Between not organizing a referendum and not monitoring Moroccan human rights abuses, personnel in the United Nation's Western Sahara contingent MINURSO have to find something to keep them occupied. According to Nick Brooks, that means defacing valuable archaelogical sites in Western Sahara.
Brooks, a climate change researcher and the director of the Western Sahara Project, was visiting archaeological sites in the liberated portion of Western Sahara when he saw graffiti MINURSO personnel spraypainted over cave drawings. The cave drawings are faint, so I used my Perez Hilton MS Paint skills and circled one in red below. Brooks has contacted MINURSO, UNESCO, and the UN Misconduct office, so this is a story to follow.
I take a more positive view of MINURSO than a lot of people I've talked to, but that can probably be blamed on international politics fan boyishness. This vandalism and the recent Polisario Congress makes me wonder if MINURSO is helping or hurting the independence movement. MINURSO isn't restraining or even reporting on Moroccan human rights abuses, and I think its presence only prolongs the stalemate. On the other hand, it organizes visits for families divided by the war.
For more pictures of graffiti on archaelogical sites, visit the Flickr album.