The Observers

This week: Abidjan under siege, the revolt of Syrian Kurds, and Senegalese kite-boats

This week, our Observers bring us to the Ivory Coast, where Abidjan residents live in fear of looting. Then to Syria, where the Kurdish minority is up in arms. Finally, to Senegal, where a new invention is being tested in Dakar ports: kite-boats.


Presentation: Derek Thomson. Editorial team: Julien Pain, Lorena Galliot, Ségolène Malterre, Sarra Grira, Peggy Bruguière.


We begin today in Ivory Coast, in the commercial capital Abidjan. When forces loyal to the elected president Alassane Ouattara, entered the city, residents found themselves stranded in their homes. Our Observers – Ivorians and expatriates – told us they were afraid to go outside.

Observer: Yves, a Frenchman who’s lived in Abidjan for 5 years.


Now to Syria, where there’ve been weeks of protests against the government of Bashar al-Assad. The Kurdish region, in the north has been relatively quiet. Syria’s Kurds have long complained of discrimination by the regime. But the Kurds hesitated before joining the protests.

Observer: Khaled Jamil Mohamed, in Qamishli, in northern Syria.


Our last Observer today is a maths teacher and inventor. He created the “Volanz”, a kite designed for emergency use by small boats when they run out of fuel. He took his invention to Senegal, where he grew up. And the fishermen there are putting it to good use on their dugout canoes.

Observer: Stéphane Blanco, on the beaches around Dakar.


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