Monday, May 14, 2007

Sleeping under a Paper Moon: My letter in the Washington Times

The Washington Times has, for a currently unexplained reason, a love for all things Moroccan and occupation-y. It came as no surprise, then, when the paper that Reverend Moon built called on Polisario and Algeria to stop their silly self-determination racket and submit to autonomy.

The editorial praises the letter signed by congressmen supporting the autonomy plan, but failed to mention the anti-autonomy letter that also earned congressional support.

It also failed to mention Polisario's proposal, and ignored the negotiating trap Polisario would fall into by meeting Morocco about autonomy: "The Polisario now needs to be convinced that the interest of the Sahrawi people is served by negotiating an autonomy agreement, and Algeria needs to understand that its role in the Maghreb should be cooperative, not hegemonic."

It seems like invading another country is more of a grab at hegemony than supporting a government-in-exile and its accompanying refugees, but that's a trifling disagreement compared with the larger autonomy plan.

I'd had enough of the alliance between the cult of Greater Morocco and the cult of the Unification Church, so I sent a letter to the Times (CTRL-F Western Sahara to find it). I appreciate that they gave me a chance to support Western Sahara through their newspaper. Ameur Betka, the Algerian embassy's press officer in Washington, also had a letter about Western Sahara published. I liked his, but thought mine was punchier.

Frank "Slick" Ruddy also made an appearance in last week's Times. Check out their coverage of his appearance before Congress.

Incidentally, I got the "Paper Moon" joke from the reliably awesome Christopher Hitchens.


  1. Anonymous12:28 PM

    Saltana Khaya: a young Saharawi student, heavily injured during police intervention at Marrakech university on May 09 2007. She is in danger to loose an eye --> photos:

  2. Those are some rough pictures. How do people even get bruises like that?

  3. Anonymous1:22 PM

    Through rough beaten, Will.
    That's the medieval monarchy way of solencing people.

  4. Anonymous2:10 PM

    Hi Will

    I saw these photos
    This is can not happen in any « civilized » country.
    Something terrible

    I have read now this Student statement with other two saharwis students injured during Moroccan police intervention for now the statement is only in Arabic. May later will be translated in English by Arso :

    Any know if AI or HRW offices are in Morocco and if they are informed or not?


  5. Desertman,
    Amnesty definitely has offices in Morocco. I'm not sure if they have one in El Aiaun. Don't know about Human Rights Watch.

    Even if they did have offices in Western Sahara, I'm sure it'd be dangerous to deal with them, judging from how Morocco treats Sahrawis who seek out MINURSO.

  6. Laroussi6:46 PM

    There are no offices of international human rights organisations like Amnesty or Human Rights Watch in the occupied territories.

    Nor has any international media offices or staff stationed there - hence the poor media coverage of the conflict.

  7. Anonymous9:37 PM

    but you are saying that this violence happened in Marrakesh, not in Laayoune, so Amnesty, HRW should be able to cover it.

    The violence against students is terrible, but it should be noted that this violence should be treated as an excess by the police against civilians, which may happen in any country. Not to be excused, but also not to be seen as occupiers are systematically oppressing the people that they are occupying.

  8. Laroussi12:00 PM

    Anonymous (what is your name?):
    any protest by Saharawis in favour of their rights is met the same way by the Moroccan security forces - with excessive violence. independent of wheather this happens in Morocco or in Western Sahara.

    These are not single events of excessive force. It happens systematically. This kind of behevious is repeded over and over again, and unfortunately does not seem to be ending in a near future.

  9. Anonymous5:38 PM

    My name is Abdullah and I am pained that the security forces beat defenseless civilians. I wish that never took place. I call on the Moroccan authorities to stop beating demonstrators, whether they are jobless doctors in Rabat or Saharoui brethren in Laayoune.

  10. Laroussi1:24 PM

    It would indeed be very nice if Moroccan police stopped attacking peaceful demonstrators. Nothing however seems to indicate any change in this matter.

    Today there were new attacks on Saharawi students in Morocco, this time in Rabat:
    Moroccan police clash with students seeking independence for Western Sahara

  11. Laroussi7:46 PM

    Norwegian NGO:s urge Morocco to stop attacks on Saharawi students in an appeal to the Minister of the Interior Chakib Benmoussa.