Six time intercontinental International Boxing Federation middleweight boxing champion, Lansana Bea Diallo, better known as Bea Diallo [fr], born in Liberia and of Guinean stock, is also a Belgian politician.
Elected to the Brussels regional parliament and to the parliament of the French community, Bea Diallo is alderman for Youth, Employment, Family, Inter-generational relations and Equal Opportunity in Ixelles, one of the nineteen municipalities of the Brussels-Capital region.
Global Voices put some questions to him.
Global Voices (GV): We know you as a boxing champion, but you are also a local representative in Belgium? What a career!
Bea Diallo (BD): Yes, well, Guineans knew me as a boxer, but most of all as a man who tried to promote the image of Guinea and today. Not only have I been a member of the Belgian parliament for nearly ten years, but soon I will have been a local representative for almost seven years. I became a man of experience and recognised by the political world which was not a given.
GV: It is often difficult to combine high level sport with studying, you have a degree in Economics.
BD: Yes, high level sport is often incompatible with university studies, but, as I often say, with determination you can achieve many things and my dream was to succeed at both to be able to serve my country of origin one day. To help Guinea become a truly independent country and most of all to benefit the people with this blessing.
GV: How did you enter into politics?
BD: I really managed it by chance, I had never wanted to work in politics, but being a fighting man, committed to lots of causes, one day it was proposed that I supported a party as consensus candidate without even being in a position eligible for office as I occupied 69th place on the list. I found myself fifth out of twenty-five representatives.
GV: You fought in a boxing match in Guinea, what memory do you have of this?
BD: I think that it was the best moment of my sporting career. That is an unforgettable time, to box in front of 60,000 people and to have over 300,000 in the streets. It was quite simply magic.
GV: You have tried to help inhabitants of Conakry [capital of Guinea], notably in the sphere of transport. What lessons do you take from this, and how?
BD: You know I have no regrets, I imagined that it was necessary to do it at that very moment; if I lost a lot of money with the bad faith of our politicians who were, besides, continuing to kill the people while living in opulence without any projects for Guineans.
GV: Do you have other ambitions for your country of origin, Guinea?
BD: The sole ambition that I have for Guinea is still the same – to help this wonderful country to free itself from the shackles imposed by our own Guinean brothers: the politicians, mostly in the opposition.
GV: Facebook, twitter and a blog! Should we conclude from this that Bea Diallo is like Barack Obama with social media, using it regularly, or do you just use it occasionally?
BD: No, unfortunately not enough, I still have to optimise and most of all be more professional in my use of these networks which are a real communication force.
GV: There are more and more young Africans who try to come to Europe, despite the serious risks to which they are exposed. What would you advise them?
BD: It is difficult to give advice to these young people who are trying to improve their living conditions as well as those of their families with all the risks this brings. At the same time, no policy exists to encourage these young people to stay in their home country or continent.
But, in Europe today it is difficult to find work and to sort yourself out when you come from Africa so the fight must continue in the continent [of Africa] with a new generation taking power to give it to the people.
GV: Do you have a thought to leave us with?
BD: My conclusion is my dream! I would like Africans to come to Europe just as Europeans can go to Africa, in other words, on holiday and to go home because they have work and a family waiting for them.
GV: Thank you for answering our questions and good luck with your projects.