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Silent Terror

A Journey into Contemporary African Slavery

Cotton Samuel


Africa del Nord
Sahara
Mauritania

Anno - Date de Parution

1999

Pagine - Pages

192

Titolo originale

Silent Terror: A Journey into Contemporary African Slavery

Lingua originale

Lingua - language - langue

eng

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Silent Terror: A Journey into Contemporary African Slavery

Silent Terror  

Slavery - the crude ownership of a person and his exploitation like a beast of burden - has two major venues in the contemporary world, Sudan and Mauritania. The Sudanese practice results in large part from a war conducted by Muslims against Christians; when the former conquer the latter, they frequently enslave them (and often convert them to Islam). Mauritania has no war and no religion other than Islam-it close to being a purely Muslim country - but it does have a racial divide of (light-skinned) Arabs and (dark-skinned) "Negro-Africans," as they are known. Out of a total population of some 2 million, some tens of thousands of Mauritanians are enslaved. When Cotton, a graduate student at Columbia University and part-time journalist, learned about this situation, it horrified and absorbed him. His short but intense trip to Mauritania in early 1996 showed him first-hand of the existence of this foul institution; and as a black American, he felt the servitude of the black Mauritanians with special poignancy. Cotton began his researches as a reporter, thinking that the mere exposure of facts would affect other African-Americans much as they did himself, as they startled at the racism and servitude in Mauritania, somewhat akin to the experience of their own ancestors. But they did not. He found that black leaders (Louis Farrakhan, mainstream black American Muslims, former congressman Mervyn Dymally, and academics at Howard University) not only pooh-pooh the issue but in many cases actively apologize for the slave system. So he became an activist. Thus far, he has found, even his seeming successes, such as passing a NAACP resolution condemning slavery, turned out to have no operational significance.