Wednesday, February 14, 2007

World Food Program finds Tindouf camps in desperate need of food

Late last year, food aid to the Sahrawi refugee camps in Tindouf reached dangerously low levels. The aid has since been partially restored, but the refugees still live on a nutritional precipice. A recent World Food Program report on Tindouf confirmed that the Sahrawis need more and better supplies if they're to avoid lethal malnutrition.

Some people think Western nations are pressuring the Sahrawis to give up their struggle by reducing food aid. Originally, I disagreed, thinking the situation had to do with the developed world's apathy for humanitarianism involving people without oil. Still, it would be convenient for the United States and France if the Sahrawis were forced to return to Western Sahara because the camps were starving. Then, they could get Algeria to give up Sahrawi self-determination and go ahead with Maghreb integration.

Fortunately, it doesn't look like that will happen soon. Hurray for the refugees in Tindouf. I hope they get the soy supplement that the World Food Program recommended.

21 comments:

  1. haoula8:16 AM

    Hi will,

    Do you have any idea about the number of the "refugees" in Tindouf? Do you know that the guys from the Polisario Front have been talking about more than 170.000 people, the UN is now giving the number of 90.000 and that some other sources are talking about 52.000 "refugees"? Where does the money and the humanitarian help go dear friend? Have you ever heard about corruption? How does it comme that those people are armed though not recognized as a "state" by the international community? You know what Will, you should try to come to Morocco. Try to find out by yourself the way and the dignity in which the moroccan sahraouis live. Try to inform yourself through the CORCAS which represents all the saharaoui tribes.
    A briliant student like you should be aware of history. The guys you are "struggling for"are just just guys. Dont forget the real saharouis, the majority living in Morocco and the minority which could have a better life in Morocco, their country.

    Haoula from Rabat, Morocco's capital

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  2. Haoula,

    1) Morocco's propaganda about widespread corruption regarding food aid has never been substantiated. Just because a few cans of food aid turn up now and again in Algiers doesn't mean that there is widespread corruption.

    2)I always find it a bit arrogant for Moroccans to speak of corruption in Tindouf when groups like Transparency International have for years been providing plenty of evidence that Morocco is one of the most corrupt countries on earth. The monarchy is corrupt to the core. Why not deal with your own country first.

    3) On "state" recognition, over 40 countries do recognize the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic as the legitimate government of the Western Sahara. Not one country officially recognizes Moroccan sovereignty over the territory.

    4) CORCAS is a joke. If CORCAS really represents all the Sahrawi tribes, well why then don't we just have a referendum to prove it. The obvious answer is that CORCAS represents almost nobody and Rabat knows that a referendum would prove it. Why else would Rabat refuse to let the people vote?

    5) And Haoula, it is you who don't know your history. If you did you would know that Morocco before colonialism never exercised sovereignty over the Western Sahara, and that their present brutal and illegal occupation is nothing more than a corrupt land grab to enrich the Moroccan elites off the phosphate and fishing treasure of the territory.

    Chasli

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  3. Anonymous2:01 PM

    Hi Will, checked your profile and saw that u were 18 and u seem to be very savvy about what u call western Sahara. My deduction is either u grew up in that part of the world, which is unlikely, or your sources are feeding u with tons of info. but unfortunately for you, WRONG and FALLACIOUS info.
    People you call refugees are indeed abducted populations by the Polisario. You want proof? Every time they can make it out of the Hell they are leaving in inthe camps they do not hesitate a second!!!! Need more proof? On the family visit exchange program, your torturer friends do not allow entire families to jump in a plane and visit their relatives in Morocco. The kids they leave behind in the camps are the only guarantee they will return. Not trying to convert you. Telling you facts; different from yours for sure but certainly verifiable ones.
    On the number of refugees, that's another scam by your friends. They get your taxpayer money in aid for 170000 people, distribute some food to the 90000 or less people (there's talk about just over 50000) and guess where the biggest chunk of your money goes? In the pockets of their very "democratic leaders". And since you sound to be very smart, do the math and you'll be surprised.
    Have a good day,
    El Tiburon

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  4. to anonymous at 2:01

    We can argue all day about how many people there are in Tindouf, whether the people in Tindouf are there of their own accord or not, whether CORCAS represents the Sahrawi, and any number of other nice topics.

    As far as I am concerned there is only one issue: Rabat refuses to hold a referendum so the Western saharans themselves can have a say and resolve all these disputes. Tell me: why is that so? Why do you think Rabat refuses to hold a referendum? What is Rabat so scared of? Hey , everything you say might be true; why not hold a referendum to prove or disprove it. The only way to find out for sure who is right in all these arguments and disputes is to hold a vote. Why do you people resist that so much?

