Monday, April 30, 2007

Western Sahara Smackdown: Western Sahara Online vs Western Sahara Online

If you type "Western Sahara Online" into a search engine, your top two results will have dramatically different views on the dispute. Yet both site are called Western Sahara Online. Today, I'll pit Western Sahara Online.net (pro-Morocco) against Wsahara.net (pro-SADR) and settle definitively which is most deserving of the Western Sahara name.

For ease of use, I'll call the pro-Morocco one WSO.net and the pro-SADR one Wsahara.

Round 1: Banner image
Wsahara-
A picture of tents in the desert. They might be in Tindouf or they might be in Western Sahara.
WSO.net-4 people and a camel being chased across sand dunes by a map of Morocco and the Moroccan flag. Weirdly, the Earth is in the sky above them.
Winner: WSO.net Points were given for the surreal anthropomorphizing of Moroccan imperialism, as well as the suggestion that Western Sahara is on another planet.

Round 2: Content
Wsahara-
Western Sahara Online has an exhaustive store of information about the conflict. I've been reading about the Western Sahara for almost a year now, but I'd never heard of the Ain Ben Tili Conference until I looked at Wsahara. Also, a ridiculous amount of PDF reports on Western Sahara.
WSO.net-
A lot of information in the Speak for Sahrawis vein. If you thought Speak for Sahrawis was a reasonable look at Polisario's abuses, then you'll probably like WSO.net. If you thought Speak for Sahrawis makes a farce out of international human rights activism, though, you'll be less disposed to it.
Winner-Wsahara!
It has so much information, plus the rocking Western Sahara cartoons.

Round 3: Do I know the site's owner?
WSahara-
I met Khatry Beirouk at the Abdelaziz dinner. He was delightful!
WSO.net-
I've met Ambassador Aziz Mekouar and Robert Holley, so pretty much yeah.
Winner- A tie!


Round 4: Does the site prominently feature Representative Lincoln-Diaz Balart (R-FL)?
Wsahara-
No.
WSO.net-
Definitely. As Morocco's closest hombre in Congress, it'd be foolish for WSO.net not to roll with him.
Winner-WSahara!
Lincoln Diaz-Balart is bad web design.

Results: WSahara wins, 2-1. Congratulations to Khatry and the aspiring Western Sahara scam artists (check sidebar)

Friday, April 27, 2007

House members abuse franking privilege for Western Sahara

It turns out that Morocco Board and Robert Holley are craftier than I gave them credit for. Their letter garnered 180 signatures from members of the US House of Representatives, and will soon be sent to President Bush to urge him to support autonomy.

I looked closely for renowned Western Sahara haters, but couldn't figure out any signatures besides Representative Diaz-Balart. I also couldn't confirm whether my notoriously chumpy representative, John Culberson (R-TX) signed it, but I wouldn't put it past him. Typed lists please, Morocco Board! Some of these congressmen look like they're signing in Arabic out of solidarity.

Illegibility aside, 180 signatures aren't anything to sneeze at. I'm sure most of the congressmen signed because they're friends with Diaz-Balart or his co-sponsor, Rep Ackerman, or their aides are friends. Still, it's a substantial amount. Kudos to Morocco for getting Western Sahara more attention, kudos revoked for misleading people about it.

Devolution haters shouldn't be too worried, though, because a letter is also being sent to the President that denounces the autonomy plan. The letter says the autonomy plan might be a violation of self-determination. Interestingly, it also suggests that MINURSO should be discontinued. Signers include classy Zach Wamp and Maxine Waters, Houston's own Sheila Jackson Lee, William "I prefer my bribes chilled" Jefferson, and the delightfully-named Edolphus Towns.

Of course, the first two signers are Joseph Pitts and Donald Payne, those ubiquitous defenders of Sahrawi self-determination. Do you think they roll around the Hill together, maybe with James Inhofe? And then, when they see Diaz-Balart and Ackerman flipping pennies against the Congress convenience store, they rumble with them?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Al-Jazeera is holding a vote online about independence

According to my pals in the misguided but lovable Facebook group The Sahara is Moroccan!, Al-Jazeera has a debate show coming up about the autonomy plan. They said the show has an online poll about the autonomy plan (I think it's on the left sidebar).

