Thursday, August 02, 2007

Sahrawi woman writes pro-integration blog

Usually the only Sahrawis who want to stay with Morocco we see are under the paternal guidance of the Moroccan-American Center for Policy. Not so with Chagaf Aziza, a young Sahrawi woman who has been active on this post and whose blog, Freedom Writer, is unequivocally supportive of the Moroccan annexation.

For example, in this post she calls out those of us who want a referendum:
It is sad too see people questioning our Identity and doubting who we are!
Why they can only see two neighborhoods in Lyoun protesting!
Why they refuse to feel the other many eyes in peace resting!
No one is allowed to take our Moroccan Identity or our Sahrawi lifestyle away.
No one is allowed to take my 25 years old way.
As always to people who say most Sahrawis want the occupation to continue, the response is "Then why not a referendum?"

Even more notably, she quoted my Georgetown Voice article about Western Sahara in this post. Unfortunately, she avoids my allegation of human rights abuses in occupied Western Sahara and instead writes about food aid corruption in Tindouf. Perhaps, but rice ending up in Mauritania doesn't soothe Amidayne El-Ouali's bruises.

I hope Chagaf Aziza will eventually decide to support a referendum. All Sahrawis deserve to participate in their country's fate, not just those whose choices were made reality by the invasion. Until then, she's an interesting, different voice in Western Sahara commentary.

43 comments:

  1. Anonymous2:43 PM

    Hi Will

    Nice post

    May Chagaff Aziza is from Dakhla . I hope her all best.
    If She is really from the known Chagaf saharawi family. Majority of this family support WS to be free and independent state and Aziza is only one the minority!

    Also don’t expect from the saharwis in the occupied territory to say PUBLICLY something else then what Aziza said….simply because they are under moroccan siege. All internet coffees /calls are checked and controlled by moroccan security in occupied WS.

    Concerning food corruption in Tindouf . NGOs have no evidence of that and they now controlling each USD going to Saharawis. But this is nothing comparing with the HUGE CORRUPTION in occupied WS. ( don’t compare it with corruption in Morocco !)
    Billions of USD are illegally exploited by Moroccan regime and people of CORCAS…

    Only Today. In Occupied Dakhla ( where Aziza is living ) a food corruption of Moroccan Army
    60 Billlions of moroccan money going to help saharawis ( to buy sugar, milk and tea for poor saharawis as they said!!) disappeared.
    This of course not moroccan money but a little part of money coming from illegally exploited WS resources.
    For more you can go to todays edition of morrocan newspaper Assabah: http://www.assabah.press.ma/

    We hope hear here from saharawi women who have another/different point of view than Aziza why not from Chagaf family !
    amyway. the important is that the saharawis only sahrawis can decide on their issue

    Regards
    Desertman

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous1:38 AM

    Cold War in Hot Sandshttp://mnweekly.rian.ru/world/20070802/55264989.html

    02/08/2007
    If you believe the Cold War is over, or if you think slavery is a thing of the past, think again. Even a cursory glance at Western Sahara, a land barely known to most people outside Africa, will prove you wrong on both points.

    In late June, American news media cautiously reported that Morocco and Western Sahara's Algerian-backed pro-independence movement, the Polisario Front, were poised to reach a compromise on self-rule as a result of two days' negotiations in the U.S.. There has been no breakthrough yet. But the two parties agreed to meet again during the second week of August in Manhasset, New York, according to Peter van Walsum, the personal envoy of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

    Neither colony nor sovereign nation

    Western Sahara has been a disputed territory for 32 years. Con­currently, it has been high on the decolonization agenda of the UN General Assembly for 42 years. The ongoing talks held in the Long Island beach town of Manhasset, 20 miles from New York City, are crucial because five years have passed since Morocco and the Polisario Front engaged in bilateral talks. Another two parties, Algeria and Mauritania, are observers to the talks, as recommended by the UN Security Council.

    Rabat is willing to grant a degree of autonomy to Western Sahara, but only if it remains subject to Morocco's sovereignty. Polisario's proposal calls for a referendum on independence, nothing short of it. Far as these standpoints may seem from each other, "one should give the upcoming round of negotiations the benefit of doubt if not belief", says an insider who asked not to be identified.

    "Inch'allah", as they say in that part of the world: God willing. Many international mediation attempts have been made, so far to no avail, last by former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker III (2003). However,
    a UN-brokered ceasefire has amazingly enough survived since 1991.

    A former colony of Spain, Western Sahara was abandoned by its metropolis in 1975, only to be handed over to Morocco and Mauritania, who shared control of the territory until 1979, when Mauritania ceded its control. Polisario, initially an anti-colonial movement fighting against Spanish rule, has come to be defined by its leaders' political ambitions, greed, and adherence to Soviet-style world view. Having to choose between two regional power players, Morocco and Algeria (Mauritania is too weak to be included in the equation), Polisario sided with the pro-communist regime of Algeria.

    Hostages of regional rivalry

    As Algeria gains in international status and regional influence, literally fueled by its oil and gas reserves, Polisario is growing increasingly defiant vis-a-vis Morocco's offer of autonomy.

