Timbuktu’s slaves liberated as Islamists flee

Seawall

Registered User
Been meaning to post this.

Timbuktu’s slaves liberated as Islamists flee


Sudarsan Raghavan/The Washington Post - Mbarka Wallet Hallane, 50, a former slave, poses for a portrait in Timbuktu. Across this sand-swept city, thousands of darker-skinned modern day slaves, known as Bellas, are experiencing a sense of liberation, many for the first time in their lives.

By Sudarsan Raghavan, Published: June 1
TIMBUKTU, Mali — Her light-skinned master no longer beats her with a camel whip. He no longer makes her work from dawn to night without pay. He fled with his family four months ago, along with the Islamists who briefly ruled this historic city.

“I am free,” said Aminaya Traore, a 50-year-old woman who was born into slavery. “I can do whatever I want.”

Across this sand-swept city, hundreds of modern-day slaves are experiencing a sense of liberation, many for the first time. Nearly all the lighter-skinned Tuaregs and Arab Moors who for generations exploited them have fled the city, fearing reprisal attacks for supporting supporting the Islamists or the Tuareg separatists whose rebellion helped ignite the Islamist takeover of Mali’s north last year.

“Under the Islamists, blacks were exploited even more by the pink-skinned people,” said Roukiatou Cisse, a social worker with Temedt, a human rights group, referring to the Tuaregs and Arab Moors. “They told them, ‘We are with the Islamists. We are in power. We are the masters and you are our slaves. We will do what we want.’ ”

“Now, the slaves have profited by the pink-skinned people leaving.”

The jubilation underscores how deeply divided Mali’s northern communities became during the 10-month rule of the Islamists, who included homegrown jihadists, such as the Tuaregs and Arab Moors, as well as foreigners with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the terror network’s West and North Africa branch. A French-led military intervention that began in January ousted the Islamists from towns in the north, though a guerrilla war continues.

Under the Islamists, many Tuaregs and Arab Moors took advantage of their shared ethnic backgrounds with the jihadists and asserted themselves over their black neighbors. The widened rift between the communities could take years, if not decades, to close, residents say.

“It’s a very deep wound that could prove difficult to heal. It could fester for 10, 20, even 30 years,” said Salem Ould Elhadje, 73, a local historian, who has written four books about Timbuktu. “One side no longer trusts the other side.”

In rebellion, a resurgence

Slavery was abolished in 1960 after the West African nation gained independence, and all people are considered equal under Mali’s constitution. Yet there’s no law that criminalizes slavery, making it hard to seek legal action. And there’s little political will to address the problem: Many government officials deny the practice exists.

Today, an estimated 200,000 people live as slaves or in slavelike conditions in Mali, mostly in rural areas, according to Temedt, which means “solidarity.” The advocacy group Anti-Slavery International says that “descent-based slavery” exists in other West African countries as well, including Mauritania and Niger.

Those who have been freed, often by running away, still face discrimination because of their family’s historical status as slaves. Most of the people who have slaves are Tuareg, though some black ethnic groups in northern Mali have also been known to have slaves, who are known as Bella, which means both “black” and “slave.”
 

dollbabi

Earth Angel
Very interesting...especially since Tuareg peoples can run the color spectrum though perhaps being lighter in general. Glad the slaves are free.
 

sankofaa

New member
Dude, you really seem to have a strong distaste for Islam...or is it religion in general? Either way, why?
muslims have a long history of intruding on others, bringing violence to otherwise peaceful people. They've been doing it for thousands of years and they're still doing it.
 

dollbabi

Earth Angel
muslims have a long history of intruding on others, bringing violence to otherwise peaceful people. They've been doing it for thousands of years and they're still doing it.
Didn't Christianity do the same for thousands of years? As well as other religious groups commit atrocities against others? The true motivation for such actions is many times not even religious. Anyway, just curious about your perception..
 

A.K.K.S.

New member
muslims have a long history of intruding on others, bringing violence to otherwise peaceful people. They've been doing it for thousands of years and they're still doing it.
islam really is like a cancer
Didn't Christianity do the same for thousands of years? As well as other religious groups commit atrocities against others?
Abrahamic Religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) are all evil and useless in 2013....
 

A.K.K.S.

New member
Very interesting...especially since Tuareg peoples can run the color spectrum though perhaps being lighter in general. Glad the slaves are free.
I already explained the Tuaregs to you. Tuaregs are just Berbers who have more recent admixture from West Africans. They identify as "white"... not "black" or "mixed".

They are originally from the north and used to look more Mediterranean, like other Berbers. They held Soninke, Mande, Songhai and Wolof people as slaves and have bred with them to some extent.
 

dollbabi

Earth Angel
Abrahamic Religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) are all evil and useless in 2013....
Then you should abandon those evil societies where they predominate and go somewhere else then, right? Good luck with that.

I already explained the Tuaregs to you. Tuaregs are just Berbers who have more recent admixture from West Africans. They identify as "white"... not "black" or "mixed".

They are originally from the north and used to look more Mediterranean, like other Berbers. They held Soninke, Mande, Songhai and Wolof people as slaves and have bred with them to some extent.
Who cares what you feel you explained. I was familiar with the Tuareg before you, and thus, couldn't care less what your opinion may be.
 

mz_JazE

Southern Belle
What does running the color spectrum have to do with what they consider themselves being? I mean she didn't say they were black. smh

Anyways glad that they're free.
 

A.K.K.S.

New member
Then you should abandon those evil societies where they predominate and go somewhere else then, right? Good luck with that.
Well last time I checked, religion is dying in every country. It will be almost gone by 2100. :meeting:


Who cares what you feel you explained. I was familiar with the Tuareg before you, and thus, couldn't care less what your opinion may be.
Well here goes some info for you to not care about:

European Journal of Human Genetics - Abstract of article: Linking the sub-Saharan and West Eurasian gene pools: maternal and paternal heritage of the Tuareg nomads from the African Sahel

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/stor...7FF1C03DBD826D.d01t04?v=1&t=hhm49gts&54e1abe9

^
They are Berbers who have mixed with West Africans to varying degrees...
 

dollbabi

Earth Angel
Well last time I checked, religion is dying in every country. It will be almost gone by 2100. :meeting:
Riiiiggghhht...whatever makes you sleep better at night. :kicks




You're right...I don't care.
 

dedetriniking

Registered User
Religion can do good in the world but unfortunately people have used all the so-called great religions in the world to do evil over the years.
 
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