* * * UITGELICHT : Powerpoint presentatie "De 99 Schone Namen van Allah" * * *

donderdag 20 mei 2010

Senegal 1886, gezien door de ogen van de Amerikaanse consul (Gorée-Dakar, Senegal)



Het jaar 1886 is voor Senegal in vele opzichten een historisch jaar. Twee grote helden van de Senegalese natie (die toen nog niet als zodanig bestond) zijn destijds gesneuveld in de strijd tegen de Franse kolonisator: de koningen Samba Laobé Fall en Lat Dior Ngoné Latyr Diop. Laatstgenoemde wordt toegezongen in wat wel eens wordt genoemd het "tweede volkslied" van Senegal (Nous disons non, Ngoné Latyr, à la peur qui fait fuir). In 1886 verliest Portugal zijn laatste kolonie, de Casamance, aan de Fransen (daar ligt de kern van het huidige conflict in het zuiden tussen de rebellen van het MFDC en het Senegalese leger). Volgens meerdere bronnen waaronder deze heeft de religieuze leider Ahmadou Bamba in 1886 de stad Touba gesticht, een andere bron spreekt van 1886 als het eerste jaar van de door Ahmadou Bamba opgerichte moslimbroederschap der mouriden.



Hoe het ook zij, 1886 is een roerig jaar waar ik tot voor kort alleen de gebruikelijke verhalen van kende. Korte opsommingen van heldendaden voorzien van data en jaartallen. Zoals hierboven vermeld, eigenlijk :-)

Een paar dagen geleden. Ik wroet in het Text Archive van Archive.org met de zoekterm Senegal en kom in het resultatenoverzicht deze webpagina tegen. Het gaat om een deel van een microfilm met daarin brieven van de Amerikaanse consul te Gorée-Dakar aan zijn direct leidinggevende in Washington D.C. (1883-1892). Tussen alle zakelijke beslommeringen (een eigen business) èn persoonlijke problemen (zoals de dood van zijn zoon George, de vice-consul) door, licht hij zijn meerdere ook in over de actuele situatie in den lande. Dat hij het niet altijd bij het rechte eind heeft, bewijst wel een opmerking als deze:



"There is no apprehension here of a Mahdi [Messias], and the report of one in this part of Africa, which has gained credence in some quarters, is probably without much foundation."
Een knap staaltje struisvogelpolitiek van meneer Strickland!

Peter Strickland, de U.S. consul, liet zijn ‘dispatches’ of ‘despatches’ soms vergezeld gaan van bijlagen. Wanneer de berichten de actualiteit betroffen, waren dat vaak Franstalige krantenknipsels (zie verderop in deze weblogbijdrage). In zijn bericht gaf hij dan een vertaling, letterlijk of samengevat.

Wat zijn kijk op het roerige jaar 1886 bijzonder maakt, zijn niet zijn vooringenomen ideeën over ‘negers’ of ‘inboorlingen’ (indertijd gebruikelijke ideeën bij onze blanke medemens). Het feit dat hij niet ver van het vuur heeft gestaan en de gebeurtenissen niet in zijn historische context heeft kùnnen plaatsen (de gebeurtenissen waren immers te vers) – dàt maakt de berichten tot spannend leesvoer. Ook al wordt alles door een gekleurde sorry blànke bril bekeken.

De economische belangen van de Verenigde Staten staan voorop (what else is new), want na een verslag van het heengaan van koning Samba Laobé Fall, vervolgt de consul doodleuk met:
"This unfortunate affair [sic] has a commercial importance on account of its liability to affect adversely the peanut trade; and a political importance for the Colony in that it may cause the French Colonial Government to great modify its present policy of making treaties with tribes of people which are encircled by military posts of its own."

Wat nu volgt is de complete tekst van de consulaire berichten (dispatches) die de actuele situatie van 1886 in Senegal betreffen. Naast elk tekstblok (= één microfilm pagina) vind je een kleine weergave van de originele pagina. Klik op zo’n weergave om het in groter formaat te kunnen bekijken.


archive.org/details/768336_1


Despatches from United States consuls in Goree-Dakar. Microcopy No. T-573, Roll 1, Volume 1 not complete (671 microfilm pages, despatches from Sept 20th 1883 to May 9th 1892)


Page 144

"[Despatch] No. 40, US Consulate, Goree-Dakar, April 15th 1886
"[From] Mr. Peter Strickland to the Department of State
"Subject – War between the French and Marabouts on the Senegal river. Bakel closely invested by the natives and relief for the garrison difficult."