    Morocco, on the other hand, is one of the West's few friends in the Arab world, thanks to the late King Hassan II and his successor son, King Muhammad VI, who is trying to modernize and democratize his country and is bidding for Morocco's membership of the European Union, its main economic and trading partner. Morocco has been given the status of a non-NATO ally by Washington, which has praised its support for the U.S.-led war on terror. After deadly suicide bombings in Casablanca in 2003, Morocco launched a crackdown on suspected Islamic militants.

    While Morocco and Algeria are vying for control over Western Sahara with its hypothetically rich offshore oil and gas resources, the population of Western Sahara lives in dire poverty and widespread illiteracy. A large part of the Sahrawis, the indigenous people of Western Sahara, is made up by the inhabitants of overcrowded refugee camps on the Algerian territory, run by Polisario.

    Recently, two Australian journalists, Daniel Fallshaw and Violeta Ayala, went to the Sahrawi refugee camps in the Algerian desert. What they discovered is a society where slavery still exists.

    Will anybody care?

    According to the journalists, slavery "seems to be an institution within their society", where black women are sexually abused by their ‘white' Moor masters and don't have the right to get married without their masters' consent; where black people work for their masters for free; and where slaves are passed from family to family.

    "It is estimated that there are several thousands of black Sahrawi slaves who live in refugee camps in Algeria", Fallshaw and Ayala assert in an interview with NTV America. "Is it possible that Polisario, a liberation movement, seems to condone this state of affairs?"

    The journalists told the press freedom organization, Reporters without Borders, that Polisario authorities didn't really appreciate their investigative work, to put it mildly. According to a statement issued by Reporters Without Borders, they "were detained by Polisario Front security officials on May 2, 2007, and their mobile phone was confiscated. They were then taken to an office used by the security services, where they were held for about five hours. After UN officials intervened, the journalists were able to leave the Rabouni camp and go to Tindouf, from where they caught a plane to France a few days later."

    "The fact that they are fighting for their independence does not mean that Polisario's leaders can allow themselves to commit such human rights violations," Ms. Ayala said.
    "It is our duty as journalists to denounce such practices. We originally went there to work on the problem of separated families. But during our stay, we witnessed outrageous scenes of slavery."

    Internationally, major world powers, such as the U.S. and Russia, have taken neutral stands towards each side's claims and have pressed both parties to agree on a peaceful resolution. Both Morocco and Polisario have sought to boost their claims by accumulating formal recognition, largely from minor states. The issue of alleged slavery has never been raised by any nation.

    By Ilia Baranikas

    US Correspondent

    The Moscow News

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous3:17 PM

    More harm than good
    Stephen Zunes

    Morocco's proposed plan to grant Western Sahara autonomy is a poor solution to Africa's forgotten conflict.18 - 07 - 2007


    The failure of the Kingdom of Morocco and the Polisario Front to agree on the modalities of the long-planned United Nations-sponsored referendum on the fate of Western Sahara, combined with a growing nonviolent resistance campaign in the occupied territory against Morocco's 31-year occupation, has led Morocco to propose granting the former Spanish colony special autonomous status within the kingdom.Stephen Zunes is a professor of Politics at the University of San Francisco and the Middle East / North Africa editor for Foreign Policy in Focus.

    He is the author of Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism (Zed Press, 2003) and the forthcoming book, co-authored by Jacob Mundy Western Sahara: Nationalist and Conflict Irresolution in Northwest Africa (Syracuse University Press).

    Friends in big places

    The plan has received the enthusiastic support of the American and French governments as a reasonable compromise to the abiding conflict, which has caused enormous suffering to the Sahrawi people - over half of whom live in refugee camps in neighboring Algeria - and has seriously crippled efforts to advance badly-needed economic and strategic cooperation between Morocco and Algeria as both face the challenges of struggling economies and rising Islamist militancy.

    Morocco has failed to live up to the terms of the 1991 UN-supervised ceasefire agreement with the Polisario - a secular nationalist movement that waged an armed struggle against Spanish colonialists and later against Moroccan occupiers - which called for a free and fair referendum on the fate of the territory. A series of resolutions by the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly, as well as a landmark 1975 advisory ruling by the International Court of Justice, have reaffirmed the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination.

    However, France and the United States have blocked the Security Council from enforcing its resolutions as part of their perceived need to strengthen the Moroccan monarchy, seen as a bulwark against Communism and radical Arab nationalism during the Cold War and, in more recent years, an important ally in the struggle against Islamist extremism.

    Creating more problems than it solves

    Unfortunately, the Moroccan plan for autonomy falls well short of what is required in bringing about a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Moreover, it seeks to set a dangerous precedent which threatens the very foundation of the post-World War II international legal system.

    Recently on toD on self-determination and referenda:

    Abhoud Syed M. Lingga - "Determining factors", 13 July, 2007To begin with, the proposal is based on the assumption that Western Sahara is part of Morocco, a contention that has long been rejected by the United Nations, the World Court, the African Union and a broad consensus of international legal opinion. To accept Morocco's autonomy plan would mean that, for the first time since the founding of the United Nations and the ratification of the UN Charter more than sixty years ago, the international community would be endorsing the expansion of a country's territory by military force, thereby establishing a very dangerous and destabilising precedent.