The problem is, my fool's Arabic isn't good enough for Al-Jazeera. Can an Arabic speaker confirm that this poll is about autonomy, and tell us what each of the choices is?

It's silly, but let's see if we can beat the autonomy plan.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

"Strike, my minions!": King Mohammed pulls out the big guns

I can't remember how I ended up signing on for email alerts from Morocco Board, but I'm glad I did. Usually I just find out that a Moroccan concert in DC was a great success, but sometimes I get gems like this, telling Moroccans to urge their congressmen to support the autonomy plan.

What I find most irritating about the call to action is how it frames the autonomy plan as Morocco's answer to a question the diplomatic community continues to ask: "The Moroccan initiative comes in response to repeated requests of the United Nations Security Council and several of its key members, including the United States, that Morocco propose a solution to this longstanding problem." No one's asking Morocco to propose an autonomy plan--the UN and most of the international community still want a referendum.

Check out this letter written by Reps. Diaz-Balart and Ackerman to President Bush supporting autonomy. I'm familiar with Lincoln Diaz-Balart's particular brand of venality or naivete, according to your taste. But who is Gary Ackerman, D-NY? I've written him a letter about the Western Sahara for good measure.

I suppose Moroccans lobbying the government at least might attract lawmakers' attention, and then the truth will show them who to support (maybe?). It's certainly better of them to use grassroots (sandgrains?) activism than Robert Holley.

More later this week on another one of Morocco Board's crusades, this time against Wikipedia tricksters. If only editing was limited to state actors, our problems would be solved!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Sahrawi women write a blog about life in Tindouf

While the Western Sahara blog scene abroad is getting so robust it might be called festively plump, I haven't read much from the camps. That was, at least, until an anonymous commenter on this post about Western Sahara blogs pointed me to Mujeres de Dajla, a blog about women in the Dakhla camp in Tindouf.

Despite 7 years of Spanish before college and the loving care of my Chilean host family, my command of Spanish isn't enough for Mujeres de Dajla. Indeed, they're only reminding me why I loved Babelfish so much in high school. But I'll try and puzzle some things out anyway.
  • The Mujeres de Dajla are crafty enough to use Wordpress.
  • They've opened a pizzeria in the camps! It's delicious, but no Ray's Pizza.
  • The women produce clothes, some of which goes to charity and some of which is sold.
  • Sahrawi women are business-minded and productive, if their blog is anything to go by.
I hope this is just the beginning of blogs written from the camps.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I just made quarter-sheets about the Western Sahara

Get pumped, especially if you live or work near the Moroccan embassy and park your car on the street.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Moroccan increases assaults on Sahrawi activists

It sounds like Morocco is going crazy in Western Sahara this month. I'd expect Morocco to play it cool until the autonomy plan is passed or rejected, but maybe the competing plans have excited the Sahrawis so much Morocco has to respond.

Western Sahara Info, the Norwegian Support Committee for the Western Sahara, and ASVDH (a Sahrawi human rights group) have extensive coverage of this recent outbreak of repression that's hitting Sahrawis, especially youths. Here's what's happening:
  • Morocco arrested 3 young Sahrawis aged 13 and 14 after pro-independence demonstrations in El-Aiun. According to ASVDH, Morocco also tortured a 14 year-old boy. Seriously?
  • Mohammed Tahlil, the Boujdour ASVDH representative, was beaten by security forces in El-Aiun.
  • Amadayne el-Ouali, a 21 year-old Sahrawi active in the independence movement, was sentenced to 5 years in prison. Check out Western Sahara Info's highly-recommended profile of Amadayne. On the plus side, I think I have a crush on his self-determination- loving sister.
Can someone explain to me why MINURSO isn't getting a human rights component this renewal? [Kudos to Western Sahara Info for tipping me off to this latest wave of repression].

