Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Mauritania

Notes and tidbits posted on FB and Twitter. Part 167

Note: I take notes of books I read and comment on events and edit sentences that fit my style. I pa attention to researched documentaries and serious links I receive. The page is long and growing like crazy, and the sections I post contains a month-old events that are worth refreshing your memory.

With over 150,000 slaves, Mauritania ranks first globally as the country with the largest de-facto and legal slave population in proportion to its barely densely population. (It is reported that a third of the population are slaves)

In Jordan, child labor is huge with some 30,000 children working, mainly in shops, cafes, and restaurants.

Israel has a huge human trafficking sector, mainly in organ extraction.

Low-level skilled workers from China, Romania, Africa, Turkey, Thailand, and Philippines, Nepal, Siri Lanka and India face forced labor conditions in the developed colonial States and oil rich Gulf States.

Many imported workers have their passports confiscated by their “sponsors,” never receive wages due to debt bondage, and face threats and physical intimidation.

Women from Russia and former Soviet states are commonly trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

In Sudan, women and children are taken captive, then enslaved, branded, and bred. Women chosen as concubines (a woman who lives with a man but has lower status than his wife or wives) are genitally mutilated.

In Uganda, armed factions kidnap kids to become ruthless killers, after forcing them to kill their mothers.

Human trafficking in Lebanon has developed into sex work. With Lebanon being one of the least conservative countries in the Middle East, brothels or ‘’whore houses” have found fertile ground in the spoils of the shadowy industry. Same in Israel seaside cities

La violence latente est réservée dans les archives top secret des bureaux d’intelligence. La violence declaree’ est communiqué quand le “covert operation” a terminé

Image may contain: 1 person, text
Pleurer a chaude larmes après un instant Magique. C’est pour ca que les glandes lacrimogenes ont evoluées: Pour retenir l’illusion du Bonheur éternel

 

I became a slave at age 5.

Haby mint Rabah  posted:

Every day I looked after the herd. Every night I was raped by my master. I always thought, without understanding, that this was normal.

In Mauritania, where I’m from, hundreds of thousands of people are still held this way today. But I was lucky.

My brother escaped his masters and found an organisation working to stop slavery. He asked them to help free me.

But when they came to take me away, at first I completely refused. I couldn’t imagine a life away from my masters, a life where you worked no matter what, even if pregnant or giving birth. This was the only life I had ever known.

I believed it was normal. My chains were broken by a man who has dedicated his life to fighting slavery in Mauritania.

Now this man sits in prison for speaking out. It’s time we break his chains, so he can keep helping others break theirs

The man who came for me, and who has dedicated his life to freeing others like me, is now behind bars for daring to speak out against slavery. But in four days there is a court appeal and he could be released.

If hundreds of thousands of people around the world speak out for Biram Dah Abeid, we can break his chains so he can continue helping others break theirs.

The slave-owning elites have poured on the pressure to keep the status quo, but opinions are starting to change. And I believe our President can be influenced — under intense pressure, he’s released political prisoners before, including Biram himself.

Join me now to free him again.Join me now:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/mauritania_anti_slavery_biram_loc_ar/?bFAfecb&v=63496

 

 

Mauritania?  An “Arab” State in West Africa? Where a Third of population are slaves?

Mauritania is a vast desert State in West Africa, bordering Morocco, Algeria, Mali, Senegal…and the Atlantic Ocean. Apparently, its population is barely 3 million, a third of them are slaves and mostly women.

Mauritania is a member of the “Arab League“, but the US State Department opted to group Mauritania smack in Africa, and this State is “administered” as such by the US Secretary of State…

Lucky Mauritania?  That the US has decided to forget this country as part of the “Arab”World”: It must have been saved plenty of humiliation and indignities heaved on the remaining “Arab States” by the US foreign policies…

 posted on May 23, 2012, under: “The Arab Spring you haven’t heard about — in Mauritania”:

“You may not have heard of it, but the West African country of Mauritania has what is probably one of the most vibrant and active protest movements in the world today.

Protests drawing tens of thousands of people take place almost weekly in the capital Nouakchott, with many smaller protests happening on a daily basis around the vast country.