    If the people of Western Sahara accepted an autonomy agreement over independence as a result of a free and fair referendum, it would constitute a legitimate act of self-determination. However, Morocco has explicitly stated that its autonomy proposal "rules out, by definition, the possibility for the independence option to be submitted" to the people of Western Sahara, the vast majority of whom - according to knowledgeable international observers - favour outright independence.

    A history of failure

    Even if one takes a dismissive attitude toward international law, there are a number of practical concerns regarding the Moroccan proposal as well:

    One is that the history of respect for regional autonomy on the part of centralised authoritarian states is quite poor, and has often led to violent conflict. In 1952, the United Nations granted the British protectorate (and former Italian colony) of Eritrea autonomous, federated status within Ethiopia. In 1961, however, the Ethiopian emperor revoked Eritrea's autonomous status, annexing it as his empire's fourteenth province, resulting in a bloody 30-year struggle for independence and subsequent border wars between the two countries.

    Similarly, the decision of Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic to revoke the autonomous status of Kosovo in 1989 led to a decade of repression and resistance, culminating in the NATO war against Yugoslavia in 1999.

    Based upon Morocco's habit of breaking its promises to the international community regarding the UN-mandated referendum for Western Sahara and related obligations based on the cease fire agreement sixteen years ago, there is little to inspire confidence that Morocco would live up to its promises to provide genuine autonomy for Western Sahara.

    Pyrrhic autonomy

    Indeed, a close reading of the proposal raises questions as to how much autonomy is even being offered. Important matters such as control of Western Sahara's natural resources and law enforcement (beyond local jurisdictions) remain ambiguous.

    In addition, the proposal appears to indicate that all powers not specifically vested in the autonomous region would remain with the Kingdom. Indeed, since the king of Morocco is ultimately invested with absolute authority under Article 19 of the Moroccan Constitution, the autonomy proposal's insistence that the Moroccan state "will keep its powers in the royal domains, especially with respect to defense, external relations and the constitutional and religious prerogatives of His Majesty the King", appears to afford the monarch considerable latitude of interpretation.

    There appears to be a growing consensus within the international community that some sort of compromise, or "third way" between independence and integration, is necessary to resolve the conflict, and that a "winner take all" approach is unworkable.

    While encouraging such compromise and trying to find a win/win situation is certainly the preferable way to pursue a lasting peaceful settlement regarding ethnic conflict and many international disputes, Western Sahara is a clear-cut case of self-determination for a people struggling against foreign military occupation. The Polisario Front has already offered guarantees to protect Moroccan strategic and economic interests if allowed full independence. To insist that the people of Western Sahara must give up their moral and legal right to genuine self-determination, then, is not a recipe for conflict resolution, but for far more serious conflict in the future.

    As a result of the French and American veto threats, the UN Security Council has failed to place the Western Sahara issue under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which would give the international community the power to impose sanctions or other appropriate leverage to force the Moroccan regime to abide by the UN mandates it has up until now disregarded. Polisario's unwillingness to compromise should not be seen as the major obstacle impeding the resolution of the conflict.

    In the comparable case of East Timor, it was only after human rights organizations, church groups and other activists in the United States, Great Britain and Australia successfully pressured their governments to end their support for Indonesia's occupation that the Jakarta regime was finally willing to offer a referendum which gave the East Timorese their right to self-determination. It may take similar grassroots campaigns in Europe and North America to ensure that western powers live up to their international legal obligations and pressure Morocco to allow the people of Western Sahara to determine their own destiny.Average

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous8:17 PM

    02/08/2007
    If you believe the Cold War is over, or if you think slavery is a thing of the past, think again. Even a cursory glance at Western Sahara, a land barely known to most people outside Africa, will prove you wrong on both points.

    In late June, American news media cautiously reported that Morocco and Western Sahara's Algerian-backed pro-independence movement, the Polisario Front, were poised to reach a compromise on self-rule as a result of two days' negotiations in the U.S.. There has been no breakthrough yet. But the two parties agreed to meet again during the second week of August in Manhasset, New York, according to Peter van Walsum, the personal envoy of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

    Neither colony nor sovereign nation

    Western Sahara has been a disputed territory for 32 years. Con­currently, it has been high on the decolonization agenda of the UN General Assembly for 42 years. The ongoing talks held in the Long Island beach town of Manhasset, 20 miles from New York City, are crucial because five years have passed since Morocco and the Polisario Front engaged in bilateral talks. Another two parties, Algeria and Mauritania, are observers to the talks, as recommended by the UN Security Council.

    Rabat is willing to grant a degree of autonomy to Western Sahara, but only if it remains subject to Morocco's sovereignty. Polisario's proposal calls for a referendum on independence, nothing short of it. Far as these standpoints may seem from each other, "one should give the upcoming round of negotiations the benefit of doubt if not belief", says an insider who asked not to be identified.

    "Inch'allah", as they say in that part of the world: God willing. Many international mediation attempts have been made, so far to no avail, last by former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker III (2003). However,
    a UN-brokered ceasefire has amazingly enough survived since 1991.

    A former colony of Spain, Western Sahara was abandoned by its metropolis in 1975, only to be handed over to Morocco and Mauritania, who shared control of the territory until 1979, when Mauritania ceded its control. Polisario, initially an anti-colonial movement fighting against Spanish rule, has come to be defined by its leaders' political ambitions, greed, and adherence to Soviet-style world view. Having to choose between two regional power players, Morocco and Algeria (Mauritania is too weak to be included in the equation), Polisario sided with the pro-communist regime of Algeria.

