Monday, August 11, 2008

Freeing One Mauritanian Slave (1 of 4)

The scene: Mauritania. The story: a brother searches for his sister. She is a slave, twice made a mother by having been raped by her master. She lives in a country where slavery has been declared illegal, over and over again. Government officials pass new laws criminalizing slavery, while simultaneously boasting that there is no such thing as slavery anymore.

Yet slavery persists: the brother’s sister lives her life, somewhere, as her master’s property. Her existence is not much different than the sheep she watches over.

The brother is accompanied in his search by members of SOS Esclaves (a Mauritanian government-sanctioned anti-slavery human rights organization), as well as a police officer empowered to enforce their nation’s latest anti-slavery laws. They find the sister, in her master’s tent. Together they take her away from her domestic bondage, but not without effort. Four decades of slavery has left its mark on her; terrified, she screams and weeps as if her delivery was actually her enslavement.

When the team arrives back in Nouakchott, the capital city, the sister is subdued. She admits, finally, that she had indeed been a slave, and her earlier denial was caused by fear for her future if she admitted as much in her master’s presence. She expresses relief that her brother has launched this effort to liberate her from her slavery.

This summarizes the gut-wrenching story chronicled in the French documentary, “Chasseurs D’Esclaves”, “Slave Hunters”, broadcast on European television in June of this year. The 45-minute French-language film is available online in three parts.

This is the evil that lurks in the shadow of the recent military coup in Mauritania, the dark secret perennially left out by media accounts on this story.

I'm going to translate substantial sections of the "Slave Hunters" documentary.

Part 1, establishing the background to the case, will be translated here; part 2, showing the confrontation at the master’s tent, will be translated here; and part 3, the rescue, translated here.


Dag said...

This effort on your part, Charles, is one of those that makes the Internet one of history's great gifts to Humanity. We can't depend on the MSM or our intelligentsia generally for anything buy pre-packaged propaganda and ideological rubbish that suits their idiocies. Thanks to bloggers like you we can find the truth about things important. Great work. Thanks.

Charles Henry said...

Thanks, Dag.

Hopefully someday this documentary will be broadcast in English, it wouldn't be that hard to translate since so much is in sub-titles as it is.

Some of the show's content transcends language. The brother's anguished look at the beginning, and his glow of relief at the end, shine through even if you can't understand a word they are saying.