Sahara Panorama's got a brand new bag

Western Sahara Echo (formerly Sahara Panorama) is an old guard Western Sahara blog, but it went inactive for a while. No longer! As a big supporter of Western Sahara blogs, I'm happy to say Western Sahara Echo is back, and with better content and a redesign.

Western Echo's claim to fame recently has been scooping everyone on Morocco's autonomy plan. It also reruns several articles and interviews related to Western Sahara, as well as this letter from Suzanne Scholte and Carlos Wilson of the US-Western Sahara Foundation to President Bush.

My only complaint is that none of the article's are written by Mohammed himself. We already have ARSO and Western Sahara Online compiling articles about the Western Sahara; I want to know what Mohammed thinks.

Speaking of Western Sahara bloggers from way back, Chasli of Western Sahara Endgame has decided to come back from his almost yearlong vacation from posting to call out The Washington Times. As you might know, The Washington Times has a weird fondness for the Moroccan side of the Western Sahara issue. Writing about a recent pro-autonomy editorial, Chasli demonstrates just how weird that fondness is.

Chasli's the bomb in general and a frequent One Hump commenter in specific, so it's good to have him back writing. With so many exciting things happening about the Western Sahara, on- and off-line, why don't you start writing a Western Sahara blog too?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I've adopted an adorable Azeri

Arzu Aliyev is a cheerful market vendor in Agsu, Azerbaijan. He's a family man, with three kids and a wife. Arzu is on his way up in the world. Now, through the wonder of the internet, he owes me $25.

Kiva.org is website that lets people in developing countries use their Paypal accounts or credit cards to lend money to banks overseas, which in turn make microcredit loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries who want to expand their businesses or start new ones.

In Arzu's case, he needs $600 to expand his stock. Using money I made writing for Stop Ahmadinejad, I loaned Azru $25. If everything goes well, I should get paid back in 12 to 16 months.

I've been interested in microcredit loans since I saw Mohammed Yunus, the Bangladeshi who popularized the concept, speak at Georgetown. They seem like a good way for small businesses to improve quality of life in poor countries.

Why did I choose Arzu? Two reasons. One, I couldn't find anyone in Algeria, Morocco, Western Sahara, or my beloved DR Congo. Two, I think Arzu looks like a badass who is also responsible with other peoples' money.

Kiva is new and the loans generally take a year to pay back, so there isn't much of a track record to go by, but microcredit loans are usually paid back and The New York Times trusts it.

More updates on Arzu when I get them. If he stiffs me, his reputation will be besmirched for all time on the internet. If he gets an expanded product line, though, and pays me back everyone who reads about the Western Sahara will know who to buy from in Agsu.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Elliot Abrams meddling in Western Sahara...again

In all of the autonomy plan excitement, you might have forgotten about King Mohammed's favorite henchman in the US government, Elliott Abrams. Fortunately, the Middle East Institute's Clayton Swisher didn't.

Swisher wrote an article in United Press International about Abrams's role in the autonomy plan presentation. You should read it, but here's what Swisher says.
  • Moroccans like Elliott Abrams, but no one else in North Africa does.
  • Abrams is messing around with Western Sahara because he isn't allowed to handle Arab-Israeli affairs anymore.
  • Everyone is happy to have him out of Israel, so they don't mind if he mucks up Africa's last colony.
  • He's responsible for some of the praise the autonomy plan is receiving from the State Department.
Here's an earlier post I wrote about Abrams, his involvement with Morocco, and his machinations across the world.

Incidentally, is Abrams's "Elliott" spelled with one or two T's? I can't figure it out. Swisher spells it with one t, but Wikipedia uses two.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Terrorism transcends intra-Maghreb divide

You probably already know about this, but the recent bomb attacks in Morocco and Algeria deserve mention. The attacks-two in Morocco and two in Algeria-killed 33 and reminded the Maghreb that "terrorist" isn't just an insult the two countries use on one another.