    Hostages of regional rivalry

    As Algeria gains in international status and regional influence, literally fueled by its oil and gas reserves, Polisario is growing increasingly defiant vis-a-vis Morocco's offer of autonomy.

    Morocco, on the other hand, is one of the West's few friends in the Arab world, thanks to the late King Hassan II and his successor son, King Muhammad VI, who is trying to modernize and democratize his country and is bidding for Morocco's membership of the European Union, its main economic and trading partner. Morocco has been given the status of a non-NATO ally by Washington, which has praised its support for the U.S.-led war on terror. After deadly suicide bombings in Casablanca in 2003, Morocco launched a crackdown on suspected Islamic militants.

    While Morocco and Algeria are vying for control over Western Sahara with its hypothetically rich offshore oil and gas resources, the population of Western Sahara lives in dire poverty and widespread illiteracy. A large part of the Sahrawis, the indigenous people of Western Sahara, is made up by the inhabitants of overcrowded refugee camps on the Algerian territory, run by Polisario.

    Recently, two Australian journalists, Daniel Fallshaw and Violeta Ayala, went to the Sahrawi refugee camps in the Algerian desert. What they discovered is a society where slavery still exists.

    Will anybody care?

    According to the journalists, slavery "seems to be an institution within their society", where black women are sexually abused by their ‘white' Moor masters and don't have the right to get married without their masters' consent; where black people work for their masters for free; and where slaves are passed from family to family.

    "It is estimated that there are several thousands of black Sahrawi slaves who live in refugee camps in Algeria", Fallshaw and Ayala assert in an interview with NTV America. "Is it possible that Polisario, a liberation movement, seems to condone this state of affairs?"

    The journalists told the press freedom organization, Reporters without Borders, that Polisario authorities didn't really appreciate their investigative work, to put it mildly. According to a statement issued by Reporters Without Borders, they "were detained by Polisario Front security officials on May 2, 2007, and their mobile phone was confiscated. They were then taken to an office used by the security services, where they were held for about five hours. After UN officials intervened, the journalists were able to leave the Rabouni camp and go to Tindouf, from where they caught a plane to France a few days later."

    "The fact that they are fighting for their independence does not mean that Polisario's leaders can allow themselves to commit such human rights violations," Ms. Ayala said.
    "It is our duty as journalists to denounce such practices. We originally went there to work on the problem of separated families. But during our stay, we witnessed outrageous scenes of slavery."

    Internationally, major world powers, such as the U.S. and Russia, have taken neutral stands towards each side's claims and have pressed both parties to agree on a peaceful resolution. Both Morocco and Polisario have sought to boost their claims by accumulating formal recognition, largely from minor states. The issue of alleged slavery has never been raised by any nation.

    By Ilia Baranikas

    US Correspondent

    The Moscow News

    ReplyDelete
  5. Saharawifil10:42 AM

    How can we be sure that the so-called Aziza is a Saharawi? Can we see her picture?
    There is a Saharawi girl called Aghaila who has a blog and lives in America but she has shown her photo (a picture). Why doesn't Aziza do the same if she is really a Saharawi?
    Isn't the Moroccan secret service just trying to copy Aghaila's idea and counteract the pro indpendence Saharawis?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous1:20 PM

    Good question, sahrawifil, but does it mean that bloggers must now show their pictures in order to be considered trustworthy ? If so, then we should consider ARSO, Sahara-Info, Sahara-views, etc. as unreliable too as their authors doesn't show their pictures.
    On the other hand, isn't anonymity a good advantge of the Internet as it protects people from being harassed and persecuted because of their opinions ?
    Waiting for your picture, thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous6:38 PM

    If aziza chagaf is aziza chagaf from dakhla Iknow she exist iam sahrawi I hate morocco but i respect her she do many good thinhs for people.I suport morocco if she want me to do.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The Anonymous "Anonymous"7:02 PM

    "I hate morocco but i respect her"..."I suport morocco if she want me to do".

    Someone please analyze that! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  9. saharawifil9:29 PM

    We have seen the pictures of Will and that of Aghaila among the bloggers. They are not a ashamed or shy. They have nothing to fear. They also look beatiful which is a reflection of their inner beauty and the nobelty of their souls.
    We have also seen the picture of Aminatou Haidar, Rabab Amidane, Sultana Khaya, Tamek... We have also seen the pictures of some pro Moroccan Saharawis.

    I have my reservations about this so called "Aziza" as many others would because of the history of Moroccan trickery and the use of its secret service appartus but at the same time I am willing to be convinced if "Aziza" could provide some proof or a picture.