Page 145

"No. 40, US Consulate, Goree-Dakar, April 15th 1886
"To the Honourable James D. Porter, Assistant Secretary of State
"Sir, Advices from Bakel, a military and trading post in the midst of the Gum district some 400 miles up the Senegal river, state that the place is besieged by about 8000 natives. Several European troops have already been killed and fears are entertained that the small garrison of less than 100 men must be captured before succours can arrive.
"Such is the substance of the latest news which is chiefly of importance as it concerns the fate of the beleagered garrison and a possible temporary suspension of the Senegal gum trade which, since Gum has in a measure to be exported > "


Page 146

" > from the Soudan, has grown to considerable proportions.
"There is no apprehension here of a Mahdi, and the report of one in this part of Africa which has gained credence in some quarters is probably without much foundation. Incidents like the one now occurring at Bakel are as common in this country as outbreaks among our Indians, and to the world at large are of no importance. It is thought by many too, that some military men stationed at distant post often provoke such disturbances in order that they may serve as means for rapid promotion. And where warriors can be the sole reporters of their own exploits, their deeds are seldom likely to lose much lustre in narration.
"I am, Sir, Respectfully yours, Peter Strickland, US Consul"

Page 147

"[Despatch] No. 41, US Consulate, Goree-Dakar, April 30th 1886
"[From] Mr Peter Strickland, To the Department of State
"Subject – The latest news from Bakel"

Page 148

"No. 41, US Consulate Goree-Dakar, April 30th 1886,
"To the Honorable James D. Porter. Assistant Secretary of State
"Sir, There is no further news from the Bakel district excepting that the natives have failed in their assaults on the post and that a return column of French troops from a place farther up the River is hastening to relieve the garrison. It appears however that although the natives were not able to capture the post, they killed many French traders in the town and destroyed merchandise valued about a hundred thousand dollars. The wire from St. Louis to Bakel has been cut by the natives so that the news that comes cannot be much depended on."

Page 149

"Troops are being concentrated here for a march into the interior but the distance is long to Bakel and Steamers cannot at present ascend much above Podor. The rest of the way is across deserts and through marshes containing sluggish marigots which are passed with infinite difficulty. The French however anticipate a quick and decisive campaign and there is but little excitement about it here.
"It is rumored here that Ziginchor, the last Portuguese port on the Casamansa River has passed into the hands of the French but this I believe requires confirmation.
"I am Sir, Yours truly, Peter Strickland, US Consul"

Page 150

"[Despatch] No. 42, US Consulate, Goree-Dakar, May 31th 1886
"[From] Mr Peter Strickland, To the Department of State
"Subject – Latest news from the Bakel district"

Page 151

"No. 42, US Consulate Goree-Dakar, May 31th 1886,
"To the Honorable James D. Porter. Assistant Secretary of State
"Sir, The latest advices from the Bakel district are to the effect that the place has been relieved, the blacks having everywhere been defeated without chance for their recovery. Several Chiefs have been captured and some of them, the instigators of the outbreak, have been dealt with vigorously. The French have now about 3500 troops in Senegal but many of them will soun embark for France. I am Sir, Very truly Yours
"Peter Strickland, US Consul"

Page 179

"[Despatch] No. 51, US Consulate, Goree-Dakar, October 14th 1886
"[From] Mr Peter Strickland, To the Department of State
"Subject – Warlike disturbances within the colony of Senegal. The King of 'Cayor' and more then twenty of his followers killed near 'Tivouane' on the line of the Railway to St. Louis."

Page 180

"No. 51, US Consulate, Goree-Dakar, October 14th 1886
"To the Honorable James D. Porter. Assistant Secretary of State
"Sir, Enclosed please find a copy of the 'Reveil du Sénégal' dated October 10th, [zie onderaan deze weblogbijdrage voor een scan van deze krant] which gives several differing accounts of a collision with fatal results which occurred at Tivouane, about 50 miles from here, on the 6th instant, between the King of Cayor and some of his people on the one hand, and a detachment of Spahis (French cavalry) on the other.
"Without attempting a literal translation of any of the accounts, I will simply state that the one most credited amounts to this: – On the date above named, the King of Cayor, Samba Lawbe Fal, appeared at Tivouane in Cayor, with a large following of mounted and armed attendants, for the purpose > "