It's awkward to offer condolences in something like this, but I'll do it anyway. I hope both countries can deal with their terrorist problems. One way to do so would be working through an actually functional Maghreb Union, but that seems unlikely as long as the Western Sahara remains unresolved.

Incidents like these also demonstrate how ridiculous and unfair it is when Polisario is called a terrorist organization.

Bahraini minister hassles Mahmood

Mahmood's Den, a blog written by a Bahraini software engineer, is no stranger to trouble with Bahrain's repressive monarchy. The last time I wrote about Mahmood, his website had been blocked in his home country. The block has since been lifted, but now Mahmood's facing a challenge in court for criticizing Bahrain's Minister of Municipalities and Agriculture.

If you read the post Mahmood wrote, you'll be surprised by how mild Mahmood's post is in comparison to the reaction is received. The Minister's suing him, but I can't imagine Mahmood besmirched his reputation. It seems like an attempt to silence all opposition by making an example of one writer. Where does the minister think this is--occupied Western Sahara?

Considering time zones, Mahmood might already be in the court room as I write this. Here's what Mahmood wrote the day before the trial.

Kate observed that Mahmood's life, except for the free speech issues, is not unlike that of a sitcom dad. Why won't the Bahraini government leave Mahmood to his Segways and chainsaws (at left, picture by Mahmood)?

UPDATE: Mahmood's case was deferred because the mother of the judge died. Mahmood will go back on trial on May 8th. It seems like a lot of people turned out to support him.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Two new ways to read One Hump

According to Google Analytics, when I post One Hump gets between 40 to 50 unique visitors a day. That's great, and I'd like to point you to two other ways of reading my blog.

On the top of the toolbar at the right there are two options for reading my posts without visiting the site. You can subscribe to the RSS feed by clicking the Subscribe button, with the orange button. You can get feeds using a variety of readers. I use Bloglines.

The other option is to get posts by email by clicking "Receive updates by email," under the RSS button. It's like an RSS feed but easier to implement if you don't want to mess around with a feed reader.

I have to thank ARSO for prodding me into working on my subscription options, even though he did it inadvertently. Only a month or two after I started writing, he emailed me and said, "I like your blog. I read the feed every day." I didn't even know what an RSS feed was, much less that I published one.

Erik Jensen and Frank Ruddy: a love that dare not speak its name

The Western Sahara dispute is propelled by famous personal rivalries: King Hassan and Houari Boumedienne, for example, or James Baker and whoever gets in his way.

My favorite Western Sahara rivalry, though, is the one between Erik Jensen and Frank Ruddy. Erik Jensen led MINURSO from 1994 until 1998, when it was trying to implement the Settlement Plan's referendum registration. Ruddy worked under him.

Judging from Ruddy's comments, the two don't like one another at all. Here's Erik Jensen's testimony at the star-studded House subcommittee on the Western Sahara, from 2005:
The Moroccans demanded that the UN flag be taken down from the voting area, and to my left is Erik Jensen, who actually carried that out.

Moroccan journalists were asked to be allowed into the voting areas so that they could produce films for television. They were in fact from Moroccan security and they were used simply to take the pictures of all the Sahrawis who were there. Not 1 second ever appeared on television.
More tasty morsels from their beef as I find them.

Speaking of Erik Jensen, I finally finished his book Western Sahara: Anatomy of a Stalemate. I liked it, though not nearly as much as I liked Endgame in Western Sahara. I'll give Erik Jensen credit for one thing: it's impressive that he didn't go insane trying to match intractable Sahrawi and Moroccan negotiating positions.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Khalihenna Ould Rachid is actually a reanimated corpse ghola from the techno-planet Ix

I'm (still) reading Erik Jensen's Western Sahara: Anatomy of a Stalemate. In the beginning of the book, Jensen says Sahrawis are called "Les Hommes Bleus" because they wear distinctive blue clothes. I'd never heard this before.

I made a connection to another desert's oppressed, indigenous, blue people: the Fremen in Frank Herbert's Dune. In the Fremen's case, their eyes turned blue from eating the important spice melange.