    I believe that the fact that some pro Moroccan commentators have quickly come to defend their "Aziza" is an indication that I might have hit a sensetive cord.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous10:09 PM

    Sahrawifil, still you didn't answer my questions. I wasn't talking about Haidar, Tamek or other militants, but about bloggers. I don't think a blogger should post his or her picture in order to be considered trustworthy. It is true that anyone can pretend to be someone else on the Internet, but that's what the net is.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous4:20 AM

    Sahrawifil

    you are doing well. go ahead and dont care about what "others"saying

    also dont believe in what called "Aziza"
    Saharawis called " Azayza" in hassanya dialect. not Aziza like in the other countries...amng them morocco
    Also we beleive when we wil see it in MELHFA. and how she will dresss it. Saharawi women can see immidiatly the different if she is real Aziza or Azayza !!!!

    regards to all moroccans also who have courage to write here

    Saharawiya

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi all. Thanks for to those who posted articles--I'll be writing about the Zunes later today.

    Nobility of my soul aside, I don't think it's necessary for bloggers to post pictures. Pictures themselves are no proof-it wouldn't take much time to go on Myspace or Facebook and nab some pictures of a Sahrawi.

    That said, Chagaf actually did have pictures of herself up previously, but has since taken them down. I haven't kept up my Sahrawi genealogy studies, but she looked Arab-ish to me.

    Finally, I don't know the minds of Sahrawis, but the fact that Morocco won't hold a referendum suggests to me that they lean towards independence. Still, I'm all for spirited debate and Chagaf Aziza contributes to it. That's why I hope she continues to blog, and that's why I linked to her so the rest of you can read what she thinks about Western Sahara.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I propose a "Heroes of the Western Sahara" calendar. Will can be Ms. July. We'll have to get him a wax and a tan, the latter of which might just be impossible.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I think that could be arranged. Perhaps I could sprawl across a camel?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thank you Will. I have been looking at the comments with a very sad heart, I could not believe a human being can be considered no one...no thing... can be easily turned to a game and his or her existence will be denied with a very cold blood!!!!. Even my name ''Aziza'' considered as a Non- Sahrawis name Will!!! How cruel is that!!!

    I felt hurt and disrespected. But I will never run to defend myself in front of any Sahrawi. When I post, I post Under my name, free and proud I never hide behind any thing because Iam a free girl, a daughter of a free man who taught me to be afraid only from God and no one but God!

    That is my blog and I do not need an approval from any one. I am free to write what I want and speak up the voice of my town. I will be posting in my blog as long as I am alive because when I believe in some thing I die with it.

    Will, I am inviting you to come to visit Dakhla to see by your eyes who is Aziza Chagaf, to see people from my town, people who only carry love and respect for their beloved ones in the camps, people who can not express prejudices and hater openly without being sure of what they are saying. Any time you are welcome to my town Will.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Well, goodness me, it looks as the battle for identity has already began.

    First, I did not intend to write in this blog (nothing against you, Will. I promise:) until a friend told me about this heated exchange.
    Fellas, take it easy and grow up. Aziza IS as Saharawi as anyone can be, so chill out ! She may have opinions that some do not like or consider controversial but that doesn't mean she's not genuine.

    She is who she says she is. I say this "con conocimiento de causa" for those of you who like it in Spanish. Aziza es Saharaui de pura cepa tanto como Agaila lo es.
    Se llama Aziza y no Aizaiza, que es un diminutivo irrespectuoso.
    Those of you who disagree with her can express their views with no need to attempt to portray her as someone else or to influence her reputation.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Laroussi3:11 PM

    That is my blog and I do not need an approval from any one. I am free to write what I want and speak up the voice of my town. I will be posting in my blog as long as I am alive because when I believe in some thing I die with it.

    Of course you are free to write what you like, as long as you stay outside the occupied part of Western Sahara or Morocco, or other nasty repressive places in the world. Or if you support M VI.

    I would not recommend you to violate Moroccan law given the well known reactions of Moroccan authorities. As you might have read, another Saharawi woman lost her baby the other week due to beatings from Moroccan security services. Or maybe you are not aware about this reality?

    Or see what happened to the Moroccan publicist Ahmed Reda Benchemsi. He was arrested by police for questioning the Moroccan monarchy. Vaya liberdad de expression.

    Given the lack of freedom of speech, particularly for all those Saharawis who favor a referendum (the vast majority), don't you think it is a bit presumptuous to say that you speak "the voice of your town"?

    Any Saharawi living in Dakhla or elsewhere in the occupied part of Western Sahara, who spoke up against the occupation in a personal blog would most likely end up in jail or worse.

    Will, I am inviting you to come to visit Dakhla to see by your eyes who is Aziza Chagaf, to see people from my town, people who only carry love and respect for their beloved ones in the camps, people who can not express prejudices and hater openly without being sure of what they are saying. Any time you are welcome to my town Will.

    It would be fun if Will would visit Dakhla. However, considering the current situation with the occupation and continuous repression and all, don't bet any money on that Will will be allowed to enter the territory.

    But hey, Will! Why not give it a try? ;-) Maybe Aziza even could take you down for a tour to the camps of the false Saharawis by the sea? That would be interesting...

    (with this post Aziza, you mean that you now are in Dakhla?)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Good afternoon Laroussi,

    Iam in Manhattan right now, I have been working on some Ph.d issues. I will heading back to Dakhla soon.

    Regards,

    ReplyDelete
  19. Trust Khatry Beirouk to be the voice of reason. He said what I tried to, but better. Self-determination means all Sahrawis get to choose, including those who support integration. That said, I do find it discomforting that Chagaf doesn't mention human rights abuses in Western Sahara.