    Chasli

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  5. Anonymous2:32 PM

    U don't need a referendum, u can take my word for it. Just tell the "democratically elected leaders" in Tindouf and their protector hosts to open the camps and you'll see. Needless to remind you that, as far as I know, nobody ever fled from Morocco to the camps while the contrary is very true. Think about it!
    El Tiburon

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  6. Um, the whole population of the camps fled to the camps. And people keep fleeing even today, even if I grant that movement goes both ways now. I've met at least four Sahrawis who made it out of Moroccan-controlled territory, to the camps, after the cease-fire in 1991. And I know there are quite a few others.

    Plus, I'm sure your word is good and honest, but really, what arguments are there for refusing to hold a referendum? If Morocco truly has support from almost all Sahrawis, as you say, and all the refugees hate the Polisario ... then wouldn't a referendum be the perfect way to prove it? They'd all vote Morocco, and that would be the end of Polisario.

    What an odd it is that your government hasn't thought about that. You should tell them.

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  7. Um, the whole population of the camps fled to the camps. And people keep fleeing even today, even if I grant that movement goes both ways now. I've met at least four Sahrawis who made it out of Moroccan-controlled territory, to the camps, after the cease-fire in 1991. And I know there are quite a few others.

    Plus, I'm sure your word is good and honest, but really, what arguments are there for refusing to hold a referendum? If Morocco truly has support from almost all Sahrawis, as you say, and all the refugees hate the Polisario ... then wouldn't a referendum be the perfect way to prove it? They'd all vote Morocco, and that would be the end of Polisario.

    What an odd thing it is that your government hasn't thought about that. You should tell them.

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  8. Why don't you tell the "democratically elected king of Morocco" to hold a referendum and we'll see what happens. Why in the world should anyone take your word for it?

    You say:

    "Needless to remind you that, as far as I know, nobody ever fled from Morocco to the camps while the contrary is very true. Think about it!"

    I thought about it. And if, as you seem to believe, the Western Sahara is part of Morocco, then you should believe that EVERYONE in Tindouf fled from Morocco to the camps.

    This discussion with you only reinforces my belief that you are scared of a referendum because it would prove that you are all wrong. "Take my word for it" is just not a good enough argument.

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  9. Anonymous5:48 PM

    Chasli, I guess u and ur friends are the ones who are afraid of opening the camps. Remember what I told u about the family visits? While there are no restrictions in Morocco, families have to leave their kids behind in the camps as a guarantee of their return. You return to a place because you love it and cherish it not because your children are abducted and retained as hostages.
    El Tiburon

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  10. Anonymous,

    ok, if all the Sahrawis in Tindouf are being held prisoner against their will, they would all presumably vote for a return to the bosom of the motherland Morocco in a referendum.
    Why in the world are you opposing a referendum that you are convinced would prove you right? I'm sorry but it just doesn't make any sense. You should be urging your government to hold the referendum, rather than supporting their refusal to hold one, which is dooming those whom you seem to consider your fellow Moroccan citizens to many more years in Tindouf.

    If you are really convinced that the Sahrawis in Tindouf are being held against their will, you should be the one demanding a referendum, not me.

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  11. Anonymous1:43 AM

    Hi
    u are talking about Sahrawis being held prisoners in Tindouf against their will. Since when have prisoners voted to get out of jail? A prisoner either breaks out of jail (that's what's happening and many Sahrawis are returning to the homeland Morocco) or u let him/her walk free and that's what we expect the marxist-leninist bunch out there to do. If many of their officials fled the camps and rallied Morocco, there must be some serious reasons behind that decision and it means to me that they did not believe in such a project.
    Have a good day

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  12. Anonymous4:17 AM

    Hey Chasli, thanks for yor answer!

    I still believe that the CORCAS represents all the saharawi tribes.

    And you know what, I really don't understand why the polisario is officially rejecting autonomy without having any idea of it's content? I would be happy to know what Abdelaziz thinks officiously.

    I also still believe that the people in the camps are moroccans and would be happy to get back home.

    Last point, as a moroccan I believe that the Military governement in Algeria is the principle obstacle to peace between Polisario and Morocco.

    Sincerely yours, Houla

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  13. Haoula,

    The way I see it the Pollisario is rejecting autonomy outright for 2 basic reasons:

    1) the UN for over 30 years has been telling them that they have a right to self-determination, the right to a referendum on independence or inclusion in Morocco. They simply have the right to be independent if they so choose.

    2) in 1991, Morocco after negotiations with the Polisario as the accepted representative of the Western Saharans, agreed to a referendum on independence and signed an agreement to that effect. Since that time, Morocco has broken that agreement and every other agreement that they have made with the Polisario. With this history or Moroccan duplicity, why in the world should the Polisario trust anything Morocco offers. Seriously, do you really think that after raping the Western Sahara for its natural resources for over 30 years to the great benefit of the corrupt Moroccan elites Rabat will really allow an autonomous Western Sahara to all of a sudden control all the phosphate and fishing income? Whatever autonomy Morocco is willing to offer, do you really think that if oil is discovered off the coast of the Western Sahara Rabat will allow the Western Saharans to enrich themselves with petrodollars while Morocco languishes in its poverty? There is just no way that Morocco could or should be trusted to abide by any agreement on autonomy.

