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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sahrawis could face death penalty

Sahrawi citizens are being subject in Morocco to military trials for "treason". Their crime, to meet with the refugees at the Tindouf camps in Algeria and therefore having contact with the Polisario Front.

They were originally kidnapped by the occupation forces upon their return to West Sahara. Other five people were similary kidnapped but abandoned then in the desert.

The seven activists are jailed in the infamous high security prison of Salé, near Rabat. They are being accused of "attack against territorial integrity, against national security and meeting the enemy, and could even face the death penalty.

Morocco is an authoritarian regime where the monarch's power is absolute. It is, together with Swaziland, the last monarchy of Africa. In the 1970s, Morocco annexed unilaterally the former Spanish colony of West Sahara against the will of the people, sparking the continuity of the anti-colonialist guerrilla. The annexation is not recognized internationally and Morocco is in fact an occupying power.

Source: Rebelión.


Ken said...

�The Green March.�
"The marchers walked over the border, got sand in their shoes, shouted about how this sacred patch of waterless, flat desert was now an integral part of the Kingdom of Morocco, and went back home. And since then, the Spanish Sahara has been dominated by Morocco, although the local guerrilla army, POLISARIO, gave them some serious problems for a while".

What makes this weird episode my nominee for �Most Significant Battle of the Era� is that it showed the new way of winning disputed territory. If there�s one thing that we should have learned over the past hundred years, it�s that traditional armed conquests are getting less and less effective.

Valuable natural resources: a major driving force behind Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara
Why should a tiny population have vast wealth. They wanted to be like Kuwait which was created to retain proxy control over the resources of the former Empire by seperating the unpopulated oil rich region from the mass of the population. Corrupt local ruling elite families then get to spend their cut as people are impoverished just across the border. but as Arab leaders said at the time 'one Kuwait in the Arab world is enough'.

Why should a boundary drawn by colonial powers mean a lucky few get to win the jackpot . Anyway if Polisario had won their "country" would be full of economic immigrants needed to do the work who would certainly outnumber them by now.

Maju said...

Do you believe in democracy and self-determination? These are among the most sacred values of our age, at least on paper.

It is obviously the people of the Sahara who are the ones to decide how to rule their own country and the UN and African Union support that.

Morocco has no particular rightful claim to that territory (see this historical pre-colonial map as evidence), not more than Spain or any other country and certainly not more than the natives. It is the same as Palestine and the Zionist invaders.

Morocco is just one of those stupid tyrannies that NATO has promoted through the world, notably the Muslim World. It enjoys excellent relations with France and the USA and hence gets nearly all they want, including the near-monopoly of cannabis in Europe (unofficially, of course).

The Moroccan regime is also horrible for their own people, very specially Berbers - but read please on how was the Arabic people of Sidi Ifni treated last year.

It is a totalitarian police state not worth any sympathy. However the people are often nice.

There are not so many riches in Western Sahara anyhow: essentially phosphates and the fishing bank. I believe that in any case the inhabitants and not their powerful bully neighbour would be the ones entitled to use it, right?

150,000 people (out of 500,000 inhabitants) are exiled in a extremely arid spot in Algeria (who supports the Republic). They cannot return, while the ones who live under Moroccan rule suffer extreme oppression.

The population of the Republic is larger than that of Iceland and nobody questions the Icelandic right to independence from Denmark. Similarly, Greenland is an even more empty territory and is about to become independent too.

There are exactly 30 sovereign countries in the world that have less population than the Saharan republic, including Iceland, Luxemburg and Bahamas, as well as most states in Oceania and many others. Nobody questions their rights. Or do you think that the USA or maybe Cuba is entitled to invade Bahamas because they are small? What about Surinam, should it be annexed to Brazil? Cyprus? Which is the threshold of population that allows a nation their right to self-determination? There is no such thing. If we are to judge from the World's actual smallest country that is 800 people: the population of the Vatican. Or if this case sounds exceptional, then what about 10,000: the population of Nauru?

The boundary was not drawn by colonial powers in former Moroccan land but was the southernmost reach of Morocco's actual control. Technically the southern area ceded to Morocco by Spain, south of the Draa river upon independence was not part of Morocco but of West Sahara.

