Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tuareg Identity

I will be submitting either a summary of my findings in Kidal or the paper I will deliver at the 17th Sahel Workshop, taking place in Grève, Denmark the 6th-7th of November, 2006 by next week.

Until then, I went to offer an observation, superficial at best. There is a difference in terms of how Malians view their Tamasheq peoples and how the Nigeriens view this group. I have walked around Bamako and Niamey extensively and the reaction that people have to my turban and how I wear it is astonishing. In the mid day heat, I cover my face, like the Tamasheq people do only I learned this from the Moors in Mauritania. When I did this in Bamako, the reaction was not that much different as when I wear the turban as a scarf in the late afternoons and evenings. People were just as friendly.

Niamey, however, turns a cold shoulder to me when I veil my face. I can't help but wonder if their are animosities between the southern groups (Hausa, Djerma, Songhaï) and the northern groups (Tamasheq, Arab and Tubu) who had problems with the government the 1990s, an armed rebellion. Concessions were given to northern peoples with the cease fire, but large numbers of Hausa, Djerma and Songhaï peoples protested these concessions as they gave a chunk of an already small national revenue to people who are barely 5% of the population. There is more than just competition over natural resources. There is competition over finiancial resources as well.

3 comments:

Karl's Brother said...

Franklin,
The level of danger in Niger has just been notched up...

Niger orders expulsion of Arabs

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6081416.stm

The government of Niger has ordered around 150,000 Arabs who live in the east of the country to leave.
Most of the Arabs, known as Mahamid, are nomads who have fled conflict in Chad. A BBC correspondent says many have lived in Niger for decades.

The governor of Diffa State, where most of the Mahamid live, told them it was "high time" to pack and return to Chad.

No reason for the order has been given, but government officials are meeting local elders in the capital, Niamey.

The BBC Idy Baraou in Niamey says many Mahamid are citizens of Niger and hold senior positions in the army, government and business.

Others look after camels and donkeys around Lake Chad.

But other communities in Niger often accuse the Mahamid of theft and rape.

Our correspondent says police have rounded up several hundred Mahamid at Kabalewa village, 75 km east of Diffa.

Karl's Brother said...

Did you just use the phrase "fair and balanced"?

PinayApple said...

HI!! Guess who this is??

I hope things are going well...