Slaves Hunter


a documentary film : Slaves Hunter
Director : Sophie Janneau
Length : 50'
Year : 2008
Producer : Daniel Leconte

Abstract

For the very first time, the issue of contemporary slavery in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania is raised. Slavery indeed persists in the XXIst century! Whole parts of the population are born “Slaves” and others inherit the right to be “Masters”. Slavery is traditional, usual and endogenous; it therefore concerns every community of the country. Amongst Moors and Arabic-speaking people, “mongrels” (black Moors) are slaves to “white Moors”. In African communities - Peuls, Wolofs and Soninkes – slave-master relationship is common between two black individuals. In this country located at the confluences of Black Africa and North Africa, it’s all about who you descent from and how high your caste ranks. According to these unjust laws, slaves are the property of their Masters, their good, their inheritance. Slaves carry out dirty jobs while Masters write poetry or establish themselves as intellectuals. The basis of this persisting reality is facilitated by Islam; a religion that does not condemn slavery. Furthermore, slaves are convinced they will burn in hell if they leave their masters without having previously been freed by them. This system is supposed to have been abolished since 1981: the third condemnation of this cultural practice in the history of Mauritania! August 2007 marked a new attempt to promulgate a law criminalizing slavery. We went there to see if it was possible to halt a tradition that has been going on for centuries. A riveting documentary!