Ethnic Groups of Africa and the Middle East: An Encyclopedia
ABC-CLIO, 2011 M10 31 - 377 pages
This encyclopedia is an essential guide to the different ethno-linguistic groups in Africa and today's complicated Middle East region.
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Very disappointing with the scholarship of this book. This book is full of inaccuracies especially concerning the Seereer people from page 257. First, this book tells us that the 19th century Senegambian jihadist (Maba Diakou Ba) was of the Mende tribe. It then went on to tell us that Maba defeated and overthrew the Seereer kingdoms of Saluum and Sine in 1862, then finally gave us the the author's concoction of history by telling us the French armed the Seereer kingdom of Siin and as a result of French assistance, the Kingdom of Siin were able to defeat Maba. For the price of this book, I am very disappointed by the scholarship of John A. Shoup. First, Maba was neither a Mende nor a Fula, but a Tukuloor. He would now be considered as a Halpulaareen (speakers of the Pulaar language). Second, Maba did not overthrew the King of Saluum in 1862. He defeated him in battle and managed to carve out a small principality for himself (Nioro du Rip) and converted the Wolof migrants to Saluum but was unable to convert most of the original inhabitants of Saluum (the Seereer people). Many of the Seereer people of Saluum committed suicide rather than succumb to Islam or worst enslaved hence the mayhem of Tahompa, Nanjigi, Kaymor and Ngaye - where many Seereers killed themselves in the name of honour. Further, Maba did not conquer Siin. The then king of Siin - Maad a Sinig Kumba Ndofene Famak saw the French as a greater threat than Maba and focused most of his efforts on the French. The two men knew of each other but hardly ever met until the Battle of Fandane Tiouthiougne 1867 more commonly known as the Battle of Somb. And in that battle, the French did not arm anyone. They sat back and watched because the French did not have enough manpower to even defend their interest in Senegal inspite of numerous plead by the French governor of Senegal to the French government in Paris. When the governor wrote to France asking for more resources to defend its interest, he was told to stay on the defensive. The French were also dying of diseases and received no help from the French government. It is absolute poor scholarship to claim that they armed the Seereer kingdom of Siin. This is how pseudo history spreads. The author owe it to his readership to do some research before writing this nonsense. I advise anyone interested in that topic to read "Islam and Imperialism in Senegal: Sine Saloum" by Martin A, Klein (1968). John A. Shout (the author of this book) couldn't have got it more wrong. The British in the Gambia armed Maba and his army before he went to Siin in 1867. The French control of Joal (a major Seereer port at the time), blocked the King of Siin's route to go to the Gambia and buy arms from the British. Since the French were not willing to sell arms to the King of Siin and blocked his only route to British Gambia, Maba was able to utilise that to his advantage and went to the British to buy arms whilst the Seereer people of Siin and their king depended on their wit and valour to defend themselves and their country from this new threat (Islamization). Inspite of his British arms, Maba was defeated by the Seereer king in 1867. It was in that battle were Maba and many prominent members of his army were killed or held prisoners. The author of this book couldn't have got it more wrong. Such poor scholarship. To claim that the Kingdom of Siin was armed by the French hence Maba's defeat is nothing more than fantasy, and whether he realise it or not, is perpetuating that old anti-Seereer sentiment first started by the Senegambian Muslim ethnic groups and advanced by the European colonial authorities during colonial era. The Seereer people have resisted Islamization for nearly a thousand years in order to preserve their religion and way of life. The Senegambian Muslim communities hated this about the Seereer people and during the colonial era, the European colonialists were more willing to tolerate Islam because they say Islam as at least more civilised than "the backwards - pagan Seereer religion."