Dakar-Tangier: on the road to the Universal
This year, the Medays, the African Davos, focused on a hot topic : «The Global Distrust Crisis : Facing Subversion and Uncertainties.» The answer to this question is a puzzle of which part of the answer lies in Tangier, a part on the other side of the Mediterranean, with the spirit of Cordoba which allowed in Andalusia, the harmonious cohabitation of the three religions revealed during centuries. Today, Morocco is the heir and guardian of this spirit of Cordoba. This spirit of Cordoba is also at home in Senegal, in what President Senghor called the universal civilization, which is a response to the uncertainties and subversions of the global crisis. Crossroads of civilizations, peoples and languages, Tangier is also a city of history and myth. According to Greek mythology, Hercules separated Africa from Europe with a sword, but unfortunately for Hercules, the Mediterranean has never been a frontier. The Mediterranean has even been more powerful than Hercules because, having become a more founding and fundamental datum than the political, historical or even mythical actors, when one projects oneself on the long time which is not that of the media or of internet but that of history. This is why the answer to the interrogation of Medays is Tangier, which is the incarnation of this long time that has made this city a place of encounter, dialogue and confluence between several worlds. It is this perspective of long time that is lacking today in the age of the internet and fast thinking. When you take a step back, you realize that on the issue of terrorism, terrorists can be successful, win battles but are doomed to lose the war. They have no chance of winning. The engine of terrorism, fear, can not push humanity to radically change its way of life. Despite the attacks of September 11, travelers continue to fly, and despite the attacks, the terraces of Paris cafes are always full. Apart Tangier, where the West and the East met, part of the answer lies with us in Senegal, another meeting place between the West, East and Black Africa. Dakar as Tangier, is a natural crossroads, junction point between the “caravan” that came from the desert and the “Caravelle” from the Atlantic. Desert caravans came to us from Islam and from the Atlantic came us values of 1789 and from there, democracy. These values from the desert and the Atlantic came on top of our rich African heritage, Negritude. Senegal, geographically and historically, is not only the bridge between Maghreb and Black Africa, but a bridge between several worlds. The Grand Prix Medays to President Macky Sall also honors Senegal and its values. To have confidence in our values and to remain faithful to them is the best answer to the Global Distrust Crisis and Uncertainties. Our values in Senegal can be summed up in two words: rootedness and openness. This fidelity to our values has always allowed us to face the uncertainties of time (to remain the democratic exception while the one-off parties were the rule) but also and above all to be the torchbearer of the dialogue of cultures and civilizations instead and place of the clash of civilizations. There is no clash of civilizations but a shock of identity entrepreneurs, who exploit civilizations for unspeakable purposes.Our legacy, which is based on inclusive secularism, which shelters us from the contention of allegiances, which has allowed us to be the only Muslim country to have had a Catholic President for 20 years and to show in the face of the world that democracy is soluble in Islam, but also that multiparty politics is possible in Africa without drifting towards ethnicism or tribalism. A great African thinker, Joseph Ki Zerbo, tells us that not thinking for oneself, importing the ideas of others, is equivalent to sleeping on “the mat of others”.
Amadeus Tangier meetings allow Africa to weave its own mat on ideas, as Europeans do in Davos and Latin America in Porto Alegre, and as we do in Senegal with the Forum on Peace and security of Dakar. These initiatives will allow us to regain our natural place in the concert of nations. Africa must refuse to be only the continent of the Future but it must also be that of the Present, with two major trends that announce the return of our continent to the center of the global game. These two trends are the democratic wave and growth. In 1945, after two world wars, the Europeans replaced the war with the economy as a way of regulating their conflicts. The consequence is admirable with a Europe (continent of world wars and religious wars) which has just experienced its longest peace and prosperity. Africa is on this path. We won the battle of decolonization. We are in the process of winning that of democratization, which will go hand in hand with pacification, because democracies do not make war on each other. They prefer the economy. Senegal is a pillar of this democratization-pacification of the continent, with its soldiers and diplomats almost in all the conflict zones on the continent. The democratization of the continent and the economy, like the ACFTA, will make our continent an immense zone of prosperity and emergence that goes from Tangier to Cape Town.When we walk on the Corniche of Tangier, we realize the work of Hercules undertaken by the Kingdom to bring out Tangier, which has nothing to envy to the cities on the other side of the Strait of Gibraltar. Tangier is almost a European city. It was in Tangier where he had come to take refuge after a personal drama that William Burroughs had the enlightenment that allowed him to write his masterpiece, The Naked Lunch. I was in the footsteps of Burroughs, in search of enlightenment, but it is “on the road” Tangier-Casablanca, that like Jack Kerouac, I found enlightenment, the captivating face of Morocco whose spirit is in Casablanca’s Habous district.
President of the Senegalese Association of Alumni of the National School of Administration (ASENA)