AFRICA: The French Tie That Binds

Sitting cross-legged in an Arab tent, the guest of honor munched on a hunk of roast lamb as a local entertainer offered animal imitations. "Monsieur le Président, I'm a cock," the man announced, crowing convincingly. "Monsieur le Président, now I'm a dog," he then barked. As the guest sipped Coca-Cola and Evian water, a group of Moorish women serenaded him in Arabic: "De Gaulle entrusted his testament to Georges Pompidou. Welcome." Thus did the 200 guests at a meshwi, an Arab-style barbecue, greet France's President on his arrival in the Mauritanian capital...

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