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  20. Laroussi4:40 PM

    Aziza, I wonder how long you have been away from Dakhla. If you working on your Ph.d you must have been in the USA quite some time, or have you just recently left Western Sahara?

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hello Will,

    I am just not a propagandist who is hunting any opportunity to praise or beat up any one 's deeds. Being an optimist person, a builder requires from me patient, and a pragmatic thinking Will. This year over 50 of my cousins finished their school and they are heading to start their career life successfully . Do I need to mention that or write about them, Of course not. Same for me my other beloved ones who can be part of a violent event.

    Regards,

    ReplyDelete
  22. punchman5:39 PM

    Help Matala Magluf a slave in captivity 5 Signatures

    Created by Anonymous on Jul 06, 2007
    Category: Civil Rights
    Region: GLOBAL
    Target: Geneva - Switzerland
    Description/History:
    My name is Matala Magluf X. I am a slave, my mother is a slave, my sisters are slaves, my entire family are slaves in Tindouf ( Algeria ) camps . I am asking the international community to help us. We don't care about the political situation anymore. We have the right to be free.


    BORN ON CAPTIVITY

    Daniel Fallshaw and Violeta Ayala go to the Saharawi refugee camps in the Algerian desert to make a film about the human price of the long lasting political conflict in the Western Sahara , and find a society where slavery still exists.
    Fetim was three when the western conflict start with Deido a woman who wasn't her real mother. Together with ''160,000'' Saharawi people they reached the Algerian desert and became refugees. Ambarka, Fetim's mother, was left behind with the remaining 200,000. In less than 48 hours their entire nation was divided.
    Now thirty years later Fetim, a mother herself, meets her own mother through a UN sponsored family reunion program, which allows refugees living on both sides of the wall to meet for a total of only five days.
    A week before the reunion Leil, Fetim's oldest daughter, reveals that black people are still slaves in the camps, admitting that her own cousins are slaves. Their master doesn't want to liberate them and refuses to allow them to get married. Matala, their brother, a strong man with a lot of charisma, works in construction like most of black men within the camps. He is unwilling to accept his destiny as a slave and wants to change the situation for him and his sisters. He is very angry hat Polisario, the Saharawi political representatives, have allowed this to be unacknowledged for so long.
    On the eve of the reunion everyone is excited and the preparations begin in earnest. The camel has to be bought and killed. Someone has to go to get drinks and other food. The tent has to be organised. There is a lot to do and the tension within the house is rising by the minute. Deido, the `white' woman who took Fetim to the refugee camps 30 years earlier, starts to become very controlling and uneasy. Fetim is caught between the idea of having a real mother and her role in Deido's family.
    Over the next few days the black Saharawis grow in confidence and begin to believe they can speak out how slavery has become an institution within their society – in particular how black women are sexually abused by their `white' Moor masters, how they don't have the right to get married without the masters consent, how many black people work for their masters for free, and how slaves are passed from family to family.
    It's estimated there are several thousands of black Saharawi slaves who live in the refugee camps in Algeria . They live trapped between their country's fight for independence and their own right to freedom. Is it possible that a liberation movement the Polisario seems to condone this state of affairs?
    It's the day of the arrival of Fetim's mother, Ambarka. Fetim works until the last moment while Deido and her daughters are dressing themselves for the big occasion. In working so hard Fetim has forgotten to invite her close friends, Deido hasn't forgotten to invite hers. The reunion is chaotic. The tent is filled with `white' women, and there is a party atmosphere all around. Deido is the first to push to hug Ambarka, who is looking for her own daughter. Once inside Deido's tent Ambarka faints. However nobody seems to care about her except Fatma, Fetim's sister. The racial divide in the family – implicit up to now, suddenly becomes manifest
    It's at this point that the filmmakers become unmasked. The very process of discovering the presence of slavery in the camps suddenly makes their personal safety problematic. Their hosts, the Polisario officials, become aware that they are capturing material that is politically sensitive. They detain the filmmakers and interrogate them. The UN intervenes and provides them with a safe passage out of the country.
    The Wall of Shame unfolds in one of the longest running refugee camps in the world, sustained by hundreds of aid organizations, accessible to the world's press and monitored by the UN. Ironically slavery remains an institution in this supposedly socialist society, hidden behind the word `culture'.
    "Evidently, we are fully committed to help with all our will and belief this enslaved human community and are calling on the international community to join our struggle to free all these children, women and men. They are now concious that the world outside the Tindouf ( Algeria ) camps where they are parked in worse conditions than their masters' camel herds, masters who themselves and their families, nomads since immemorial times, are prisoners for the last 35 years, forced to sedentarization by the POLISARIO leadership.
    The leaders of this so called "liberation movement" who claim their attachment to democratic principles to gain the sympathy and support of the world community, concentrate all power without sharing and alternance since 1974. They have been skillful enough to conceal their true principles and practices, slavery, totalitarism and systematic deceipt, from the, benevolent (?), scrutiny of their host country Algeria and the United Nations, and the donor community. This is how they justify their claim that there is a largepopulation of free people, a real nation, that took refuge in camps and whose determination to "return" to their land (half of the Sahara has always been their land!) is so indomitable that they are ready to remain in camps another 30 years…which, translated means another 30 years of black slaves serving their white masters, thenmselves prisoners of a handful of immoral dictators

    keep painting a rosy picture for polisario

    ReplyDelete
  23. I have been in dakhla since last May Laroussi. I went back right after I finished my both MBA and OPT. I applied for a scholarship for my Ph.D. I was planning to start but I decided to wait some more years and do it in France instead. I am done with those issues, right now I am getting ready to go back home.

