Transcript Speech on the presentation of the book by Irene Lopez de Castro: Memorias del río Níger, el sueño de Tombuctú.
It is a privilege and an immense honour for me to attend this event on behalf of his Excellency Abdrahamane Baby, Ambassador of Mali to the Kingdom of Spain, on a trip to Mali. He asks me to tell you that he would have liked to be with us this afternoon and to renew his support.
On his behalf, I would especially like to thank Ms. Irene López de Castro for the initiative of the book entitled: Memorias del río Níger, el sueño de Tombuctú. I offer you our sincerest congratulations and best wishes for your important contribution to the promotion of cultural and artistic diversity in Mali. In fact, the world needs such initiatives, which contribute to a better understanding of cultures and thus promote the establishment of friendly relations between people. Africa is full of wealth and Mali has many cultural assets. As Irene wrote so well in this book on page 190, I quote: “culture is the real gold of Mali”.
Ambassador Abdrahamane Baby also entrusts me to convey to you, Mrs. Irene López de Castro, as well as to your family, friends, and partners, some of whom are present here, the greetings and encouragement of the Highest Authorities of the Transition of Mali. I would like to point out in passing those copies of the book have already been sent to the Malian authorities who appreciate their exemplary commitment to Mali through this high-quality work. I am also delighted with the excellence of your collaboration with the Embassy of Mali in Spain and would like, on behalf of Your Excellency, to assure you of our readiness to continue and maintain this partnership.
An autobiographical work: this book narrates the author’s memories along the Niger River in Mali, the evolution of her pictorial career as well as her travels in Africa (Mali, Senegal, Niger, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Guinea Conakry, Morocco, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya), Asia (India, Jordan), America (California) and Europe (Italy, France).
Making a total of 208 pages, divided into 3 parts and 27 chapters, it is with great pleasure that I read this book, in which Irene talks about her attraction to Mali, her self-denial to overcome prejudices about Africa, in order to realize her dream, that’s going to Timbuktu, the city of her inspiration. This passage of the book testifies on page 128 that reads as follows: “It seems that Timbuktu does have a power, that of conquering all those who come to conquer it.”
This book is an illustration of values, virtues. Feelings such as friendship, love, gratitude, spirituality, fraternity, humanism, solidarity, generosity, recognition, courage, hospitality, sacrifice, peace, justice, hope, mutual respect, social harmony, repentance, sadness, homage, hope, etc.
I express the hope that our dearest Irene López de Castro can make other trips to Mali to revisit Timbuktu, the city of her dreams and why not turn it into a second volume of this book that I would not hesitate to get right. In any case, the highest authorities of the Transition of Mali are working hard, so that Mali recovers its tranquillity of yesteryear for the happiness of the Malians and friends of Mali.
In conclusion, I invite you to read this book from beginning to end because it is a work that is not counted but read.
Long live the cultural cooperation between the Republic of Mali and the Kingdom of Spain!
Thank you for your attention.