Photo by Magharebia, via Wikimedia Commons

The protests are overwhelmingly nonviolent, even in the face of frequent violent suppression, and have been going on since February 2011.

It would be comfortable to file these protests as another part of the Arab Spring: Mauritania is on the southern reaches of the Saharan Arab belt, and large-scale protests here started with the self-immolation and subsequent death of Yacoub Ould Dahoud, an action mirroring the suicide of Mohamed Bouazizi, which set off the revolt in Tunisia.

As in other Arab countries that experienced large-scale protests, Mauritania is governed by an autocratic regime whose leader, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, originally came to power through a coup d’état.

But while these similarities exist and the pro-democracy protests in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world surely have been a source of great inspiration for local activists, Mauritania merits a second look.

First, the range of participating actors in Mauritania are as diverse as their agendas. While a common concern of all protest movements is the end of the rule of Abdel Aziz, there are host of other issues that various groups want to have addressed, not all directly related to the country’s ruler.

(Saidou Wane, a Movement for Justice and Equality in Mauritania activist speaks during a protest against the government at Fountain Square in April. Photo via Cincinnati.com)

Chief among the issues is of slavery.

Some estimates say that up to a third of Mauritania’s population is enslaved (even though the practice has been formally abolished many times). Victims are overwhelmingly ethnic black Africans.

This creates racial tensions in Mauritania’s multi-ethnic society, but also religious ones, as certain interpretations of Islam are used to legitimize slavery.

These tensions have forced their way into the open in the context of current protests, with anti-slavery activist Biram Ould Abeid publicly burning Islamic legal manuals discussing the issue. Abeid was subsequently arrested by the authorities, and his case is controversially debated among other activists.

Another very active group, traditionally eyed suspiciously in Western societies, are the Islamists. Organizations like Tawassoul demand a State and society based on principles of Islamic law.

While not cooperating a lot with other protest movements, they have been incredibly persistent in their activities against the regime, including protests of Salafist women against democracy (which is seen as not compatible with Islam) and for the release of imprisoned husbands.

More familiar political standpoints are expressed by the traditional political opposition and various youth movements, the biggest of which has followed the modern tradition of naming itself after the date of the first big protest, 25F (February 25, 2011). These groups focus on democratic reform and an end of the reign of President Aziz.

With all these different actors and goals competing for internal support and attention, it is remarkable that protests have almost completely stayed peaceful for well over a year. While protesters frequently face violence from police (including kittling, arbitrary arrests, beatings, water cannons, tear gas and attack dogs), the protesters have employed a wide range of nonviolent tactics.

In addition to traditional rallies, marches, speeches and sitins, protesters have occupied public squares with tents and use social media and video live streaming to coordinate protests, document violence and communicate with the outside world.

As the growing momentum of the protests show, these nonviolent tactics have so far fulfilled their goal of mobilizing the general population against the regime. But President Aziz should not be counted out just yet.

While the diversity of the protesters and their goals shows that a vibrant civil society and widespread discontent exists in Mauritania, their disunity may still allow Aziz to carry the day.

Already, the affair around the Islamic book burning by anti-slavery activist Abeid has allowed President Aziz to portray himself as a defender of Islam.

Given the incompatibility of demands by pro-democracy activists and Islamists, it is easy to imagine President Aziz discovering his inner zealot to rally support from this part of society (a strategy tried and tested on the other side of continent in Sudan).

Another possible development could see Aziz taking advantage of the regional situation.

There are large parts of neighboring Rep. of Mali controlled by Islamist groups who proclaimed the Independence of Azawat in the northern region (see link in note). And the fear of an “African Afghanistan” is running high in European, U.S. and African capitals.

President Aziz could implement some feigned democratic reforms and present himself as a beacon of stability in the region, hoping for (and probably getting) Western military support and closed eyes, ears and mouths in the U.N. Security Council and the African Union.

Given the level of mobilization in Mauritania so far, the pro-democracy movements in Mauritania have a good chance of succeeding against such moves. Looking at successful nonviolent struggles elsewhere, activists in Mauritania could enhance the likelihood of success by working to undermine the foundations of the regime.

