Monday, March 08, 2004

Mauritania: slavery still exists

Here is one man's story about the practice of slavery in the country. Though he was never a slave himself, Ould Beilil is the child of slaves and his wife is a slave ...
Ould Beilil belongs to the population group known as the Haratins or "black Moors", descendants of slaves formerly owned by the light-skinned Arab-Berber Moors, who dominate the country politically and economically.

Nomadic "white Moors" used to ride down south to capture black slaves who adopted the Arab-Berber culture of their masters.

It was not a simple case of whites enslaving blacks, however.

Some slaves were light-skinned, and Mauritania's black ethnic groups such as the Soninkes or Hal-Pulaars also kept slaves. The government says measures against poverty and illiteracy have almost eradicated slavery, but Ould Beilil tells a different story.