People who have read Dune should be optimistic about the Western Sahara's future, if these similarities point to something larger. If the Sahrawis follow the Fremen's path, they'll soon be united by a foreigner and gather planets into their empire. Here's hoping.

Writing this post, I'm remembering how awesome Dune is. Maybe I'll read it again and write a post about the borrowed Arabic words in the Fremen language.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Nichane publishes again

Morocco-watchers will remember the Nichane imbroglio well. Nichane, the Arabic arm of popular, Tindouf-myth-questioning Francophone Tel Quel, got in trouble in January for publishing a list of popular Moroccan jokes. My favorite was "I'll take your mother on the hajj."

Moroccan authorities didn't have a favorite, though, and if they did they weren't telling. They gave Nichane's editors a 3 year suspended sentence, which I suppose means they aren't going to prison. They also banned Nichane from publishing for two months.

Now, Nichane is once again available in Morocco. Or Does It Explode? reports that Nichane is flying off newstands. Good for Nichane, and if the lawsuit didn't weaken its satirical bite, even the better.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Autonomy plan leaks

According to Sahara-Panorama, here's a leaked copy of the autonomy plan. How dishy.

More later tonight. Enjoy.

House subcommittee witnesses Battle of the Western Sahara Stars

When Chasli of Western Sahara Endgame gave me information about Erik Jensen, I had no idea I was about to find a transcript the ultimate rumble between Morocco and Polisario. Still, that's exactly what happened.

In late 2005, the House Committee on International Relations's Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights, and International Operations held a hearing. The hearing, Getting to "Yes": Resolving the 30 Year-Old Conflict Over the Status of the Western Sahara, featured an unbelievably dishy cast of characters. Here's who showed up:
  • Toby Shelley, author of Western Sahara Endgame
  • Representative Diaz-Balart from Florida, a propagator of the Cuba abduction myth
  • Rep. Donald Payne from New Jersey, of Aminatou Haidar reception fame
  • Erik Jensen, author of Western Sahara: Anatomy of a Stalemate
  • Frank Ruddy, Erik Jensen's evil twin brother
  • Whacky Senator James Inhofe, who is nevertheless a big supporter of the Western Sahara
  • A Moroccan POW
You're thinking that's good (have Erik Jensen and Toby Shelley ever been seen in the same room together before?) but it gets even better. Statements were submitted to the committee from all sorts of ruffians. Suzanne Scholte of the US-Western Sahara Foundation had a statement, as did SADR ambassador Mouloud Said and Morocco's ambassador Aziz Mekouar. Stephen P. Hagens of Homeland International has a speech in the appendix.

Pleasingly, and predictably, the fantastic Erik Jensen-Frank Ruddy beef is on display.

It's hard to believe so much Western Sahara clout could gather in one room and leave the space-time continuum intact. Check it out!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Contact Me

There are a variety of ways to get in touch with me, poke me, friend me, or tell me I'm a jackass. Please do!

Email: sommerwf at gmail.com

AOL Instant Messenger: Omelet4th (I'm rarely on)

My Facebook account

My LinkedIn profile

Especially large kudos to anyone who contacts me on LinkedIn, because I don't have any connections on it and want to try it out.

My Twitter

Everyone loves a good Driss Basri joke

I read the same joke about Driss Basri twice yesterday. The first time it was in Erik Jensen's Western Sahara: Anatomy of a Stalemate, and the second time it was in Western Sahara: The Referendum That Wasn't and the One that Might Still Be, an article by Frank Ruddy, Jensen's former subordinate. This joke was circulating around the Maghreb during the 1994 voter registration negotiations. I'll use Jensen's version.
The joke going around when I got there was of President Mobutu asking King Hassan's help to fix the presidential election in Zaire. Hassan sent Basri.

Mobutu lost and complained bitterly to Hassan who called Basri on the carpet to explain.

