to lead a country on a continent so exploited for hundreds of years by international imperialism, colonialism, and neo-colonial governments that do their bidding”.
Furthermore, he said “Sankara’s political ideas will endure, like those of Patrice Lumumba of Congo and Amílcar Cabral of Guinea-Bissau, also assassinated by traitors at the behest of the empire”. Estrada concluded by saying that someday the peoples of Africa will realise “the dreams of Agostinho Neto, Sékou Touré, Julius Nyerere, and so many others who left an indelible mark on history”.
By: Akinyemi Adeseye