Faces of the World: Mauritania
Our Mauritanian faces are Bedouin Arab-Berber man named Omar, and Haratin Girl named Zenib.
Mauritania is a Maghrebi African country and home to , several ethnic groups. Until very recently, many practice what is called Leblouh. It is when girls as young as 5 years old are force fed a high fat diet as much as 16,000 calories a day in order to fatten them up. Obesity was a sign of wealth and attractiveness, so mothers inflicted this upon their daughters as a way to make good marriages for them. With exposure to Western Culture (Cultural Diffusion), younger generations of men disapprove of this practice. Also, most Mauritanians have now become aware of the harm this does to their girls health and well being.
There are many human rights issues in Mauritania at this time. Slavery still exists and discrimination against Black Africans and women, as well as child labor violations. The official religion in Mauritania is Islam and there are 7 distinct ethnic groups in Mauritania. The Berber and Arab ethnicties (Moors) make up the caucasian majority. Then there is also the mixed Haratin people. The black African ethnic groups include the Tukulor, Sarakole, Fulani, Wolof, and the Bambara. Mauritania was also once a French colony and they gained their independence in 1960.