Friday, October 26, 2007

Celebrate Koalagate V-Day

Our long international nightmare is over. A week ago today the Together Foundation started to collapse when two members of its Board of Advisors disappeared from their website. Later that day, they were all gone. Now Together Foundation says it's not even sure there is slavery.

I talked to Philippe Elghouayel of the Together Foundation (and formerly the United Nations Development Program and MINURSO) Wednesday and asked him what happened to his board of advisors: "You scared them off." He claims a certain director of the Maghreb Center knew he was on the board of advisors and anything he says to the contrary is just blustering.

Also interesting, Philippe said the Together Foundation is working with Polisario to go to the camps and check out slavery claims because even the Together Foundation now doubts Fallshaw and Ayala. From the website:
Together Foundation had a meeting with a senior official of Frente Polisario in New York. It was a constructive discussion which concluded in the agreement in principle that the Foundation will put together a media team to visit the Tindouf refugee camps. Polisario will host the team and let them explore the camps freely and come up with their independent findings and conclusions. Watch for furnther information on the developments.
If you're interested, shoot him a line and maybe they'll save you a space in a Jeep.

High-fives for those who contacted the Together Foundation and Philippe and uncovered information. Especial love to Alle at Western Sahara Info for finding the MINURSO connection, Chasli for numerous scoops including the original board of advisors emigration, the Australian Western Sahara Association for slavery information, Khatry at Western Sahara Online for finding stuff, and the whole mess of you crazy kids who like to find stuff out about Western Sahara (and also destroy scurrilous foundations). Next stop: MACP!

This still leaves the more important issue of slavery in the camps unresolved. I've been in touch with Violeta Ayala and I'll let you know how that develops. If you find anything out or find particularly damning evidence either way, share it in the comments or by email!

Speaking of AWSA, they sent me this koala picture. They're one organization nice enough to keep me well-stocked with pleasing images of sweet animals. Step your game up, ARSO!

8 comments:

  1. Hello Will,
    You play a very good game and are quite successfull : go on !

    Our english is not so good:
    what do you mean by "Step your game up" ? Please give us some explanations and councils.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous4:23 AM

    Hi Will

    You are doing nice job for the indigenous saharawis who cant take the speech on their issue.
    … don’t forget of course others….Alle , Chasli, AWSA and many anonymous people
    How satisfaction you should have doing that job?

    ARASO is legacy. They are doing good job really…may they should upgrade their website to have new modern image !

    See you in the next step !!!

    Regards
    Desertman

    ReplyDelete
  3. Laroussi7:27 AM

    Very nice work indeed!

    Thanks to all you people who have contributed.

    Has anyone seen any mainstream media attention to this exiting story, the "Koalagate"? If so, please post some links.

    I am also curious about the alleged links between the Together Foundation, Philippe Elghouayel and the Moroccan government. Are there any real substantial proof of that? What about the funding of the NGO? Aren't such figures public in the USA?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous5:36 PM

    Interesting how you claim victory, and you have not posted a single sentence dealing with or even refuting the serious charges of slavery in the camps. All that most everyone is doing on this blog is self-congratulating for some Polisario propaganda, and a whole lot of empty and nonsensical gossip.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Laroussi7:27 PM

    Anonymous X: If you read today's post from Will Sommer again you will see that there are remarks about the alleged slavery in the camps.

    For example "the Together Foundation is working with Polisario to go to the camps and check out slavery claims".

    Personally I doubt the accusations, but the matter should of course be looked into. And now it looks like a media team will visit the camps with the specific task to check the accusations.

    Maybe this is not good enough for you Anonymous X? Well, you are free to come with personal suggestions on how the matter should be dealt with.

    And by the way, how do you in a serious way refute accusations of slavery? You tell me.

    I can tell you that I have never ever seen or heard of any cases of slavery in the camps. Does that refute the accusations?

    If personal from the UN (Minurso or UNHCR) tell you the same thing, does that refute the accusations to your liking?

    You might have noticed that not even MAP has reacted to this story, at least not in any major way.

    Personally I think that if there are people who find themselves in a family situation that they do not like, they should be helped to leave that family if they are adults. If they have been enslaved, or in any other way been unlawfully treated, the persons responsible should be punished in due manner.

    In any case, the accusations should of course be investigated.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous7:31 AM

    To anonymous

    I have visited the refugees camps many times and I have never seen any kind of slavery
    People are really free and I have seen young people criticizing Polisario ministers publicly ( which Moroccans cant do in their own land – check the New Moroccan Prime Minister affair called in Morocco Najat Affair which 30.000 people have loosed their all life wealth and what happened to him. He is now a proud prime minister !!!)

    Really Morocco have nothing to offer to saharawis…no oil…no phosphate ….no fishery …even no democratic institutes….

    Talking about slavery….visiting Moroccan you can see “many’ kind of slavery from mid ages to modern.

    See you
    DrtMn

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous12:10 PM

    "Personally I think that if there are people who find themselves in a family situation that they do not like, they should be helped to leave that family if they are adults. If they have been enslaved, or in any other way been unlawfully treated, the persons responsible should be punished in due manner."

    Larroussi:

    This family situation that you refer to is called "Slavery". And usually people who have been enslaved for generation can't ask for help, especially if the authorities in charge do not acknowledge the existence of such a practice.

    ReplyDelete