Thursday, November 02, 2006

We're just mixed-up kids who distrust the autonomy plan

It's a heady autumn on the internet for Western Saharan independence advocates. But for those of you who haven't been following the adventures of the best Facebook group devoted to Sahrawi independence, a recap.

Facebook is a college social networking site that's comparable to Myspace, to give you a frame of reference. It's mainly used to ogle people, but you can also create political groups. A friend of mine made a group devoted to Western Saharan independence as a 2006 campaign issue and made me an administrator, and I've been delighted ever since. The group started small, but it's gained momentum and now has 98 members. Here thanks has to be given to David Dragoset, a student at University of Texas-Dallas and an excellent bowler, who invited everyone he knows and several people he doesn't. David, there's a dune with your name on it outside El-Ayoun.

Our youthful independence-agitation had only started, though, before we were hassled by our mortal enemies: pro-Moroccan occupation college students (?). They came on with what were initially some soft arguments ("Who cares about the Western Sahara?", "US citizens are in no position to criticize Morocco when their government has invaded Iraq").

Eventually, they straightened up and produced some good stuff, though. For example, can someone explain to me about Abdelaziz's Moroccan origin? It doesn't matter whether he's from El-Ayoun, Marrakech, or Mars as far the struggle's legitimacy is concerned, but I'd like to know how he ended up in charge of Polisario.

The problem with pro-Moroccan arguments is how fundamentally flimsy they are. The most powerful one, for me, is the vague claim about the Alouwite tribe, and that's only because I haven't read much about the regions pre-colonial history. The fact that they have to resort to that irredentism, though, demonstrates how weak their other claims are. I mean, some people were peddling the Sahrawi children sold to Cuba story so popular with the Moroccan-American Center for Policy. I feel like by now that's been reduced to the level of an old-wives' tale.

This post feels self-involved, but I think I just wanted to assure the older members of the independence community that people my age know and care about Sahrawi independence. If you haven't yet, join the group on Facebook. Because of recent changes, you don't have to be in college, or even high school, to get an account.