Ahmadou Kourouma's Allah n'est pas obligé is set within the context of conflict with Islam. Magic, which derives from animistic thought, is being used unscrupulously by men who are nothing but businessmen willing to exploit the ancient beliefs of their people. These false magicians possess an active imagination that allows them to convince scientifically ignorant people that they can control and manipulate natural forces. Above all, these magicians are psychologically astute manipulators. Sociologically, these magician-businessmen are reassuring to a population in the throes of civil war, because they appear to offer the security of tradition. For this reason, those in political power surround themselves with these magicians so as to continue to execute their control over the uneducated masses. The magicians take full advantage of their position of power. They use fetishes as aids to impress the naive believers they are meant to treat. The fetish has commercial value as well, since it is regularly replaced and can enter the market as an object associated with magical powers. The fetish is associated with a list of sacrifices to make and restrictions to respect—all these rituals being part of the web created by the magician to protect himself against the eventual potential failure of his art to cure the person who has come to him for help.

(trans. Dana Rufolo)


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pp. 198-204
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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