ARAB MASTERS, AFRICAN SLAVES?
The African holocaust continues!
African Americans have contended for decades with a rage born of remembrance, a resentment
fomented by poignant images of Africans captured, bound, and sent into the horrors of slavery. Some have been driven to travel
to the continent of Africa, and stand on the shores of West Africa to view the actual places where the degradation of a people
At these places, the grandchildren of ancient slaves, survivors of a holocaust, wrestle
with a terrible mixture of emotions. The passions produced by the realization that the forts before them housed their African
ancestors in their last days of freedom before a long voyage delivered them into the hands of cruel masters.
The white-hot anger that rises slowly in African Americans as they recall these events
and the epithets that dance in the heads of these observers of the past, sometimes escapes their lips as curses and bitter
mutterings. Occasionally, African Americans simply fulminate. These bitter expressions of resentment and grief have only been
cooled and soothed by a belief that African Americans hold.
The comforting assurance that the buying and selling of African slaves ended in the
Such a belief is a myth.
It has become clear that the enslavement of Africans did not stop with the demise of
the Atlantic Slave Trade. That on this very day and hour, as you read this, Africans are bought and sold in two North African
countries. In the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, indigenous Africans continue
to be enslaved by their Arab-Berber masters.
Although slavery was declared abolished three times since Mauritania's independence in 1960, it persists.
Slaves are given as wedding gifts, traded for camels, guns or trucks, and inherited.
The children of slaves belong to the master and slaves who displease their masters or attempt escapes are tortured in the
most brutal manner imaginable.
In Sudan, Africa's largest country, the Islamic Republic of the Sudan, as a result of
an Islamic-vs. -Christian civil war, African women and children (mostly Christian) are captured in raids on their villages
and sold as chattel slaves, sometimes, according to the UN in "modern-day slave markets."
The Mauritanian Embassy and the Sudanese Mission were contacted several times for comment
they did not return the calls.
Mauritania-A Legacy of Slave Trading
The enslavement of Africans has existed in Mauritania for many centuries. It is a country
that joins the descendants of admixed Arabs and admixed Berbers from the North, known as beydanes [because of European imperial
influence, now call themselves so-called white men], and the African ethnic communities living in the South. Africans, mostly
sedentary farmers, consisting of the Tukulor, the Fulani, and the Wolof tribes were brought north after being captured by
raiding Arab/Berber tribes.
This activity predates and postdates the Atlantic slave trade. Simply put, the slave
trade that brought Africans to these shores never stopped in Mauritania.
"More than 100,000 descendants of Africans conquered by Arabs during the 12th century
are still thought to be living as old-fashioned chattel slaves in Mauritania" says Newsweek after conducting a yearlong, four-continent
investigation of slavery.
Differing only slightly with this estimate, the U.S. State Department estimates that
90,000 Africans still live as the property of Berbers, "and that's a conservative estimate," said Dr. Jacobs, who puts the
actual figure closer to 300,000 when interviewed by The News Tribune. In addition, Newsweek states that "Aside from the shantytowns
and a strip of land along the Senegal River, virtually all Africans are slaves, and they are more than half the population."
"[Indigenous] Africans in Mauritania were converted to Islam more than 100 years ago,"
says Mohamed Athie, Executive Director of the American Anti-Slavery Group, [and] . . ."the Koran forbids the enslavement of
fellow Muslims, but in this country race outranks religious doctrine . . . Though they are Muslims, these people are chattel:
used for labor, sex and breeding."
Africa Watch reported "Religion has been used by masters as an important instrument
to perpetuate slavery.
Relying on the fact that Islam recognizes the practice of slavery, they have misinterpreted
it to justify current practices. In truth, Islam only permits treating as slaves, non-Islamic captives caught after holy wars,
on condition that they are released as soon as they convert to Islam.
People living as slaves in Mauritania long before the first abolition in 1905 were all
Moslems, but this did not lead to their emancipation. We received numerous complaints about the extent of which qadis (judges
in Islamic courts) continue to exercise their judicial functions to protect the institution of slavery, rather than to ensure
Successive regimes outlawed slavery in 1905, at independence in 1960, and most recently
in 1980. These edicts were only lip service and window dressing. The proof is that since independence all economic and political
power has remained firmly in the hands of beydanes.
The Sudanese government never passed any laws providing punishment for enslaving indigenous
Africans and they never bothered to tell many of the slaves about emancipation. In 1980, the government sought to have its
ruling ratified by a body of religious jurist, the ulema. The jurists said that slavery is not wrong on religious grounds,
but that outlawing it would be within the government's competence--provided that owners were compensated for the manumission
of slaves. Nobody has ever applied for compensation."
These African slaves in Mauritania are subjected to mental and emotional torments that
have always been concomitant with slavery. "Routine punishments for the slightest fault include beatings, denial of food and
prolonged exposure to the sun, with hands and feet tied together. "Serious" infringement of the master's rule can mean prolonged
tortures, documented in a report by Africa Watch.
1. The "camel treatment," where a human being is wrapped around the belly of a dehydrated
camel and tied there. The camel is then given water and drinks until its belly expands enough to tear apart the slave.
2. The "insect treatment," where insects are put in his ears. The ears are waxed shut.
The arms and legs are bound. The person goes insane from the bugs running around in his head.
3. The "burning coals" where the victim is seated flat, with his legs spread out. He
is then buried in sand up to his waist, until he cannot move. Coals are placed between his legs and are burnt slowly. After
a while, the legs, thighs and sex of the victim are burnt. There are other gruesome tortures, none of which is fit to describe
in a family newspaper" states Africa Watch.
Another report states that some slaves caught fleeing are often castrated or branded