Home IMMIGRATION SENEGAL: “Don’t touch my name!” Testimony of a Bicultural.

SENEGAL: “Don’t touch my name!” Testimony of a Bicultural.


Born in Dakar in 2004, my name is Mustapha. This name was given to me as a tribute to a grandfather of my maternal family. Quite naturally, the right of the soil, even of being bicultural, would enable me to become Senegalese. Well no! My father being of French origin, my Senegalese mother could not grant me her nationality. Conversely, a child born to a foreign mother but to a Senegalese father was immediately granted Senegalese nationality. Even if this discrimination was corrected by a law in 2013, the beginning of my intercultural journey was not the most positive!

Once arrived in France, it was my first name that was attacked. My paternal grandparents could not bear to have my first name pronounced in their presence. I  have to admit that they found   my second name much more tolerable in their eyes: Adrien! No need to draw a picture about the reasons for their preference. But let’s agree to use Adrian here and there, for peace of mind when I was only a few months old and I did not understand all the fuss from adults around me! And at each vacation period, the same ritual: a quarrel about the use of my first name by my father who loved to mischievously insist on it! No sooner did we arrive that we had to reload our luggage to the trunk of the car and head back to Paris! This summer, despite being a bit older, it was business as usual! And as you can guess in these cases, my paternal grandparents  served us the usual litany: “we have faithful Arab friends” (sic).

Since 2016, the Minister of National Education, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, has encouraged free access to print media for college students. It is with delight that I read from reliable sources! And there, I discovered forums open to philosophers, intellectuals without any other “Do not touch my first name!” in the world. I became their favorite attraction in recent years and even before the attacks. Imagine they are talking about me! Finally, not me personally but my socio-cultural condition in France: in short, it is about bi-nationals or even biculturals. And what exactly do they blame us for? To distort the true history of France, the ‘pure’ one of course,  and to drag this country into a “decadentism.”  This tendency to catastrophism linked to the emergence of a “terrorist diaspora” has recently been expressed in a political fiction. The novel “Submission” has become a bestseller in France. A certain Mohammed climbed up  the highest step of the ladder, President of the French Republic. Good there nothing unnatural while in the United States of America, was elected twice by a certain Barack Hussein Obama. The Americans would be ahead of the author’s prophecy! But no, it is spoiled: in this novel, the Catholics have practically all disappeared and the whites have become second class citizens. It seems that the author describes in reverse the current situation of the immigrants!

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We are not just put on the limelight, we are insulted, we are pointed at and they want to strip us from any reference to our intercultural identity. Particularly with the issue of francization of first names. Two professional polemists – one of whom is related mayor FN and the other prosecuted often for provocation to hatred towards the Muslims, take heart to heart. Like my paternal grandfather, these polemists are surprisingly blackfoot. They wield the so-called Muslim settlement in France (resulting in large part from the presence of people from North Africa) because they have not mourned their Africa which is no longer theirs and has not Never been theirs since it had been taken by force! They will take this frustration to their grave.

I am going away from this tumult of the French passions to enjoy the breeze of the teranga. I decided then to return to my country of origin: Senegal. And here, too, there is talk of me, the cultural half-breed! In reality, the question of bi-nationalism and the eligibility for the supreme office of President of the Republic are being discussed.

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Historically, it is true that the Portuguese half-breed and the “Brazilians” are badly perceived for their role in the trade of the slave trade. But I have nothing to do with them! A Senegalese journalist has become a specialty, becoming a “fanatic” of intolerance, striking at all azimuths against cultural mixture whether black or white. And once, finished dryly an article by a bloody “Toubab”! But, strong in its African diaspora, erected in 6th region of Africa, the cultural hybrid entered each home of Senegal. So every time you insult a cultural half-breed, you attack a member of the large African community. They attack one of his brothers. I am therefore hopeful that this political-Senegalese quarrel is only a flash of straw. As a reminder, a country where a Catholic presided for more than 20 years the destiny of more than 96% of Muslims! And there we were not in submission but in cohabitation with its dissimilar (at all religious level). Martin Luther King exhorted us to learn to live together as brothers, otherwise we would all die together as idiots!

Last night, on France 3, a film about the fight of Nelson Mandela (“Mandela, a long way to freedom”) was broadcast. And for all those who have made fear, hate and division their business, Nelson Mandela would sermonize them, by updating and contextualizing one of his quotes: “we (cultural mixes) will work together (even with our enemies Or people who disapprove of us) to support courage where there is fear (say no to all forms of extremism), to encourage negotiation where there is conflict (African wisdom) Hope, where there is despair (yes, building a positive and happy identity instead of dividing the national community is at least a reliable society project for future generations!).

You will not take my name, Moustapha! This is part of my family history. I am like so many others who aspire to peace. I continue my way, with last year an average in the 3rd quarter of 16.34 in French at the college. I learn history as native French (16.07 of average) with an appreciation at the end of the year: “Excellent work, excellent attitude. Congratulations! “. Yes I like the French history and visit its historical places like the castle of Versailles. But my identity as a bicultural person allows me to rise and be more objective than nationalists or overexcited people of any kind and therefore disapprove of an unavowable part of French history and its colonial period particularly “The slaughter of Thiaroye”  striking  unjustly my brothers Senegalese riflemen.

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Let us return to France. You imagine, for skeptics, my Latin teacher who calls me by my first name Moustapha. Let us take an expression of my age: that even of the mouth! I learned this week to introduce myself in Latin. This gives: “Nomine Moustapha”! It sounds good !

Well, on a more serious note, what is the point of forbidding the first names come from elsewhere? Let us analyze an advantage against the imposed francization of first names. We know that those who wear them, especially Arabic-sounding first names, are more discriminated against in hiring! Isn’t it better to continue this way? To see people of African descent continue to pick up the trash for the educated; To give them peripherals such as surface technicians or cashier hosts invented by enarques for luck of a better word; And use them as cheap labor for backcountry cuisines and for renowned building companies! Moreover, I see another advantage to keep the first names like mine. The prophecy of “Submission” will never come true. No chance of a Mouhamed acceding to the Presidency of the French Republic! If not, a person of immigrant origin (and coming from North Africa), called Simon, could deceive his world!

Moustapha, 1st Vice-President “ICAEP”