Morocco is a colonial power and has been historically. I would suggest you to read on the expedition of Pasha Judar (Joder originally, meaning "fuck" in Spanish, for his favorite swear word) against Songhai: it has nothing to envy in either boldness, gold-fever or widespread destruction to the expeditions of contemporary Portuguese or Castilian conquistadores elsewhere.

West African political organization was destroyed by Morocco and would never recover. And it was a war of Muslim against Muslim: there was not even a religious pretext in it, just mere greed for the fabled gold of Sudan.

And anyhow, we do have a history of solidarity with other oppressed peoples through the world, very specially Saharauis. They send their children to our country on holidays, where they are hosted temporarily by local families, trying to escape the desperation of the refugee camps of Tindouf.

This war is far from over.

Ken said...

Do you believe in democracy and self-determination?

Yes as ideals and not as a recipe for success, show me a single occasion where those ideals won over against force, Guatemala, El Salvador ect ect. I'm sure if there was real pressure to abandon Sahrawi territory the Moroccans would be totaly convinced it was a Western plot to cream off Arab resources Kuwaiti style. It's only countries like Denmark and Sweden that take democracy and self-determination seriously but they're very unusual in doing so.

I'm hardly surprised Moroccans use rape as a weapon against Sahrawis. Ive seen reports that they sexually assualt their own (non-Sahrawi) young women who call for democracy.

The population of the Republic is larger than that of Iceland and nobody questions the Icelandic right to independence from Denmark. Similarly, Greenland is an even more empty territory and is about to become independent too.

To stand up for ones rights against Denmark is a bit different. Denmark is the most liberal country in the world and their police do not rape young female students who call for more democracy.

The Sahrawis should accept defeat and reconcile themselves to being Moroccans, they're too few to stand a chance of winning against against Morocco and it's irresponsible of POLISARIO's leaders (safely abroad) and their well meaning foreigner supporters to give them the impression they can.

Maju said...

Sorry but we have seen just in few years the success of self-determination in about a dozen or more Eastern European countries, as well as Eritrea and even South Sudan and North Ireland. We have seen the apartheid regime to fall in South Africa and Namibia gain its independence, we have seen socialist and indigenist governments win democratically while previous attempts by force failed.

Nothing is guaranteed but the will of the people does matter and can force the hand of other organizations that do not have such real base, like artificially built states and bully-looking but really powerless armies.

Not sure who was that but I read the other day some British military commander in India who acknowledged that, while the army was there to keep India British, it could really not do much for that purpose if the odds turned against.

The people, when organized and persistent can turn the tables or at least has good chances of doing it. As Machiavelli said, you can hardly rule without the people. Of course the people can be manipulated and scared selectively but up to a point. Even Hitler needed a social consensus behind.

Also, what's your idea of success? Success for the Sahrawi people is freedom, so it's not a recipe but success itself. The recipe is surely armed resistence in this case.

To stand up for ones rights against Denmark is a bit different. Denmark is the most liberal country in the world and their police do not rape young female students who call for more democracy.

Actually that would be an additional reason to stand up against the Moroccan tyranny. None the less because the resources (what resources?!) you claim should be shared with Moroccans are actually only exploited by the Moroccan and international elites.

they're too few to stand a chance of winning against against Morocco

They would have won wouldn't be for US and French support and the lack of support from a former metropolis that has always denounced the Moroccan occupation (the deal was signed under Franco's fascist regime) but not really supported the former "Spaniards" with anything else than words.

But odds will eventually turn around. Morocco itself will shake from bottom up and the blood of the tyrants will run by the streets. The day is not far because the current crisis will only aggravate in the upcoming years and it means the end of US hegemony through the world.

Spain will also be teared down to pieces. Western Europe and the Mediterranean will experience what happened in Eastern Europe in the last two decades. A wise attitude then was that of Czechoslovakia: friendly split, and a wise attitude today is that of the UK and Denmark, which seem willing to allow Scotland and Greenland to part ways.

But in the countries of French Jacobine system, like Spain, Turkey or Morocco - or even France itself, things will be painful, like was in Yugoslavia or is still in the North Caucasus.

But decolonization and democratization must happen: it's almost unavoidable. Don't be naive.

These kind of struggles may last ecades or centuries, even millennia, like the Basque one, but if the people is determined to survive and not just be assimilated, in today's circumstances at least, victory will come.

And anyhow what other choice they have?