Page 181

" > of collecting a tribute to which by treaty he thought himself entitled. Failing in this, some of his followers commenced to pillage from the merchants and traders, who instantly telegraphed what was going on to the Governor at St. Louis, and in the meantime put themselves in the best posture for defence possible. The Governor, without loss of time, sent down by train a Captain Spitzer of the Army, with directives if possible to accommodate matters: and this officer, from a military post near Tivouane, took to accompany him 25 Spahis, in case their assistance might be required. Arriving betimes at Tivouane, they found the merchants & traders beleaguered in within their houses, and the pillage going on. A wordy altercation ensued, which ended with the firing of a few shots by some followers of the King, one of which killed a soldier. The Captain, Spitzer, then gave the order to > "

Page 182

"> charge, and in a few minutes 20 of the Kings attendants were laying dead on the ground. The rest of the natives with their King retreated to a wood near by, where they again made a stand, but fled on the death of their King, who was run through the body by a lieutenant named Chauvet after a furious sword encounter which lasted 12 minutes.
"This unfortunate affair has a commercial importance on account of its liability to affect adversely the peanut trade; and a political importance for the Colony in that it may cause the French Colonial Government to great modify its present policy of making treaties with tribes of people which are encircled by military posts of its own.
"Cayor is the name of a country situated half-way between Goree and St. Louis. It is about twice the size of the State > "

Page 183

" > of Rhode Island, and comparatively fertile. Peanuts of the finest African quality are produced in large quantities, and marketed at the Stations along the line of the Railroad. Admiral English of the 'Lancaster', with some of his Officers, were up the road as far as Tivouane, and expressed surprise at the quantities of nuts they saw. It is now the beginning of harvest-time, and should war ensue, a large proportion of this years crop would unavoidably be lost.
"Great efforts will doubtless be made to preserve peace, and it is hoped they will prove successful. Most of the soldiers from the garrison at Goree have been dispatched to the scene of the disturbance, and the marines from the French Admiral's ship Arethusa are being used temporarily for land service. The natives are well aware that this is not a good season for them to make war, and herein > "

Page 184

" > lies the principal hope of safety. Owing to the abundant rains we have had the Peanut Crop promises well all along the coast.
"I am esteemed Sir, Very truly Yours, Peter Strickland, US Consul"

Page 197

"[Despatch] No. 53, US Consulate, Goree-Dakar, November 4th 1886
"[From] Mr Peter Strickland, To the Department of State
"Subject – Military operations in Cayor. Decisive battle resulting in the death of the new King Lat-Dior, his two sons, and seventy-eight of the natives. No further disturbancies apprehended at present."

Page 198

"No. 53, US Consulate Goree-Dakar, November 4th 1886,
"To the Honorable James D. Porter, Assistant Secretary of State
"Sir, Enclosed please find a 'Supplement' to the 'Moniteur du Sénégal et Dépandances', which contains a bulletin from the Governor of Senegal concerning recent military operations in Cayor. [zie bijlage onderaan deze bijdrage]
"It appears that after the death of Samba Lawbe Fal, mentioned in my Dispatch No. 51, a prince named Lat-n-Dor aspired to rule and had his claim acknowledged by a large following of natives, but contrary to the wishes of the French who ordered him instantly to quit the country. This mandate he at first pretended to obey, but on arriving near the border of the desert he turned on > "

Page 199

" > the troops which were following and fought 'with the rage of despair'. All his efforts however could avail nothing against the superior weapons and discipline of the French; he was slain with his two sons and 78 of his followers, while trying to defend himself from being exiled by foreigners, on the borders of his own country.
"Peace and submission seem now assured on all hands, and it is fair to assume that no more railroad trains will be fired into or travellers molested in the interior for at least a long season. The Crops will be harvested as usual, and rushed to the sea-coast by the iron wheels of Civilization, while the patriotic deeds of brave Wallace-like heroes are being jested at and forgotten.
"I am Sir, Very truly Yours, Peter Strickland, US Consul"


Bijlage bij 'Page 180':

'Reveil du Sénégal' Oct 10th 1886 "Samba Lawbé" part 1/7

'Reveil du Sénégal' Oct 10th 1886 "Samba Lawbé" part 2/7

'Reveil du Sénégal' Oct 10th 1886 "Samba Lawbé" part 3/7
'Reveil du Sénégal' Oct 10th 1886 "Samba Lawbé" part 4/7
'Reveil du Sénégal' Oct 10th 1886 "Samba Lawbé" part 5/7
'Reveil du Sénégal' Oct 10th 1886 "Samba Lawbé" part 6/7
'Reveil du Sénégal' Oct 10th 1886 "Samba Lawbé" part 7/7

Bijlage bij 'Page 198':


Geen opmerkingen:

Een reactie posten

Zeg 't maar

Opmerking: Alleen leden van deze blog kunnen een reactie posten.