Thursday, April 11, 2013

Food in Africa? Or class in Muenzinger?

Mauritania, you got some problems.
University of Colorado, you got some Real problems.

As I sit in one of poorer classes known to mankind, I seek to continue learning about one of the world’s riskier places, Mauritania.

In recent weeks, my knowledge and understanding of the country has grown immensely from the up-coming risk analysis, and what better way is there to be productive in a class that talks about the repressive nature of English in non-native countries.…? (ya-- what?)
Mauritanian President Aziz standing next to former confidant Muammar Gaddafi

 Moreover, Mauritania is a real place, with real-world problems.

The country has seen 11 coups/ government overthrows since its independence from French colonization- and I am sitting in a class listening to a teacher preach about why a modern, American-English accent is repressive and offensive to non-native English speakers….Please don’t ever subject yourself to this class.

According to the UN, an estimated 10.3 million people in the Sahel region are going to be affected by food shortages in 2013, of which some 130,000 severely malnourished children from Mauritania will receive 5million Pounds from Unicef in aid. (BBC News)

If this is the case, if that many people are subject to starvation in just that minute part of the globe, why are us University students forced to take ‘general-ed’ requirements that do nothing but assign busy work, and seek to give some over-educated foreign, professor a chance to practice their English? Where did I sign up for this?

I stand up against this. Instead, lets stop this trend of paying people to babysit a so-called ‘class’ of meaningless readings, and start helping those who really need help.
My classmates and I doing our daily activities, spry with excitement

Due to poor infrastructure, and an un-stable government (see the massive number of coups that Mauritania has undergone) 20% of Mauritanian citizens are forced to live on less than 1.25$ per day. (Al-Jazeera)

With democracy far-fetched, and internet relatively rare, Mauritanians have banded together in an effort to yield some form of liberalizing change from the ‘democratically-elected’ regime of President Aziz {FYI- this man took power via a military coup, and mandated his own elections, winning 52% of the vote….supposedly}

So I ask you, the free-people of Dr. Burch’s 10-10:50AM class, to give a few thoughts to Mauritania, and to be EXTRA careful in selecting your classes for next year, because ainnobody got time to waste sitting in a meaningless daycare-esque class. 

Courtesy of Al Jazeera's "Mauritania's Overlooked Uprising"


  1. It seems you have some things unrelated to Mauritania that need to be solved. With that being said, wow.

  2. Corey--

    I can tell you are not too happy with such a pointless class you're only taking to meet requirements; I can most definitely relate so I appreciate the rant. However, I think we must be grateful for the opportunity to even be assigned such meaningless readings. Most of the world--including the population of Mauritania--will never have the chance to go to a 4-year university so let us be somewhat appreciative of our circumstance. That being said you highlighted a number of serious problems facing the people of Mauritania, but do you have any realistic solutions or should I just continue to waste time in the rest of my college classes?

  3. Thank you for your comments, and yes I have taken some of your time to vent my pains with this 'modern education'.

    As for Mauritania, I foresee another coup that will again change the dynamic of politics in Mauritania. However, with the Arab Spring and its effects sweeping through the MENA region, I expect this revolution to possess a more intellectual outcome, where the citizens of Mauritania will realize how behind their country is, and they will continue to desire a more free, modern society.
    I expect this revolution to have positive implications.
    Time will tell.

  4. Solving the issues of world hunger and malnutrition are a complicated issue for any country especially one such as Mauritania that is also dealing with the issues of a corrupt or failing regime. For the past year I've worked closely with the nutrition professor at CU and a lot of what she teaches her students and assistants is the importance of something called the cog-wheel effect. One of the major factors among other societal conditions that plays a role in malnutrition is the equality and empowerment of women within a society (as odd as they may seem). If we look for example at Saudi Arabia, we see how little the women of these countries are empowered and as a result through the wheel analogy that is one less mechanism turning the wheel of proper nutrition. Thus, its a little more complicated than having students in the US support the call for change in Mauritania and then actually seeing change and improvements in the living standards of these people. World hunger is just not that simple.