Actions like strikes and boycotts can be incredibly effective, if well employed. Additionally, the protest movements could reach out to security forces, trying to convince at least elements of them to turn over to their side.

After all, police and soldiers need to feel that they will be part of a better future as well, otherwise many of them will go with the devil they know instead of with the change they mistrust.

Note 1: Since, France has engaged troops to stop the Islamist forces marching toward south Mali, and so far, a few African contingents are participating, lukewarmly.

Note 2: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/western-africa-rep-of-mali-azawat-tuareg-south-sahara-al-qaeda-sahel-whats-going-on/

Devastating civil war in Yemen: Is it of any concern to the UN? (Oct. 27, 2009)

The UN did it again!  Civil wars in non-oil producing Arab States are left to run its natural steam until the State is bankrupt and ready to be picked up at salvage price.

The UN tends to get busy for years in collateral world problems when civil wars strike any non oil-producing Arab States.  Occasionally, the UN demonstrates lukewarm attempts for a resolution in oil producing States as long as it is under control.

Lebanon experienced 17 years of civil war.  Morocco still has a civil war in south Sahara for three decades.  Sudan has been suffering of a rampant civil war for four decades.  Algeria is experiencing a resurgence of a devastating civil war that started in 1990 because Europe refused to accept a democratically elected Islamic majority in the parliament.  Iraq was totally neglected while Saddam Hussein was decimating the Shias and Kurds in Iraq for three decades, even after the US coalition forced the Iraqi troops out of Kuwait.  Somalia never got out of its miseries for four decades so far.  Mauritania is rope jumping from one military coup to another. The other Arab States are in constant low-level civil wars overshadowed by dictators, one party, oligarchic, and monarchic regimes.

A week ago, a few trucks were allowed to cross Saudi borders to Yemen carrying tents and necessary medicines to stem rampant diseases where hundred thousands of refugees huddle in refugee camps on the high plateau of North-West Yemen, by the borders with Saudi Arabia that closed its borders and chased out any infiltration of refugees.

The most disheartening feeling is that you don’t see field reporting of this civil war by the western media.  The written accounts are from second-hand sources and decades old. They abridge the problem by stating it is a tribal matter. They feel comfortable blaming Iran; then how this land locked region can be supplied by Iran needs to be clarified. The western media is easily convinced that Al Qaeda moved from Saudi Arabia and was ordered to infiltrate the Somali refugee camps in South Yemen; then how Al Qaeda got to be located in a region of North West Yemen with Shia Yazdi population is irrelevant.

The population of North West Yemen forms the third of the total and it is Yezdi Chiia that agrees to seven Imams and not 12 as in Iran; the Yazdi sect does not care that much about the coming of a “hidden” Mahdi to unite and save Islam.  The western media want you to believe that this war, which effectively started in 2004, is a succession problem to prevent the son of current President Abdallah Saleh from inheriting the power. Actually Saleh’s son is the head of the Presidential Guard which has been recently involved in the war after the regular army failed to bring a clear-cut victory.

Yemen was a backward States even in the 60’s.  South Yemen had a Marxist regime backed by the Egyptian troops of Jamal Abdel Nasser against North Yemen ruled by an ancient Yazdi Imam; a hereditary regime labeled the “Royalists” and backed by Saudi Arabia. After the Soviet Union disintegrated Yemen unified in 1990.  Since then, South Yemen and North West Yemen were deprived of the central State financial and economic distribution of wealth.  President Saleh could present the image of a “progressist” leader as long as Yemen was out of the screen and nobody cared about this bankrupt State.

Yemen is on the verge of being divided into three separate autonomous States, the South, North West, and Sanaa the Capital.  The problems in the Horn of Africa have migrated its endemic instability into Yemen; refugees from Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Sudan have been flocking into the southern shores of Yemen for same climate.  Heavy influx of contraband products are keeping the people of these two regions precariously afloat. The deal between Hillary Clinton and Israel foreign affairs Levny to patrol the Indian Ocean was not just meant for Gaza but mainly to prepare President Saleh for his 2009 campaign against the rebels in North Yemen by monitoring contraband arms shipments to the “hawssy” rebel.

