Wednesday, March 21, 2007

What's up with Norway?

People all over the world support self-determination in the Western Sahara. The locations of some of the most active Western Sahara support communities make sense--Spain is interested in its former colony, and hassling Morocco is a very British pastime, which explains Australia and England.

Other countries are stranger. For example, it's hard to explain why, according to Google Analytics, the third most popular language for people who read One Hump is Polish. And then there's Norway.

Norwegians are some of the most active people in the Western Sahara community, despite seemingly no connection to the territory. Nevertheless, they're cool enough to do a ton of things for a referendum.

The Norwegian Rafto Foundation for Human Rights works to protect Sahrawi dissidents in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara, especially Sidi Mohammed Daddach. In 2002, the Foundation awarded Daddach a prize in human rights, and lobbied the Moroccan government to grant Daddach a passport so he could collect his award.

The Norwegian Support Committee for the Western Sahara is also vocal, complaining about the exploitation of Sahrawi natural resources. I'm not sure about the details of this, but I think they were able to get a Norwegian phosphate company to divest from Western Sahara, a victory against Moroccan mercantilism.

The Committee also runs Sahara-Update, the Yahoo group that's better than Google Alerts for keeping up with the Western Sahara online.

I personally experienced the curious Norwegian affinity for Western Sahara through Mikael Simble, the U.S. representative of the Support Committee made infamous at the Moroccan protest. Mikael, who has since been called back to the tundra where he makes his home, explained that many Norwegians are interested in social justice issues like Western Sahara.

I disagree. I think the Norwegians work so ceaselessly on the Western Sahara to make amends for their barbarian heritage. I imagine Ronny Hansen, the Support Committee's leader, adding posts to Sahara-Update and simultaneously subtracting babies tossed on swords.

Still, that theory doesn't put the question to rest. Whatever the explanation is, Norwegians helping Sahrawis will continue to be the best argument for a welfare state.

4 comments:

  1. Anonymous1:43 PM

    Hi Will

    welcome to norway and Poland
    Great blog. go ahead

    Many morrocans are reading it but they are afraid to make comments!!!
    may you can imagine why

    the Saharawis also in Western Sahara are controlled by morrocan GUS and tracking them by IP numbers..

    Great Job
    Norway and Poland

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Norway and Poland!

    Hello to all the Moroccans reading, as well as Sahrawis in the occupied territories. I hope you're enjoying the blog.

    As for everyone else if you can't comment, I understand, but if you want to say something and can comment, go for it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Haoula5:06 PM

    Will,

    I am a moroccan. I live in Morocco's capital!

    Your question was why Norway? One of the answers is that activists of the Polisario live there. I don't really think that norvegians or people from Poland have more sympathy for The Polisario than Morocco or any other country.
    It's just PROPAGANDA!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous5:10 PM

    Will,

    Sorry it's me again: The Gus a former moroccan police corps, dont exist anymore! So stop desinforming people!
    Haoula Bis

    ReplyDelete