NewsNorth AfricaMauritania's time to right a wrong


Posted on Monday, 25 July 2016 18:20

Mauritania's time to right a wrong

Abda Wone

That Mauritania is an Arab country is a cultural and geographical fact that none can deny. That Mauritania is also a sub-Saharan African country with a negro-African culture is also a fact no one can deny.

These two distinct identities are neither parallel nor contradictory. They are pacific and cordial. And if well managed, they can be good bedfellows.

But first, we need patriotic leaders who know the history of the country and are animated by the will to build a nation that is united, independent and democratic. What is perhaps missing in Mauritania is a leadership that is lucid, conciliatory and visionary.

 it was understood that Mauritania would serve as a bridge between North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa

To play a determining role in Africa and the world, Mauritania needs to understand the real issues and seize the geopolitical opportunity that allows it to belong to two worlds that consider Islam as their bedrock.

Mauritania's leadership, since the dawn of independence, has fought much more for the country's Arabisation rather than build ties with sub-Saharan Africa.

The ravages of this intense Arabisation have caught up with us, creating an internal disequilibrium and pitting people who inhabit the same land and share the same religion and history against each other.

This politics of double standards is at odds with the general, shared ideas of the 1960s. At the end of the colonial era, as Africa became independent, it was understood that Mauritania would serve as a bridge between North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. This idea was abandoned and replaced by a different one altogether.

Today, as Mauritania hosts the Arab League summit, is an opportune moment to pause and think about reclaiming this country's dual identity. It is only by adopting such a position that Mauritania will honour its noble mission entrusted to her by its African sons and daughters.

Abda Wone

Abda Wone

A dedicated human rights activist and panafricanist, Abda Wone holds a Masters Degree from the School of International and Public Affairs of Columbia University and a post graduate degree in journalism from Senegal. Born in Kaedi, Mauritania on 16 June 1973 Wone is an exiled academic and activist. In 1989 his family, along with more than 120,000 other black Africans, was deported from Mauritania by the then Arab dominated regime, Wone was just 16 years old. After relocating to Senegal, he completed his schooling and later worked with Sud Quotidien, a Sengalese daily newspaper and Diamono FM, as an interviewer and commentator. In 2000, he moved to Buffalo, New York, where he completed a degree in International Affairs at SUNY Buffalo.

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