    My main point remains that if you, and anonymous for that matter, really believe that the Polisario is illegimate and the Sahrawis in Tindouf are being held captive, then you must support a referendum. If you don't support a referendum, then you really don't believe what you say.

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  14. As for Polisario rejecting the autonomy without knowing its content, I think it is for the same reason that Moroccan parties (and obviously the present commentators) support autonomy ... without knowing its content. I.e, all parties distrust the other one.

    About the family visits, it is the UN that chooses who gets to go, not Polisario or Morocco.

    About the referendum, the whole idea is that it would take place in Western Sahara under UN control. The Polisario could not affect the vote, and Morocco could not affect the vote. That would show, once and for all, what Sahrawis want. If Morocco won, everybody could just stay in the area under Moroccan rule; if they lost, they'd have to get out.

    If one side is working actively to prevent that referendum, that must mean it believes it will lose. Now, you can be pro- or anti-independence, but it is pretty clear which side it is that is afraid of the referendum.

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  15. El Tiburon2:48 PM

    Hi
    Since you guys sound pretty well informed about what u call western sahara and independence and so on and so forth I am quite sure u know who General Khaled Nezzar is. Then u might like to take an extra look at his statements of March 2003 about the issue and the creation of a new "state" bordering Algeria. If u have difficulties with French I can help with the translation.
    Have a good one
    El Tiburon

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  16. General Nezzar said that he didn't Algeria should oppose Morocco on Western Sahara, that's right. He did so when engaged in a brief spat with Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was at the time pushing his cronies out of power, and he said a great number of other things too that were intended to embarrass Bouteflika internationally.

    He later clarified the Western Sahara remark by saying the territory could be administered jointly as an autonomy by all Maghreb countries, and explicitly added that it should NOT be under exclusive Moroccan sovereignty.

    (Interview in French here:
    http://www.algeria-watch.org/fr/article/mil/reponses_nezzar.htm)

    But then, so what? Are we expected to agree with you because Khaled Nezzar said so? Or are you expected to agree with us because, as it turns out, he actually didn't say so?

    I happen to think Nezzar is one of the worst things that ever happened to Algeria and the Maghreb (1992 coup + civil war + death squads + massive corruption = Khaled Nezzar), and I cannot for the life of me see your argument here.

    Also, you might want to adress at least one or two of my responses to you above.

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  17. Anonymous7:12 AM

    Hi
    u can see my argument I am sure. the Nezzar guy does know what he's talking about and he perfectly knows that polisario/SADR is nothing but a remnant of the cold war and a puppet his country is using in its quest for some kind of regional supremacy. He perfectly knows that the polisario/SADR thing is in no way viable. If Bouteflika someday changes his mind about his puppets down south (which he might do), poor guy will also be accused of being the worst thing that happened to Algeria!!!!!!!!
    Remember Boudiaf? Ever guessed why the guy was shot down? Funny u never refer to other political forces inside Algeria who do not understand why their governement is supporting polisario and massively arming against Morocco rather than put the billions of dollars of oil revenue to good use and enjoy peaceful relations with their neighbor Morocco.
    Have a good one,
    El Tiburon

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  18. Hi El Tiburon,

    The UN and the AU support the Western Sahara's right to self-determination. Over 40 countries recognize the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. Why shouldn't Algeria support the Polisario? Why don't you ask Rabat why they are spending billions of dollars to maintain an illegal occupation when not one country officially recognizes Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara. I would think the money could be a lot better spent on alleviating poverty and improving literacy and education in Morocco.

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  19. Of course Algeria exploits the issue in its relations with Morocco, when have I ever argued that it is 100% principle? (Or even 25% principle...)

    I'm arguing that Sahrawi self-determination demands a referendum, and that a fair referendum would conclusively prove or disprove allegations of Sahrawi support of either Morocco or Polisario. That's the issue at stake here, and that's what you should be responding to, rather than this rambling about what Algerian generals think. Nezzar, Lamari, Mediène or Belkheïr: their opinions have zero influence on me, and zero influence on others who have been involved in this issue.

    Implying that I (and/or others here) "like" Boutefliqa and dislike Nezzar because of their WS opinions is pitiful slander: I loathe the whole regime in Algeria, just as in Morocco. They're crooks, thieves and murderers, and I don't expect them to formulate a principled position either for or against Western Saharan self-determination, since they haven't on any other issue. And you need to wake up and realize your own monarchy and its assorted band of cleptocrats is no better.

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  20. Anonymous3:08 PM

    Hi Chasli, guess u need to update your information and thanks for reminding me that Algeria is Heaven with no poverty nor illiteracy !!!!!!!!!!!
    Alle, I guess that one of the rules is to keep the debate clean and insult-free. Or maybe are you short of arguments?
    Have a good one
    El Tiburon

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  21. I haven't insulted you. I have insulted the Algerian and Moroccan governments, respectively, plus a handful of past and present shadow junta generals in Algeria.

    If you take any of that as a personal slight, you have issues I can't help you with.

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