Meet MP Nomma Bint Mogaya, Mauritanian MP who gave an explosive speech in the last days of 2009 at parliament denouncing General Aziz. This is not something you see everyday in the Mauritanian parliament, let alone other Arab parliaments; an MP, a woman, defying and denouncing the dictator in the harshest and most candid words and busting taboos in the process.
Her remarks were censored by the state-owned TV. The 8 minute video surfaced later on the internet and has made a major buzz in Mauritania, and is finally translated and transcribed to English by this blogger in this video.
The background of the story is that Aziz who christened himself “the president of the poor” went on a political witch hunt against his political opponents under the guise of an anti-corruption campaign already covered by the Moor Next Door here:
The references to corruption are meant to refer to Ould Abdel Aziz’s relationship with Mohamed Bouamatou, one of Mauritania’s wealthiest men. It should be understood in the context of the false anti-corruption activities of the current government, causing much indignation and irritation in the country.
Bint Mogaye’s remarks to the uninitiated, is a long laundry list of grievances against General Aziz and former ruler Maaouiya Ould Taya including her struggle against Aziz’ August 2008 coup. However, what is remarkable about it is the candor and the defying tone as she blasted everything that moved under the sun in Mauritania: Corruption, tribalism, racism, dictatorship, the economy telling Aziz directly: “أنت و الله مانك رئيس الفقراء، أنت رئيس البطاشة” which roughly translates to: “By God, you are not the president of the poor, you are the president of the destroyers.”
Nomma also reminded her audience that General Aziz betrayed his master Ould Taya when he used his position as his trusted head of the presidential guard to topple him in 2005 him with harsh words:
The coup was lead by his son (Aziz) that he raised, Taya raised him only so that Aziz would eat him
Translation from polite “Moorish-Speak”: Aziz is an unreliable traitor.
Nomma also eluded to Aziz’ Moroccan origins which is another taboo that no one in parliament has dared to talk about:
“..A Mauritanian will win then we can talk..”
Non-Mauritanians, will be puzzled by the long quotes from the Qur’an and might be led to believe that this is some Islamist rant. Not the case. Traditionally, Moorish women are schooled in Qur’an and jurisprudence and include some highly regarded scholars (faqihat) . So, Nomma’s choice of verses was brilliant and subtle. She used verses reminding Aziz that he is watched by God and end paused to have her fellow MP’s continue a devastating verse calling Aziz in essence a hypocrite who is deaf, blind and dumb to the truth. Of course, she quoted the one text that no MP, nor Aziz himself could interrupt her while reciting and had them condemn themselves by reciting the verse. After mocking them in the same sentence saying to them:
See, here’s my gift to you, a prayer free of charge
The true genius of Nomma’s remarks is that she denounced Aziz’ self-appointed label of the “President of the Poor” by referring to Aziz’ cousin (same tribe of Oulad Bisba أولاد بسبع أولاد بني السبع) and loyalist Tycoon Mohamed Ould Bouamatou without mentioning him by name. She simply referred to his alleged implication in drug trafficking and to cigarettes because he is the sole representative of Philip Morris in Mauritania. Thus managing to open a topic no one so far dared to raise in parliament.
Note: this post is my contribution to the Kolena Laila campaign.