As elsewhere the mass media is rigidly controlled by the state, which falsifies and manipulates the "news" to its own benefit. Of Senegal's population 80% are illiterate and only 10% of the educated complete University studies, priority is given to the training of an elite of future rulers in order to ensure the continuation of the present social/political set-up.
In this situation many of Senegal's disinherited people have been forced through poverty and unemployment into drug-addiction, prostitution, petty crime and finally prison. The policy of the Senegalese regime has been to build more prisons in an attempt to contain and silence the widespread discontent of the oppressed masses. As in neighbouring Mauritania the regime rules with ultra-repressive insurgency laws and has obliged many members of the political opposition in to exile.
For Senegal's poor the fight for human rights and dignity is is far from finished. They are increasingly gaining confidence in confronting their oppressors. On the 16th of February 1994, mass street demonstrations took place in Dakar, the capital city of Senegal against the Senegalese regime. The state reacted as usual with widescale oppresion, provoking the killing of six cops by the demonstrators. Following these incidents the state launched a witch-hunt, this lead not only to the imprisonment of known leaders of the political opposition but also around two hundred Senegalese men and women wrongly accused of provoking the executions of the six cops. These prisoners are at present dispersed throughout the country's prison system.
From little acorns...
Two long term support organisations have been set up by revolutionaries in Senegal. The first, Solidarite Action has been created to ensure that Mauritantan refugee children in Senegal and Senegalese children repatriated from Mauritania, street children, handicapped and impoverished children to be given education and health care with the aim of enabling them to take care of themselves.
"The political work cannot be separated from the social work. The children of today must be made aware of the mistakes of their parents. A good political work must begin with the children who could otherwise become the oppressors of tomorrow".
Solidarite action also plans to arrange for released prisoners to share their experiences with the children in order for the children to avoid falling into the same traps and ending up in prison themselves. The second organisation, Internationaliste Solidarite aims to provide support for both political and social prisoners. The organization is not aligned to any Senegalese political structure, being internationalist in outlook it works only for the interest of prisoners, not just in Senegal but throughout the world. At the moment the organisation is attempting to provide assistance and publicity for the political prisoners in Senegal and also on an international level (such as with John Perotti in the U.S.). They also hope to create links between prisoners in the U.K. and Senegal.
"To destroy all these fascist concentration camps in which our comrades are still kidnapped, it's necessary that we work together through an international information network. We will get no positive results so long as we work in dispersion".
Internationaliste Solidarite urgently needs to open an office which will function as an information bureau and space for vital prisoner support work. In order to ensure that such an undertaking is effective they have estimated that they will need to raise about 1000 pounds. This would get the office up and running, pay for equipment and facilities for the production and distribution of information including the first edition of a news bulletin,which would be shared as widely as possible (with the aim of improving the day to day conditions of detention and methods of political struggle in prisons),correspondence with prisoners in Senegal and beyond, visits to prisoners and their families, providing stamps for prisoners and the launching of a campaign of mass mobilisation in order to demand the freedom of prisoners and to confront the jailers and their henchmen.
INTERNATIONAL APPEAL FOR SOLIDARITY
At the moment the economic situation of our comrades in Senegal is desperate in the extreme. Therefore w e are appealing for donations of money, stamps, office equipment, (anything from envelopes to printing presses or basically anything else which you think may be of use). Perhaps you and your mates could get together a benefit ev ent to raise money. (Please also reprint this article if you produce a newspaper or zine). This is not another charity appeal for Africa. It is an appeal for solidarity. The difference being that solidarity is a two way thing. We're here for them and vice versa.
To contact Internationaliste Solidarite, write to:
Mame Demba Diop, c/o 22B Fass-Batiment, Dakar, Senegal, West Africa.
To contact Solidarite Action, write to:
Appartment 4T H.L.M.
Fass- Paillotte, Dakar
Senegal. West Africa.
Please send all donations and enquiries for further information to the Huddersfield A.B.C. address (cheques/postal orders - payable to - R. Talyor):
Huddersfield Anarchist Black Cross
31 Manor Row,
[Editor's Note: Demba is a long-time revolutionary activist and supporter of PLN. He is also a former political prisoner. We urge readers who can assist him to please do so.]
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