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J'y Crois - I Believe In It: The Road to Decentralization in Mali
A Film by Emile Adriaan van Rouveroy van Nieuwaal & Maarten van Rouveroy van Nieuwaal
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A beautifully composed political documentary investigating the decentralization process in Mali, JY CROIS is the new film from noted African Studies scholar Emile Adriaan van Rouveroy van Nieuwaal (Leiden University), and his son ethnographic filmmaker Maarten van Rouveroy van Nieuwaal.

Since the 1990s, decentralization reforms have been a top priority in this West African country. The aim is to transfer political and economic power to the democratically elected political bodies in decentralized communities. The Malian expression "a cauldron does not boil at the top, but from below" illustrates the importance for the government to convince the people Mali of the rationale and fairness of the decentralization policy, and to increase their participation.

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From the desert sands of the north, in the ancient city of Ségou, on the banks of the Niger river, and to the agricultural fields in the south, this film looks at the reforms from the perspective of all Malians involved.

The slogan "government belongs at home" cannot be undone. There is no way back for Mali - only forward - but it's still a long way to go.

"An engaging and educational documentary... with beautiful cinematography. The film will make a valuable contribution to the classroom. The snapshot it provides of the difficulties faced by a new African democracy is splendid. The beauty of the film is that it transports the viewer immediately to the villages, fields, and grand river of Mail and, in a time of change, lets us hear many of the country's disparate voices."—International Journal of African Historical Studies

"Recommended! A fine documentary for purposes of learning about political development in Mali on the social level. The film does a great job of gathering a representative cross section of Mali's citizenry in its interviews."—Educational Media Reviews Online

2004 American Anthropological Association Film Festival
2004 African Studies Association Film Festival
2004 Bilan du Film Ethnographic (Paris)

55 minutes / color
Release: 2004
Copyright: 2003
Sale: $348

Subject areas:
Africa, African Studies, Anthropology, Comparative Government, Cultural Anthropology, History (World), Law, Mali, Political Science

Related Titles:
Red Hat - Where Are You Going?: An examination of the socio-political role of the Mossi chiefs in the West African nation of Burkina Faso.

Living Memory: About Mali's ancient culture, and this culture's position in the country today. Exposes tensions in a society assailed by modernization, Islam and global tourism, yet confident that it will maintain its own distinctive character.

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