After reading USA/Africa Dialogue, No. 1010, A.B. Assensoh -- who has been travelling extensively in the UK, partly to attend a unique international conference on the humanities at Cambridge University -- raises some queries within the context of an old African political maxim that the map of Africa is still complete if Mauritania is taken out, although some of our past political leaders felt very strongly that Africa without the late Ould Dada's Mauritabia would have been like a good soup without salt.

Often, in his writings, Dr. Tajudeen Abdul Raheem is very clear ideologically, intellectually and otherwise, except in his write-up about the Mauritania military upheaval. He underscored, from the beginning, that the recent coup d'etat "in Mauritania should not stand." Yet, he levels a lot of serious accusations against deposed President Taya and his compatriots. In that case, if the coup does not stand and the coup leaders leave the scene, then who is to be "reinstated" as Mauritanian leader, if Taya is that "bad"?

Also, is Dr. Raheem perturbed now because (1) American and other leaders have begun talking with the coup leaders; and (2) that deposed President Taya did not seek refuge in North Africa but in West Africa, i.e. in The Gambia? Please, for the sake of my students this Fall, I will like to have answers to the aforementioned queries, raised mostly in their interests!

Above all, we should be reminded of the old political axim (or dictum) of post-independent Africa: that Mauritania is part of Africa, and that Africa without Mauritania, according some of our early post-colonial leaders, woukd be like a good soup without salt! Again, is that still the case? In the end, my students as well will want to know if African political dilemma is not only the question of the "haves" and the "have-nots", but also the "light in complexion" and the "dark in complexion"? What sayest Dr. Raheem?