Mauritania And Much More Undimmed For The Damned



“In Arab mythology, the al-Sada bird, or death owl, emerges from the body of a murdered man and shrieks until someone takes revenge.” — Lindsey Hilsum

“I’m good at killing.” — Barack Obama

The one thing most people know about the Islamic Republic of Mauritania — if they know anything at all about that mysterious country in the Maghreb region of Northwestern Africa — is that it was the last country on earth to abolish slavery in 1981. Slavery was not actually made a crime until 2007, suggesting that it was still widely practiced for over quarter of a century following the beginning of the Era of Reagan in the U.S.

Reagan never uttered a word about Mauritania’s abominable practice while he was in office… or after. Not like the presidents who followed in his footsteps. [Pause.] Just kidding, none of the U.S. Commander-in-Chiefs ever said anything during my three-quarters of a century of life about that atrocity. Perhaps, it’s time for U.S. teachers to at least underscore how slavery persists in Mauritania today on a clandestine basis with the complicity of the U.S. and other Western powers.

Why not? It’s indirect horror. I’ve pretty much given up on urging U.S. teachers to spotlight direct U.S. atrocities abroad in the classroom. That’s a problematic matter, of course, considering that it’s almost obligatory for such truths to be ignored if one wants to keep one’s job. Everyone is expected to fall into line behind the mantra, We’re Doing What We’re Doing Overseas to Protect Your Freedoms. But what’s to keep an instructor from at least going over which countries — themselves — look the other way when segments of its population practice something like slavery? Nothing. Nothing but a very unhealthy attitude toward the world. And any sin of omission on that score definitely contributes to blindness vis-a-vis domestic U.S. slavery in its many forms.

Teachers are — as I write — damning their charges to ignorance compounding ignorance when it comes to slavery, what”s enabled by AFRICOM in almost all the nations of Africa (including the focus of my most recent article)… and much more.

Much more important than our ignorance about slavery in Mauritania, though, is the even lesser known fact that in the same year that Mauritania declared its intention to abolish slavery it also announced that it would become a sharia nation, making Koranic precepts the law of the land. For the way things are unfolding educators are routinely taking reports coming out of D.C. at face value, totally ignoring the degree to which we are stirring up passions all around the world that guarantee millions will embrace what we call Terrorism. [Pause.] Stirring up such passions courtesy of actions such as the drone campaigns conducted by both Democrats and Republicans.

Repeatedly — with definitive documentation offered up — alternative media outlets have been screaming how we’re engaged in creating more and more Terrorism, not dealing with it effectively with present our tactics and strategies. Government representatives have not been listening for the most part, of course. Ditto for our educators.

And so… our new wave of highly educated graduates will soon be treated to coffee table books and documentaries featuring recruits from the Islamic Republic of Mauritania or the havoc they wreak… along the lines of what’s come out of Somalia, Libya and other weakened realms.

Ignorance compounding ignorance. Unnecessarily too.

Who on which campus will stop the rain?

It can be done. But it can’t be done on the run. Or alone. At the very least we can — together — lessen the downpour. Contact me for leisurely dialogue, if you’re for undimmed education, as I have a game plan to delineate for your kind consideration. For moving in solidarity to encourage our teachers to communicate more, better. [Pause.] For they do need help. In four minutes a day, say, one could fill the youngsters in on a precious amount of truth ignored by the mainstream. And then there would be a basis, maybe, for a new kind of movement together.

The interaction between Mauritania’s slave system on the one hand and the rapid and extreme Islamification of Mauritanian public and political life on the other are at the center of an excellent book by the Mauritanian political scientist Zekeria Ould Ahmed Salem: Preaching in the Desert.

There are 195 countries in the world today, and I have singular volumes like that (for each nation on earth) to donate to schools, but — thus far — I’ve had no takers. I’ve targeted principals, librarians, history specialists, teachers of geography and others at U.S. high schools without generating interest. For years. These days I don’t even get replies to email gestures.

What does all that mean? What does it mean to you? I’d like to know.

I know one thing, though. When you get bombed and there’s no escape from your violator YOU as an individual — your aspirations,  your ideas about what is right — mean absolutely nothing. And that’s when you understand why people get radicalized. Viscerally you can understand, relate. Anyone who’s lived long enough halfway healthy is capable of completely understanding why somebody would join ISIS or al-Quaeda or their counterparts. You are in dire  need for a narrative that can justify the futility that is festooned throughout every nook and cranny of your existence, including the meaning of the deaths of your dearest loved ones. There has to be a point. So you become a radical. Your suffering has to be for a reason. Otherwise your unbearable pain becomes painful on a plane that’s the meaning of insane.

Sharia law is not what’s damning us.

Richard Martin Oxman can be reached at [email protected].


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