"Mobutu ?" replied Basri. "You won the election , Your Majesty, by six million votes."
I paragraphed to make the joke clearer. No word yet on whether this was on the Nichane banned jokes list.

MINURSO probably renewed, autonomy set for Tuesday

April's going to be a big month for the Western Sahara, between Morocco's autonomy presentation and the MINURSO renewal (six months already?).

I mentioned earlier that the autonomy presentation might happen today. Now, ReliefWeb reports that the President of the Security Council "said such a proposal was expected on 10 April."

Don't they have agendas at the Security Council? The president also said he didn't expect a solution to Western Sahara in the next few months. Still, he thinks MINURSO will be renewed.

Does anyone know about the proposed extension of MINURSO duties to include human rights monitoring in the occupied territories?

Monday, April 09, 2007

Erik Jensen entertained MINURSO troops with a spirited rendition of "Minnie the Moocher"

I mentioned earlier that I was reading Western Sahara: Anatomy of a Stalemate, by Erik Jensen. Jensen ran MINURSO from 1994 to 1998, Chasli of Western Sahara Endgame referred me to an article that is less than complimentary about Jensen.

The Referendum that Wasn't And Still Might Be is by Erik Ruddy, a former MINURSO member and a player in the voter registration process. The article reveals MINURSO's behind-the-scenes politics and is a great read. Ruddy makes a Graham Greene allusion, even.

Ruddy might like Graham Greene, but he doesn't like Erik Jensen:
A delightful mimic of Boutros Ghali and Butcher Basri and Moroccan luminaries, a painter and anthropologist, Jensen was just the person to have visit for the weekend, but the wrong man for the job he was in. Like his U.N. colleague, Margaret Anstee, who botched the elections in Angola, Jensen was just not someone serious politicians took seriously. Bertie Wooster in a safari suit. Once I asked him why he didn't protest when Basri had arbitrarily prohibited MINURSO from announcing the referendum in the press, Jensen replied: "He yelled at me. What could I do ?"
Later, Ruddy complains that Jensen acted like Driss Basri's lackey's lackey. I haven't decided yet on Jensen. His book is interesting, and it sounds like the constant Morocco-Polisario bickering would drive anyone crazy.
http://www.arso.org/Ruddy3.htm

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Morocco might present autonomy plan Tuesday

According to Yahoo News, Morocco's planning on showing the Security Council the autonomy plan on Tuesday. If they do, how long will it take before a copy is available to the public?

Update: I took a tour of the United Nations today. In the Security Council chamber the tour guide said the UNSC broadcasts its proceedings live. In that case, we should be able to watch both the autonomy plan and the MINURSO renewal (coming in late April). Can you say liveblogging?

Friday, April 06, 2007

Moroccan American Center for Policy gangfight

As an astute anonymous commenter pointed out in earlier posts, the hapless henchmen at the Moroccan-American Center for Policy are employed by Edelman, a large public relations firm. Edelman seems happy to take Morocco's money in exchange for, but now someone is calling Edelman out for its complicity in the occupation of Western Sahara.

Edelman's eponymous head, Richard Edelman, has a blog. In late February, he wrote about Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and his fondness for dictatorship. Edelman worked with Mugabe in the 1980's. Here's what Edelman writes about the risks of working with tyrants.
The risk to business leaders doing business with politicians who promise that electoral freedoms will follow deregulation of markets and economic liberalization. Business needs to be careful not to become a pawn in a game that it cannot win. There are certain risks that are not worth taking and values not worth compromising.
Has Richard Edelman not heard of Morocco or the Moroccan American Center for Policy? Even if he hasn't, someone has. A commenter named Charles Liebling connected the dots:
I read with interest your blog about Robert Mugabe -- especially in view of Edelman's client relationship with the Moroccan-American Center for Policy (MACP), which is a registered agent of the Moroccan government. I find Edelman's collusion with the Moroccan government through MACP highly disturbing.
Liebling goes on to point out how hypocritical Edelman is being, lamenting business relationships with Robert Mugabe while at the same time misleading the world about human rights abuses in the Western Sahara. Peter Segall, Edelman's Washington general manager, responded and defended the MACP. Liebling shut him down, and pointed out something especially dishy: Western Sahara and Zimbabwe have the same dismal Freedom House ranking.