Saudi Arabia, during the duo power brokers of Prince Sultan and Neyef (respectively Ministers of Defense and the Interior) did their best to destabilize Yemen on account of fighting the spread of the Shia sect in the Arabic Peninsula. Yemen has no natural resources to count on and the population is addicted to “Qat” that they chew on at lunch time for hours.

Yemen was the most prosperous region in the Arabic Peninsula for millennia.  Land caravans started from Taez and then passed by Maareb from which town the caravans split to either Mecca (then to Aqaba and Syria) or took the direction to Persia and Iraq. All kinds of perfume, seasoning, and textile landed by sea from India and South East Asia; incense was produced from a special tree grown in Yemen and Hadramout. The British Empire didn’t care about this region; all that it wanted to secure were sea ports for commerce and to defend the entrances of the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea to Egypt.

The UN is inheriting the same lax attitude of the British Empire; as long as the US bases are secured in this region then the hell with the people. Qatar arranged for reconciliation in 2007 and Saudi Arabia interfered to fail it. Archaic tribes fighting one another wearing daggers as symbol of manhood are all that there is in Yemen.

“… Riding this camel is rougher than maneuvering a skiff” 

(September 2, 2009)

            My first visit to this fishing village was due to a malfunction in the small cruising ship. I have never traveled by sea and I longed for this kind of adventure.  I came to a small sum of money by lick late in my life.  I had no idea how to spend it.  I stumbled on a cruise pamphlet and my longing rekindled powerfully.  No, I didn’t care to board those most modern and most comfortable cruise ships: I wanted to be among a restricted hardy crowd that loved to go on an adventure instead of the predominantly cozy vacationers.

            It took me about a month of investigation to find a sea cruising Travel Company with my specifications. I had first to take to sea to Alexandria to board the cruise. I could have flown but I wanted to taste the sea and check if I could sustain the travel. The trip was to circumnavigate Africa and then cross the Suez Canal on the return trip.

            A hovercraft landed us in this fishing village. Many preferred to stay in the ship for the duration of the repair. I was among the “adventurers” who wanted to trample the shores of Mauritania.  It turned out that the village was about a couple hours drive to Dakar, the capital of Senegal.

            I liked the village and it was the cool “rainy” season.  I decided to pay a deposit for an old rundown house with a functional well situated on a mound and at about 300 meters from the Atlantic Ocean.

            I returned the next year by air with plans.  I could speak and understand classical Arabic but I needed much more time to learn the local slang. I planted roots as a serious business man, not the occasional tourist, by buying shares of a camel caravan leader.  Caravan business suffered serious predicaments.  Caravans by camels moved loads of salt to the interior and going as far as Mali.  Modern transports and the abundance of salt were killing this old fashion trade. I had a mind of transforming part of the business into a tourist old fashion desert cruising enterprise.

Raising camels is a hard job; finding comfort on top of a camel is a misnomer: You might as well say “riding this camel is rougher than maneuvering a skiff”. I have not yet mounted a camel, not even a horse, never a lousy pony.  I figure that you should take a dizzy pill for precaution, just climbing up high, not to say looking at the undulating sand. I figure that riding camels is not an ingrained behavior and gaining patience for camel traveling is obviously not one of the human characteristics.  Either you are trained to focus inwardly like yogi (focus on a point in the desert is out of the question) or you might have developed powerful imagination (like reciting Kublai Khan Poem and adding quatrains to it).  It is not like plunging your kid in deep sea to teach him swimming: quick sand spots are frequent encounters.

In the second millennia techniques for designing saddles for camels as a mounting fighting beast during wars were introduced; there were saddles located ahead, on, or behind the boss of the camel for specific fighting advantages; the main specifications related to matters of control of the beast, stability, and range of vision.

            The Bedouin castes were created by the urban merchants to domesticate camels and then used later to support caravans as fighting guards against raiders.  Raising camels thus became a lucrative trade that specific tribes of Bedouins had the monopoly.

 

Note: this post and the previous one “Out in Mauritania” are day dreaming stories; it up to you to actualize.  These two posts might unfold to a novel or be cut short. Your feedback could be a catalyst to my design.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

April 2020
M T W T F S S
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

Blog Stats

  • 1,377,167 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 722 other followers

%d bloggers like this: