Mauritania: Bloggers Call for the Boycott of Government-Sponsored Conference

Mauritanian media has reported [ar] this week that the country's authorities are preparing a major meeting in the capital Nouakchott of prominent Arab bloggers and activists. The gathering, which will take place from 25 to 28 December, will be featuring “major bloggers who played a significant role in the revolutions against dictatorships in their countries.”

The Mauritanian newspaper El Mohit [ar] explains that President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz is overseeing preparations for the meeting and has appointed senior officials to ensure the organisation of the event.

President Ould Abdel Aziz is a high-ranking military officer, who came to power in August 2008 following a coup that toppled then-President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi.

February 25 Movement Rally – Picture by Dedda Ould Cheikh Brahim

The announcement of the meeting comes less then two months after local independent bloggers and members of the pro-democracy February 25 Movement were forced to cancel a similar gathering in Zouerat, northern Mauritania. The website, Mauri-Culture, reports [ar] that bloggers had experienced administrative “harassment” at the hands of the authorities and were forced to postpone their meeting to “avoid a confrontation with the regime.”

On Tuesday, Mauritanian bloggers reacted to the announcement of the upcoming government-sponsored conference by publishing an open letter to fellow Arab netizens and activists asking them not to attend.

Ahmed Ould Jedou is among many other Mauritanian bloggers who published [ar] the open letter. Following is the translation of excerpts of the document:

قبل شهرين أعلن عن تنظيم “اللقاء الوطني حول تقنيات التواصل الاجتماعي “,في مدينة “الزويرات “الموريتانية و,الذي كان يهدف المنظمين من خلاله إلى ربط الصلاة بين النشطاء العرب وإخوتهم الموريتانيين لتبادل الخبرات
إلا أن النظام العسكري في موريتانيا قام بمنع تنظيم هذا اللقاء رغم أن الهيئة التي دعت له مرخص لها لدى السلطات الموريتانية ولم يبدى النظام أي تبرير إلا أنه يعترض على مشاركة بعض النشطاء الموريتانيين في هذا الملتقى .
واليوم توجد أخبار عن عزم النظام العسكري في موريتانيا على تنظيم ملتقى شبابي سياسي يحضره بعض نجوم الربيع العربي.
ولهذا نوجه رسالة إلى كل المدونين, والنشطاء العرب مفادها أنه عليهم أن لا يشاركوا في هذا النشاط الذي يحاول هذا النظام العسكري القمعي تجميل صورته به ,فهذا النظام وقف ضد الثورات العربية فدعم القذافي حتى بعد سقوطه دعمه باستماتة ودعم بشار وبعث له رئيس وزرائهم ليؤكد وقوفه معه في حربه ضد شعبه .
وهذا النظام يقمع التظاهرات السلمية في موريتانيا فقد قمع مظاهرات حركة 25 فبراير وقتل أحد نشطاء حركة “لاتلمس جنسيتي”,ومازال يقمع كل التحركات السلمية ويحرم الموريتانيين من حقهم في التظاهر ,ويضيق على النشطاء الحقوقيين .
وهذا النظام حرم الشعب الموريتاني من تجربته الديمقراطية الوليدة التي أبهرت العالم فقام رأسه بإزاحة أول رئيس مدني منتخب في موريتانيا .
لذالك نرجوا من كل أصحاب الضمائر الحية من” المدونين” و”لنشطاء” العرب عدم المشاركة في هذا الملتقي كي لا يجملوا وجه نظام عسكري قبيح ويشاركوا في قمع شعب مقهور .
المدونون الموريتانيون

Two months ago, the “National Conference on Social Media Techniques” announced the organization of a meeting in the city of Zouerat. It was aimed at bringing together Arab activists and their Mauritanian counterparts in order to exchange experiences […]

However, the military regime in Mauritania blocked the organization of the meeting, despite the fact that the organizers had met all legal requirements. No justifications were given by the regime as to why it didn't allow the event to take place other than the fact it was opposed to the participation of some Mauritanians activists.

Today, we learn that the military regime in Mauritania is organizing a political meeting and inviting the young and most active stars of the Arab Spring […]

That is why we are sending this message to all Arab bloggers and activists to tell them that they should not participate in this event, which is an attempt by this repressive, military regime to embellish its image. This regime has stood against Arab revolutions, in support of Gaddafi [in Libya]. It has supported Bashar [al-Assad in Syria], sending him the Prime Minister in a show of support for his war against his own people.

This regime is suppressing peaceful demonstrations in Mauritania. It has suppressed demonstrations led by the February 25 pro-democracy movement. It has killed an activist from the “Touche pas à ma nationalité” movement [an anti-racism group created following the exclusion of black Mauritanians from a national census]. It has repressed all non-violent movements, has deprived Mauritanians of their right to demonstrate, and is constantly harassing human rights activists.

This regime has deprived the Mauritanian people of their nascent democracy. It has toppled the first elected civilian president of Mauritania [Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi in 2008].

This is why we are calling upon all people of conscience among Arab bloggers and activists: do not participate in this meeting; do not help the military regime embellish its face; do not take part in the repression of an oppressed people.

Mauritanian bloggers.

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