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  24. saharawifil7:41 PM

    Will, could you please ask the Moroccans to stop the repeated posting of propaganda articles. Here is a place for comments on your postings/article.

    I am happy but sad at the same time. Happy because Aziza is a real Saharawi girl who is well educated. But I'm really sad that she's supporting the Moroccan illegal and brutal occupation of her people and country.
    How could a woman who should be full of love and care for her own kind side with their enemy? In my opinion she's either naïve, not aware of what is going in the occupied areas or simply selfish.
    However, we're hoping that Aziza will one day find the right path which leads to emancipation and enlightenment. Aziza needs to realise that no matter what happens she is always a Saharawi, her future, well-being, dignity and honour are intrinsically linked to the freedom of her people and independence of her homeland.
    She seems to be proud of her father and family but she needs to know that her father and family members would never have been willing to kiss the hand of anyone or accept to be under the rule of strangers. Saharawis are proud, courageous and will always be free despite all the odds.
    Aziza as an educated Saharawi girl could contribute and play an important role in the future of an independent Western Sahara (SADR). We hope she won’t disappoint all of us.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Laroussi7:51 PM

    I am not sure what Daniel Fallshaw and Violeta Ayala saw, or thought they saw, in the refugee camps. But this is to my knowledge the first time in over 30 years that someone has spoken about slaves in the camps which makes me somewhat skeptical to say the least.

    Neither UNHCR, WFP, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch or any other NGO has ever spoken about slavery among the Saharawi. In Mauritania, yes, but never in the refugee camps.

    It would be well however for Polisario if they did comment more openly on what really happened.

    But Punchman seems (as always?) to miss the larger picture and point. Why are there refugee camps to start with? Answer: Moroccan and Mauritanian invaded Western Sahara.

    Why are they still there in the terrible stone and salt desert in Algeria? Answer: Morocco now occupies two thirds of Western Sahara and refuses to allow a referendum on the future status of the territory.

    Hold the referendum, respect the outcome and there will be no more need for any refugee camps, or tens of thousands of Moroccan security forces in Western Sahara for that matter.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Laroussi8:00 PM

    Here is by the way a news story about another young Saharawi woman, Rabab Amidane.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Anonymous4:10 AM

    Hi Will

    When Aziza speaking here it look that she is educated in Free country and she is now posting from free country. So now no surprises !
    In the beginning we don’t believe really that she can write such opinions from Dakhla without consequences….
    Anyway. Since she is preparing her PHD I advise her not to go back to morocco. Why? Now in Smara in the occupied WS and in morocco itself a lot of PH holders are protesting because they are un-employers . some of them have even more than one diplomat

    So maybe better for Aziza to struggle for free WS then she have a huge chance to have an ministerial job / or Secretary of WS state why not?
    Wish you the best

    Regards
    Desertman

    ReplyDelete
  28. Questions and comments to Sahrawifil:
    1. "we're hoping that Aziza will one day find the right path which leads to emancipation and enlightenment". Obviously you mean that Aziza is in the wrong path. the principle of referendum is based on the idea that they are people supporting independance and others who support integration with Morocco or neutral. Not people who are on the right path and others who are on the wrong one.

    2. "no matter what happens she is always a Saharawi, her future, well-being, dignity and honour are intrinsically linked to the freedom of her people and independence of her homeland". You mean that Sahrawis living in Mauritania and Algeria have no honour and no dignity because they are living in these countries with other races. Racist opinion !

    3. My comment on your comment: if you think that the sahrawis in Morocco should have there own clean state of sahrawi race, why don't you ask sahrawis in Mauritania and Algeria to do the same ? I hope you don't think they aren't pure sahrawis !

    4. I support the right of people to be independant if they want to if their revendication is based on strong resons, but not race. A state based on race is what we call a racist state.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Solid points, Studentintheus. I myself am troubled by the vague racial undertones of self-determination. However, the concept itself is solid as long as it's not taken to extremes.

    As far as why Sahrawis in Mauritania and Algeria don't deserve their own state, it's simple: the Sahrawi portions of Algeria and Mauritania were never their own colonies. Flawed though the African Union's insistence on colonial borders may be, it remains a critical organizing principle for African politics. Morocco's decision to ignore that rule for expediency is dangerous, and has earned it deserved enmity in Africa.

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  30. Boys, I'd like to have it taken to the record that Mauritania IS an independent state (to the chagrin of some).

