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Senegal Army: Face of Luxury, Back of Misery

In its usual deadpan humor, Blog Politique du Senegal highlights an architectural anecdote about the military headquarters of Senegal to make a wider point about the army's budget and priorities:

Military headquarters entrance. Courtesy Blog Politique du Senegal.

Je ne sais pas si vous connaissez l'intendance militaire, en bas de l'avenue Lamine Gueye. Depuis quelques semaines on y fait des travaux.
Entre autres on y a changé les portails et les portes sur la facade principale. Les anciennes n'étaient pas pourries, à voir comme ça. Mais tout a quand même été changé pour être remplacé par des portails style nouveau riche, genre Louis XV revu et corrigé par un décorateur saoudien.

Do you know the military headquarters, on Avenue Lamine Gueye? Works have been taking place there for the past couple of weeks. The doors and gates on the main entrance have been changed, for example. The old ones hadn't actually rotten. But everything was nevertheless replaced by nouveau riche gates, Louis XV style and corrected by a Saudi decorator.

Je sais pas si vous connaissez les réalisations des décorateurs saoudiens, c'est ringard et de mauvais goût mais ça fait riche… Bref l'armée échange des portails en bon état pour des portails villas-nouveaux-riches-qu'on-sait-pas-comment-ils-ont-faits. A croire que l'armée est trop riche et ne sait pas quoi faire de son argent.

I'm not sure if you know the work of Saudi decorators, it's rather gowdy and tasteless but looks rich … Essentially the army traded in gates in good condition for nouveau-riche-don't-know-how-they-mananged-to-afford-it gates. You can't help but think that the army is swimming in money that it doesn't know what to do with.

Ca fait rire, bien sûr c'est avec votre argent et le mien, enfin surtout le mien car je trouve que je paye beaucoup d'impots…. Moi ça me fait rire ! Vous, vous ne riez pas encore parce que vous ne savez pas tout, mais attendez la suite…

This is all funny. And of course it is with your money and mine, but especially mine since I tend to think I pay a lot of taxes… I find that quite amusing! You aren't laughing yet since you don't know the whole story but wait until I get to the end …

Si vous faites le tour de l'intendance, sur l'arrière, on longe le mur de l'intendance qui semble être rescapé de la bataille de Stalingrad. Au bout du mur, y'a un trou qui a toute une histoire. Tous les 5/6 mois on bouche le trou, le trou reste bouché quelques semaines et… il revient (le trou) et on recommence indéfiniment.

If you go around the headquarters, to the back, you go past the wall of the headquarters that seems to have been rescued from the Stalingrad battle. At the end of the wall there is a hole with a long history. Every 5/6 months the hole is filled, stays filled for a couple of weeks and … comes back (the hole) and back to square one.

Devant, là où ça se voit, on vire des portes qui pouvaient encore faire de l'usage pour les remplacer par des merdes prétentieuses et derrière le mur s'effondre gentiment dans l'indifférence générale.

In front, where eyes can see, doors that could have still been used have been chucked only to be replaced by pretentious pieces of crap. Meanwhile in the back, the wall is falling apart slowly but surely amidst general indifference.

Back wall of military headquarters. Courtesy Blog Politique du Senegal

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