Thursday, January 18, 2007

'The Capital Does Not Only Belong to the Rich'

The plight of Pays-Bas, a small squatter community in Niamey, Niger, profiled here by Inter Press Service News Agency, illustrates all-too-typical themes.

--the demonization of squatters: "These areas are dens of thieves who disturb the sleep of peaceful communities of the capital," Boubacar Ganda, president of the Council of the Niamey Urban Community (Conseil de la communaut├ę urbaine de Niamey) -- a body of elected officials -- told IPS.

--the pretense that eviction is actually for the squatters' benefit: "Catastrophes must be prevented. It's for this reason that the residents of Pays-Bas must leave this dangerous zone that they are living in -- illegally," Soumaïla Yahaya, a municipal official, told IPS.

--the broken promises: Four months after seeing their homes demolished in the name of safety and security, they are still waiting for resettlement at an alternative, developed site promised by authorities, IPS reports.


Anonymous said...

thnk you for you story about Niger

Juliette F. said...

I am the Vice President of the UNICEF club at UCLA, and we are in the process of organizing some events about shantytowns. I have been looking at all your reserach about shantytowns and I wondering if you might be interested in coming to our campus to make a presentation about urban slums around the world. Your airfare and accomdations would be covered by us. If you would be willing to help us out with this, please let me know. My email is

Juliette F.