    ReplyDelete
  31. tangerino5:06 PM

    The leaders of this so called "liberation movement" who claim their attachment to democratic principles to gain the sympathy and support of the world community, concentrate all power without sharing and alternance since 1974. They have been skillful enough to conceal their true principles and practices, slavery, totalitarism and systematic deceipt, from the, benevolent (?), scrutiny of their host country Algeria

    this is news to me i thought only Mauritania had this problem of slavery{rek}
    and what we have , we have a bunch of commenter glorifying slavery and maltreatment of thousands of innocent people because of the color of their skin

    now to laroussi as usual no substance no proof just a lot of{zunes,ian williams,rabab amdane, randa farah and the list goes on and nobody knows who the heck are they
    sahrawifil what make you think y are what y are from your comment you sounds like an algerian agent
    and who knows y could be a sahrawigarcon
    studentintheus kind of nostalgia ha i've nothing to say to you kind your comment didn't click ha
    {desertman you shouuuuld go back to college you may learn something

    stop slave trade and free the hostages in the camps

    ReplyDelete
  32. Anonymous6:13 PM

    Tangerina, what about the slavery that you are living in your Morocco. Instead of crying about few cases of slavery in the camps, why don't you discuss how the Moroccan officials bend in front of the king and some of them even get on their knees in front of him. I know that muslims believe in one God, Allah, and that He is the only one to be worshiped. Even your constitution states that the King is sacred. Aren't you ashamed to talk about hostages in the camps while you have to bend over in front of the king. At least refugees shake hands with Mohamed Abdelaziz, not like you who have to kiss the hands of your leader, otherwise you will get thrown in jail and live in misery. The bottom line, stop talking about democracy and slavery...or no, start talking about slavery, as a hint, what about those black people that serve in the royal palace ? next time I hear that slavery thing from you, I crash you with arguments you never dreamed of. Say hello to your boss.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Laroussi6:17 PM

    Tangerino, you accuse me of postings without substance, just a list of names that no one knows who they are.

    Well Mr T, there is a wonderful little tool free of charge on Internet called Google. If you use it you will find quite a lot of information on who Stephen Zunes, Ian Williams, Rabab Amdane and Randa Farah are.

    I'm sure you'll find Google helpful in finding information about other people as well, and to check weather there is any substance to what I write.

    If the sites you find are blocked by Moroccan authorities you can try to access them through Proxy.org.

    ReplyDelete
  34. saharawifil7:52 PM

    StudentintheUS,

    You misunderstood my point!

    Racism has mainly been used against the Saharawis by the Spanish who used to call them "Moros" and then by the Moroccans who call them "Araibat", "Akhout Ajmalhoum" and "emdeikhna"...etc

    Moroccans look down on Saharawis thinking of them as uncivilised and just a bunch of nomads.

    Anyway, my point is that the opportunities or "respect" given to the Saharawis by the Moroccan regime is due to the desire by the latter to win the hearts and minds of the Saharawi population and obtain the support of some Saharawis to use them against the Polisario and the pro-independence large section of the Saharawi population.

    The "love" by the Moroccan Makhzen of the Saharawi people is not genuine or stemming from the heart of that emotionless beast. Otherwise how could anyone explain the bombardments of the Saharawis by Moroccan air force in 1975/1976 using Napalm, cluster and phosphorous bombs???

    How could anyone explain the disappearance of hundreds of Saharawis including whole families, old men, women and children. Those who survived spend around 16 and 17 years in dungeons and secret detentions?

    One wonders if Aziza was an active pro-Saharawi independence supporter what would have happened to her.

    How could anyone explain the 16 years long war waged against the Saharawis in which all type of armaments were used. Every Saharawi family has lost someone in that war inclduing the brave Chegaf and Beirouk families.

    We've not lost hope that Aziza will realise that her interest and that of her family and people is in having a free and independent state. Bassri once said that you can never know what the Saharawis intend until they become crazy or senile! This is due to his experience in dealing with the old tribe chiefs who used to tell him that they support Morocco until they get older and lose it, then they show their real colours and tell him that they want independence and that they support Polisario!

    Even Khalihena Ould Rachid is likely to change his position and support independence after all he has already done that several times.

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  35. I heard Stephen Zunes's support for Morocco's occupation could cure cancer. Too bad he never supports Morocco's occupation.

    ReplyDelete
  36. tangerino5:15 PM

    ster anonymous you're a tough geezer
    sadly you sounds like you have a rabies and it very contagious you shouuld check yourself because you barking too load and if you are in England that's bad news cause once they found out you have the virus first thing they do they inject a chip with your serial number and they put you in quarantine god knows for how long and if polisario didn't collect you then they will put you to sleep
    i wasn't talking about democracy i was talking about slavery cause nowadays the word democracy been used and abused by every body been used to wage wars , regime change , sanctions and so on even the polisario leader who i forgot his name who has been in power for the last 320 years sorry my mistake i put zero next to the number 2 damn it cause the delete button in my keyboard is not working
    as for the king of morocco i really don't know and i don't care i mean if you wanna kiss his hand you're welcome any time especially night time
    anyway Mr anonymous at least you should have a name cause there's too many anonymous
    how about {{{chavster}}} it suit you
    stop slave trade and free the hostages in the camps
    I'm so scared you gonna crash me with your argument

    ReplyDelete
  37. Tangerino, there are a lot of Moroccan integrationists who comment and manage to be both polite and coherent. Please do the same.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Anonymous8:14 PM

    differences in views and positions but what matters is to end the suffering.every one of us should push all parties to engage in a negotiating process.

    Another women from the sahara be it western or just :Sahara.

    ReplyDelete
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