At about that same time, anti-Masonic feeling was running particularly high in that nation (or perhaps it doesn't ever really ebb there), as there was also a brief firestorm when the country's then president Abdoulaye Wade was outed by Paris' l'Express magazine as a former Mason. Apparently it was one of those awkward "it was just that one time, you know, in college" moments, and he assured the population that he had resigned his Masonic membership way back in 1959, after failing to find "intellectual exchanges of a high level."
Have another pancake, Brother. Or crepe, as the case may have been.
Well, nine years later, Senegal still isn't over its obsessive dislike and distrust of Freemasons and Freemasonry. Or at least, there's a noisy clot of anti-Masons there still intent on keeping it an issue worth bleating about. Even if the subject of their ire has absolutely zero to do with the fraternity.
There's been no shortage in recent years of some pop music stars and celebrity showboaters who have openly paraded Masonic symbols as jewelry, as imagery on their albums, their videos, or allusions in their lyrics. In conjunction with that, they frequently schmear Masonry and some imaginary modern day "Illuminati" together into one, big mélange of generic occult spookiness. The lingering image they try to project is that they might just be secret members of the shadowy Illuminati™ themselves, but it's a REALLY BIG secret, since everybody knows it. Alternately, other such celebs are just fine if they themselves don't create the rumors, but conspiracists or fans do instead, which lets them reap the rewards of association with creepy, all-powerful spookiness, without the bothersome trappings of actually keeping up the act themselves. And naturally, Freemasonry gets dragged into it all because it's an easy conscription of the brand.
Not long ago, the Beliefnet.com website listed "7 Celebrities Supposedly In the Illuminati," and Rihanna was last on their list (Jay Z and Beyonce seemed to be the first ones to glom on to this phenomenon, but they just led the pack):
Pop star, Rihanna is recognized by Illuminati conspirary theorists to be “The Illuminati Princess” pushing the Satanic agenda by actively promoting satantic and occult ideas and imagery in her music and videos since her musical career took off with ‘Good Girl Gone Bad’. As a protégé of Jay Z, it may not be surprising that people would see an even bigger connection with the Illuminati, given she didn’t get much traction until she switched her look up and began embracing these symbols.
Well, depending on the part of the world they're in, that little scheme of gleeful myth-making can occasionally backfire on such a public figure. This story appeared in yesterday's online version of The Guardian (which has had its own share of anti-Masonic jitters over the years). I post it here in its entirety, just so you can have the full effect:
Religious collective reheats conspiracy theories about Illuminati and Barbadian singer, who is due to visit on Friday
by Ruth Maclean in Dakar
Rihanna has been declared persona non grata by a group of religious organisations in Senegal, who accused the singer of intending to promote homosexuality in collusion with the Freemasons.
The Barbadian pop star is scheduled to attend a conference on eduction in the west African country on Friday alongside the French president, Emmanuel Macron, in her role as an ambassador for the Global Partnership for Education.
But an association of about 30 Islamic associations called 'No to Freemasonry and Homosexuality' have asked the government to cancel her visit.
“Rihanna doesn’t hide it: she’s part of the Illuminati, a branch of Freemasons,” Cheikh Oumar Diagne, a spokesman, told Jeune Afrique, seeming to have picked up on online conspiracy theories about Rihanna’s beliefs.
The singer, Diagne said, was secretly attending a Freemasons’ conference that had been planned for exactly the same dates as the education [sic] one but was subsequently cancelled.
Religious organisations are powerful in Senegal, which is over 90% Muslim but is well known for being a tolerant country, where Muslims and Christians celebrate their festivals together.
The Global Partnership for Education is trying to raise funds for the education of the poorest, most vulnerable children in 65 countries. The GPE has an ambition to reach $2bn a year by 2020 and replicate the successes achieved in global health.
“We’re hoping that the conference marks the moment that momentum shifts globally on education and education financing,” Julia Gillard, the chair of the GPE board and Australia’s former prime minister, said before the meeting. “Over the last few years, there’s been growing global interest in education, particularly girls’ education, but financing hasn’t as yet followed. We need a step change.”
The Senegalese president, Macky Sall, is hosting the conference along with Macron, for whom the trip will be the sixth to Africa of his nine-month presidency. The interior minister, Aly Ngouille Ndiaye, told Jeune Afrique he would ensure the safety of all conference attendees.Just as a footnote, notice that the aforementioned Mr. Sall has moved from his old job as Prime Minister and is the president of Senegal today. One wonders if he still has that old dogeared copy of La Franc-maçonnerie pour les Nuls tucked in the back of his closet.
Hey, Bro. Throw up a sign.