I haven't been able to find Liebling on the internet. If you know who he is, can you get us in touch? He's a sharp guy.

Trackback

Thursday, April 05, 2007

5 Things I've Learned from Western Sahara: Anatomy of a Stalemate

1. Secretary-General Perez "The guy before Bhoutros" de Cuellar was a meddler, and worse, he was an ineffective one. He was largely responsible for the 1991 Settlement Plan, but seems to have confused Algeria, Morocco, and Polisario about what was required. Erik Jensen thinks de Cuellar was hoping post-Gulf War goodwill would carry the plan through. As we know now, no dice.

2. "Superliar" Khalihenna Ould Rachid is a bad guy. Currently the head of CORCAS, he used to run PUNS, the pro-Spanish Sahrawi party the colonial government set up in preparation for decolonization. When Rachid realized PUNS would lose to Polisario, he "left for Morocco and declared allegiance to the king." I don't think someone who bent his knee before the Green March can claim to represent the Sahrawi people, many of whom chose flight to Algeria and 30 years of struggle to Moroccan sovereignty.

3. King Hassan II knew what was up. In a 1989 meeting with Polisario's number two, Bachir Mustapha Sayed, Hassan said, "Despite all the investments I have made in the territory, I haven't succeeded in winning your hearts."

4. Henry Kissinger is always up to something. When he wasn't misinterpreting the International Court of Justice ruling to Gerald Ford, Henry Kissinger wholeheartedly supported the Madrid Accords. On the topic, he said, the U.S. would "not allow another Angola on the east flank of the Atlantic ocean." Tremendous moves, Henry.

5. Erik Jensen isn't as exciting a writer as Toby Shelley.

Erik Jensen's Western Sahara: Anatomy of a Stalemate is my Easter break reading. It focuses on post-1991 referendum issues. By Monday I should be fat on registration knowledge, and capable of debating the merits of the 1974 Spanish census. I can't wait.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Let's use Web 2.0 for our own nefarious ends

I've been having a lot of fun lately with Scribd, a website that lets you upload PDFs for anyone to see. It's been called Youtube for PDFs, and like Youtube, it can distribute information that will help the Western Sahara.

Below I've put up a PDF of the 1991 Settlement Plan that I got from ARSO's website. ARSO has such a treasury of Western Sahara documents, it's sometimes hard to find what you want. With Scribd, there's no such problem.


Additionally, we can make sure that people interested in Morocco learn about the Western Sahara too. For example, the 1991 Settlement Plan is the second result if you search for Morocco.

Let's put up more PDFs about the Western Sahara so they can be easily accessed and earn the wide audience they deserve.

Australian makes documentary about the Western Sahara

Last February, a documentary about the Western Sahara got picked up at a film conference. This happy news comes courtesy of our pals Australian Western Sahara Association.

The film, The Wall of Shame, focus on the camps in Tindouf. I've written about its delightful website before, but now I feel even better about it because of two things: DOCUMART and
its producer's experience.

According to AWSA's post, which reads like a press release, the film picked up its producers at a documentary pitching free-for-all called Documart. To quote AWSA: "DOCUMART is the blood sport of documentary filmmaking." Sounds terrifying. Wall of Shame managed to fight its way through anyway.

Tom Zubrycki, the documentary's producer, is dynamite. He's produced and made a lot of movies, many of which sound interesting. He even made a film about the struggle for independence in East Timor, so he should be familiar with Western Sahara's parallel fight. I'm looking forward to seeing The Wall of Shame.

On an unrelated note, AWSA ought to open comments on posts again. You know who else doesn't allow comments on her blog? Michelle Malkin. And we all know that she's lame.

What's your favorite documentary about the Western Sahara? Post in the comments. You can also lament about Georgetown's basketball loss yesterday.