Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Waiting for the referendum

Sahrawis have been waiting for a referendum for some time. If you count from the year the UN called for worldwide self-determination, to be decided in referendums, it's been 42 years. If you count from Spanish decolonization, it's been 31. And if you count from Morocco's Settlement Plan promise, it's been 15.

The Sahrawis have had a lot of time to wait, and to have their hopes dashed. In a particularly sad scene in Endgame in the Western Sahara, Sahrawis in Tindouf hear about Hassan II's death. Confident there'll be a referendum, they break their roofs down into packaging for their trip home, and sell their herds. It's devastating imagining their exhilaration turning to disappointment.

There's a part of ARSO I hadn't noticed until today where people can submit opinions about the Western Sahara. Agaila Abba Hemeida of Free Western Sahara wrote a nice poem about the referendum, and what it represents to Sahrawis.

ARSO also has a humorous page about the referendum process written by Nafaa Mohamed Salem. Displayed like an online help page, it nevertheless conveys the frustration Sahrawis must feel as Morocco blocks every attempt at self-determination.

11 comments:

  1. Anonymous8:05 AM

    Hi Will,

    First of all I am moroccan. I have been reading you for some time now.

    I will certainly make some grammatical mistakes, beacause I am not used to write in english.
    Your commitment to the sahraoui cause is interesting. But there is a real problem in your approach: you are only talking about the saharouis, which, we moroccans consider as moroccans, living in the camps in Algeria.

    You have thousands of people from the moroccan southern provinces living normaly, like any other moroccan.

    A lot of ministers, office workers, students, governors, politicians, parlementarians are from the southern provinces. Sahraouis if you want.But before beeing saharouis they are moroccans. They recognize themselves as moroccans.

    You never talk about that majority of moroccans from our southern provinces. The people living in camps in Tindouf are considered by the majortity of the moroccan people as hostages of the Polisario Front and not as refugees.

    I am not trying to convince you, but just giving you the point of a view of a moroccan citizen, from Morocco.

    Ahlam, from Rabat

    ReplyDelete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Will

    Appreciate the articlo and the link to the free western sahara blog..

    and to the Marrocan guy who left you comment. All you guys seem have the same beliefe system that we are Marrocan and that the Saharawi in the refugee camps are been kept by the Polisario I am Saharawi and I was born in the refugee camps never in my life been torter neither I been been abuse in fact the life in the refugee camps have tought me the meaning of Freedom.. If you stil duet it than come and see for yourself...

    take care

    ReplyDelete
  4. Rabat,

    What the average Moroccan thinks the Saharawi are is irrelevant. Compare the Northern Irish, widely reagarded in the UK as British, a label which the Catholics would almost universally reject.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Haoula6:55 AM

    Dear Agaila,

    My name is Haoula, and I am a moroccan woman (38) and not a guy. If you feel free in the camps led by the polisario, it's your right.

    How many political movements are there in the camps in Algeria? Are there any free elections?

    Sorry Will, but as a sincere average and french educated moroccan( middle class-liberal-estern Morocco) I would like to understand how and why some friends of the Polisario consider themselves as free people in camps led by just one political movement and the same man since the movement was created?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous2:07 PM

    To Ahlam from Rabat:

    Also. I am not English native speaking but I am trying to share my opinion with others

    That you are Moroccan and interested in Western Sahara issue is very interested too

    First:
    “Provinces du Sud / or/ “ Sahara Marocain” are only official Moroccan cacologie not recognize by any.
    See what UN said In 1966:
    “… The U.N. ratified the inalienable right of the Saharawi people to self-determination. ..”
    Also do you know what mean “ MINURSO” recognize by morocco himself. It mean in French “ Mission des Nations Unies pour le Référendum au Sahara Occidental ) ”. SAHARA OCCIDENTAL not SAHARA MAROCAIN or « provinces du sud »


    Second:
    You said “…You have thousands of people from the Moroccan southern provinces living normally, like any other Moroccan ..”

    That thousands of saharawis are in Morocco that is “good” but mean nothing really. There are millions/or/hundreds of thousands / of Moroccans in nice countries like Belgium and Nederland is that mean that these countries are “part of Morocco” !!! and we can find hundreds of examples like that in the whole world

    If the Saharawis really want to be Moroccans . they should do that in FREE referendum managed by UN. Like in all the “civilized world” do
    Why Morocco regime ( not citizens of Morocco) are afraid of the referendum/truth /?

    I can tell you more even the majority of Moroccans who are in WS now want Western Sahara to be free. May you know why?

    My opinion . independent and free Western Sahara next to Morocco will be BETTER for morocco himself.
    ……………….


    To Haoula from Morroco:

    By my self. I have been in Saharawis refugees camps many times. I have really found a lot of “ liberty and Democracy” maybe more than in Morocco itself.

    The Polisario its changed ….their leaders are now more “open minded” and thinking “outside the box”
    People can criticize Polisario and their leaders publicly….but this don’t mean that they are pro-Moroccan as the Moroccan official propaganda do.
    They can criticize Polisario but they have with them the same GOAL. To have FREE and independent Western Sahara.
    They all sacrified a lot to give up now…

    I have notice that The municipal elections at the level of the Dairas and national institutions will start this Wednesday in two stages in the Saharawi refugee camps, you can check in the www.arso.org and other websites if will free or not!
    ………….

