aof document

La plainte de Seydou Nourou Tall contre M. Goblin,
payeur à Thiès (May 1937)
in AOF 5 M 487

© 1999 by Jim Jones, Ph.D.

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M. Goblin, who was named in the lawsuit, was a payeur des Tresories de l'AOF, not a paymaster for the railroad.

Declaration fait par Seydou Nourou Tall le 19 Mai 1937

On May 18, 1937, Seydou Nourou Tall, an important marabout, French ally and descendant (petit fils) of Umar Tall, entered a first class train compartment on the Dakar to Saint Louis route at Tivaouane (about 70 kilometers north of Thiès). The compartment was already occupied by M. Goblin, payeur à Thiès, and his wife. When Tall tried to move one of Goblin's bags from the luggage rack in order to place his own bag there, Goblin kicked him in the bag and demanded whether he was trying to steal the bag. A number of Africans heard the noise and ran to help Tall, who prevented them from attacking Goblin. Tall didn't want to press criminal charges against Goblin, but requested one franc in damages.

Rapport d'appel du Ministère Public et Seydou Nourou Tall contre Goblin, Louis Maurice Antoine, n°531 (July 12, 1937)

The French appeals court condemned Goblin's attack on Seydou Nourou Tall on several counts. Without reason or warning, he "exercé des violences sur un paisible veillard" (committed an act of violence against a peaceful older person) in a society where old people were respected. This attack caused big problems for French relations with Africans, especially since Tall was such a devoted ally. Goblin, as a French functionaire (underlined in red the report), should have known better than to strike an old man. Tall's actions in calming the crowd and demanding only a symbolic compensation showed his own tolerance and dignity.

The Procureur Général asked for an increased penalty against Goblin to underscore the seriousness of the offense. The first court fined him 16 francs (suspended) plus one franc in damages. The second court raised that to 25 francs suspended, plus one franc in damages.