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Mauritania (not the holiday venue Mauritius) is over 1 million square kilometers in land mass (Britain is only 244,000). It has huge reserves of oil and is situated in West Africa. Ever heard of it?

Old Bushel Britches here hadn’t either.

One other thing – Mauritania still has slavery.

Sometimes referred to as the last apartheid state, there are still around 600,000 people enslaved there out of a population of 3.2 million. What is more, those enslaved are predominantly dark-skinned Haratines or Afro-Mauritians, with the slave owners being “White Moors”. Slaves are often passed down from generation to generation and are expected to work the fields, do labouring jobs in construction or be house maids.

Slavery was only officially abolished in Mauritania in 1981 but it still took until 2007 for slave-owning to become a criminal offence. Despite this act of law slavery is still rife. In part, this is because it is such an ingrained part of the social fabric of Mauritania. However, those slaves who learn of their freedom have very few options available to them. The economic situation of Mauritania is dire, there are scant natural resources and it is almost entirely desert. This leaves only a very stark choice available – slavery or starvation.

And for those who do choose to exercise their freedom, there skin colour makes them instantly recognizable leading them to jobs in menial, underpaid work or (often) the sex trade.

America is supposedly the defender of the free world but yet it still supports the Mauritanian government. Why? Because the rise of Al-Qaeda in the Mauritanian desert makes it “a key ally” in the fight on terror.

We seem to have our priorities all wrong. We seem to think we have moved on.

Take another look.

Below is the link to a petition to stop US support of the Mauritanian government. Sign it.

http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-slavery-halt-us-support-to-the-mauritanian-government

Just doin’ ma duty,

Much love,

Old Bushel Britches x

(like Old Bushel Britches at http://www.facebook.com/OldBushelBritches?ref=hl and follow on twitter at https://twitter.com/bushel_britches)

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