    To Agaila from Saharawis Refugees Camps. May you can tell us and the educated Moroccans here more. Thanks in advance


    Regards to all
    Desertman

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous2:08 PM

    Thanks Will
    ..That you open this space so the Saharawis and their supporters can change opinion with serious Moroccans who want to know more about WS..
    ……………..

    To Ahlam from Rabat:

    Also. I am not English native speaking but I am trying to share my opinion with others

    That you are Moroccan and interested in Western Sahara issue is very interested too

    First:
    “Provinces du Sud / or/ “ Sahara Marocain” are only official Moroccan cacologie not recognize by any.
    See what UN said In 1966:
    “… The U.N. ratified the inalienable right of the Saharawi people to self-determination. ..”
    Also do you know what mean “ MINURSO” recognize by morocco himself. It mean in French “ Mission des Nations Unies pour le Référendum au Sahara Occidental ) ”. SAHARA OCCIDENTAL not SAHARA MAROCAIN or « provinces du sud »


    Second:
    You said “…You have thousands of people from the Moroccan southern provinces living normally, like any other Moroccan ..”

    That thousands of saharawis are in Morocco that is “good” but mean nothing really. There are millions/or/hundreds of thousands / of Moroccans in nice countries like Belgium and Nederland is that mean that these countries are “part of Morocco” !!! and we can find hundreds of examples like that in the whole world

    If the Saharawis really want to be Moroccans . they should do that in FREE referendum managed by UN. Like in all the “civilized world” do
    Why Morocco regime ( not citizens of Morocco) are afraid of the referendum/truth /?

    I can tell you more even the majority of Moroccans who are in WS now want Western Sahara to be free. May you know why?

    My opinion . independent and free Western Sahara next to Morocco will be BETTER for morocco himself.
    ……………….


    To Haoula from Morroco:

    By my self. I have been in Saharawis refugees camps many times. I have really found a lot of “ liberty and Democracy” maybe more than in Morocco itself.

    The Polisario its changed ….their leaders are now more “open minded” and thinking “outside the box”
    People can criticize Polisario and their leaders publicly….but this don’t mean that they are pro-Moroccan as the Moroccan official propaganda do.
    They can criticize Polisario but they have with them the same GOAL. To have FREE and independent Western Sahara.
    They all sacrified a lot to give up now…

    I have notice that The municipal elections at the level of the Dairas and national institutions will start this Wednesday in two stages in the Saharawi refugee camps, you can check in the www.arso.org and other websites if will free or not!
    ………….

    To Agaila from Saharawis Refugees Camps. May you can tell us and the educated Moroccans here more. Thanks in advance


    Regards to all
    Desertman

    ReplyDelete
  8. Will,

    I’ve been visiting here for some time now and am encouraged with where this blog is headed. The fact that people are using this space to discuss, pose questions, and aggressively seek the truth is incredible. You’ve done a great job bringing this issue out for the public to discuss.

    To all your viewers and posters, no matter what side is taken in this debate, I encourage you to probe and demand answers. Post your opinions and thoughts! What Moroccans and Americans, Muslims and Catholics, westerners and easterners, think of the Sahraoui highly relevant. No matter what our nation or creed, we are all intellectual, we all possess the qualities of greatness. If not, why else would God, Allah, care for us so? Like the Sahraoui, Moroccans are a highly intelligent and ingenious people; there is no benefit by cutting their point of view from the debate. We must seek to understand why they believe what they do and then share the basis for our belief with them. Only after examining all pieces of the puzzle can we see its true shape.

    I would love to go further on this issue but my time is limited and I fear this will likely be my first and last post. Let me simply encourage those seeking truth and knowledge to do his or her research privately. Do not merely accept facts from books, officials, websites, and organizations. Check their sources, verify their claims with your own studies, and develop a list of resources you truly can trust. The only question I ask here is which side is hiding knowledge? Which side is denying you access to the whole picture, indeed saying, “You are not intelligent enough to know lies from truth. You are not capable of rational thought. You are forbidden.”? Do not allow shrewd enemies of understanding to turn us against each other for their own power. Though hate and anger may be justifiable, they cloud the truth and force us to mark a brother a beast.

    We are stronger than I. Us, stronger than them. United we are unassailable.

    Freedom for all,
    Tali

    ReplyDelete
  9. Dear Houla

    Who tell you we dont have free election..Mybe we live in the desert which Algerian Terriotory but has you know that Algeria has their government and their election only Algeria can elect but the Saharawi has also their own government and election. Yes we do have the right to vote every 3 yrs theres election we elect the minister, the wali wilaya that is the disctrit both Man and women has equelly right to vote. Did you not know that Saharawi women are the first free women in the world of Islam in the Saharawi constitition it say freedom of religion and Man and women have equelly right the vote , the have the same right not only in the house but in education, leadership , etc. The women are the one who build the camp we considerm they are the one who build our nation and government. We all have the same vote that vote that is to free Western Sahara any one have that vote Man , Women, child anybody......

    Desert man thnak you for the oppournity and for the open mind you have to learn more about the Saharawi and their history and by organizing that Saharawi are nation not part of a nation that are force to part of.....

    We all want peace and freedom

    ReplyDelete
  10. EVISU ジーンズ 価格Serial denim entrepreneur Scott Morrison is at it again.EVISU ジーンズ 直営店 He's the co-founder behind both Paper Denim and Cloth and Earnest Sewn, and was CEO and creative director for Evisu before they shuttered their US business and moved the entire operation to Hong Kong. Now,エヴィス ジーンズ 店舗 he's launching a new line of denim called 3x1エヴィス ジーンズ.

    ReplyDelete