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Mauritanian Slavery

Reader comment on item: Silent Terror: A Journey into Contemporary African Slavery

Submitted by aga98 (Canada), Jan 27, 2005 at 11:57

Samuel Cotton's view of Mauritania is perceived with is own American cultural bias. I have been several times to Mauritania and I have never seen anyone chained. I have never seen a slave market. I did see rich black & arab people. I did see poor black & arab people. All the rich folk (black &arab) had servants. These servants worked 12 hour a day 6 1/2 day a week, in exchange they got food,shelter and a very small salary.

All these servants, so called slaves, are free to run away. The problem is, there is nowhere to run away. Mauritania is a very poor country. The jobless rate is 30%. If you have no skills, you cant have hope to do anything other than to be a servant of people who either are rich land owners or people with skills (Doctors, engineers, etc...).

Samuel Cotton's view is adverserial: white VS black. The reality is that Mauritania's economy is so underdeveloped that this medieval type of relentionship, master-servant, is the best(Least worst) economic situation poor black people can have.

It is true that a lot of rich arabs consider their servants as slaves who can be beaten and insulted. It is not true however that the governement approves. The problem in Mauritania is economics, not slavery.

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