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.