Dreams of a Decolonized Senegal
What does it look like to dream of a decolonized Senegal? What does it look like to then put those dreams into action?
Senegalese people care fiercely about politics and about the future of their country. I was in Dakar during the most recent election in Spring 2019, and one of the most prominent opposition candidates was Ousmane Sonko. He contributed to the conversation of what it would look like for Senegal to be less bound to France. He proposed creating a new currency for Senegal and West Africa; one that wasn’t pegged to the Euro, which would help to get eliminate remnants of French rule that still exist today.
Ousmane Sonko was arrested on March 3 on his way to court for rape charges. He was arrested for “disturbing public order”, according to the government. This arrest, which was seen by many as politically motivated, sparked protests throughout Dakar and other places with large Senegalese populations, such as New York City. I attended a rally held by Senegalese people at the United Nations on March 4 on assignment for @africainharlem.
Although the protest yesterday had personal significance to me because my father is Senegalese, I’ve also attended other protests on assignment for @africainharlem that highlighted just how desperate Europe is to maintain control on the continent via election interference. In December 2020, I attended a rally held near the UN by members of the Nigerien diaspora to speak out against French interference in their elections and in January I attended a rally held by members of the Ethiopian and Eritrean diaspora to express their anger and disappointment at the prime minster’s war against people living in Tigray.
Rape accusations should ALWAYS be taken seriously; it is vital that these accusations be investigated on their own and treated with respect rather than used as an opportunity for Macky Sall, who is French-friendly, to leverage these charges in order to quell opposition to maintain his presidency, which is now being considered a dictatorship by many. Sexual assault survivors should always be empowered to speak up without fear that it will be turned against them.
However, I am hopeful that the movement that has been sparked on the ground is bigger than any one politician. This movement is about the people, particularly the youth, who have a vision for the decolonized Senegal they want to see.