Thursday, February 07, 2013

Senegal, Madagascar and Dr. Amadou Ba

Dr. Ba, who teaches history at Nipissing and Laurentian Universities, yesterday presented a paper entitled "African Soldiers in the French Colonial Army during the Conquest and  Colonization of Madagascar."n 

The several points of interested included:

  •  the fact that there were a lot of colonial wars in  Madagascar, which pretty much no one  knows anything about. (Madagascar must count as  the most obscure country in the world.)  
  • that the French waged these wars mainly with West African troops, who were all called Senegalese, whether they came from Senegal or not.
  • that there are descendants of the Senegalese still in Madagascar, where thhey are a despised symbol of colonial oppression.
  • that the  French are not blamed at all for the abuses of their regime. Indeed they are remembered as mitigating the brutalities of their Senegalese enforcers.
  • that no one in Senegal  is at all aware  of this Madagascar connection.
Somehow it was that last point --- that lost history -- that  struck me the most. There is so much that falls through the cracks.

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