Monday, April 28, 2008

Nocturnal manumission

Smoking gun?

It looks like the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants has laxer evidence standards than bloggers. They've picked up the Tindouf slavery story like Mohammed Abdelaziz himself runs a slave market, even though all the evidence thus far comes from the Ayala-Fallshaw team.

Someone who was in the camps at the same time as the Ayala/Fallshaw crew pointed me to this document above, which the Committee says is the manumission document for the release of a slave. The big deal is it's ostensibly signed by a Polisario official.

Presuming that this says in Arabic what it's supposed to, papers can easily be forged, so more evidence is still needed before we say Polisario condones slaveholding. I wish the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants felt the same way.


  1. Youssef1:07 PM

    Will, come on, write about Peter Van Walsum. all moroccans know it's hard for you to do so, but you gotta do it, looks like ure suffering from objective amnesia. It's not that hard to admit that the Dutch Diplomat nailed it with his statement to the UNSC. We are all waiting for what you have to say.please give our best to Chasli, tell him he is also suffering from amnesia.

  2. Dissing Chasli? Are you seriously looking to start a beef with the East Coast Western Sahara Krew?

  3. Anonymous11:06 PM

    I think the issue has been covered before here:

    Well, Well, well.
    Now that the old and senile Walsum has made a pro-Moroccan statement, the Moroccans think that this is going to change the situation. Keep dreaming you colonialists.
    Walsum statement is not unprecedented. Perez de Cuellar and Boutrous Ghali stabbed the Saharawis in the back so did other MINURSO staff who Morocco managed to bribe. They gave Morocco computer disks that contained the voters’ lists and provided other confidential information that was given to the UN by Polisario such as Polisario military strength and positions. This was reported in the UK Independent newspaper.
    So the Saharawis and their friends worldwide are not surprised by Walsum's betrayal.
    At the end of the day, Morocco has a lot to offer to the old and retiring UN staff. The exotic cities of Marrakech, Agadir and Casablanca where people can enjoy themselves, have good Couscous, take advantages of the under aged girls and boys prostitutes and perhaps even enjoy the odd Hashish smoke. This really affects the week memory and personality of people like Walsum and his "Realism" becomes so entwined with that of the occupying power and gets so much confused that he runs to UNSC to make a stupid statement which his boss Ban Ki Moon did not include in his report and which also goes against everything that the UN stands for? How bizarre! Congratulations Morocco for corrupting another UN old man.

  4. Yes, professor Van Walsum is a much more interesting topic allright. He has worked in the past as chair of the Iraq sanctions comittee. Van Walsum was also involved as some kind of UN-mediator during the bloody East-Timor-break-away.
    Amongst dutch diplomats Van Walsum is regarded as an absolute top diplomat in his home country Holland, as one of the best, top of the bill. But there is almost no news about him. In dutch media Van Walsum is a spooky figure, very unknown - just like the Western Sahara issue itself. I have seen only 1 dutch article about his comment.
    Instead most attention is focused on Moroccan immigrants and Islamist attitudes.

    I don't think Moroccans needed to bribe Van Walsum. He has always been a dutch realistic rightwing politician, a mr. Big Deal - not likely to side with hungry leftwing arab refugees.
    Why this dutch topdiplomat with his expertise has dismissed RASD as something unrealistic? I think to make the dutch think it is justifiable to sell warships to Morocco.

  5. Anonymous9:42 AM

    Van Walsum also underscored that a compromise solution is imperative to relieve the suffering of the tens of thousands of Sahrawi refugees currently held by the Polisario Front in Tindouf, southern Algeria.

    "The main reason why I find the status quo intolerable is that it is too readily accepted (. . .) by deeply involved supporters of the Frente Polisario, who do not live in the camps themselves but are convinced that those who do would rather stay there indefinitely than settle for any negotiated solution that falls short of full independence," said Van Walsum in his report.

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  7. Indeed this comment by Van Walsum is remarkable because he suggests the refugees are being held in the camps by the solidarity movement -which includes the UN- for an independent RASD.
    Of course the status quo is intolerable in particular for the refugees and that's why Van Walsum was supposed to do something about it in the first place and very quickly too. But he did do nothing at all.
    Van Walsum remarks really stink awful.

    Would he ever have compared the preambules of the constitutions of Morocco and of RASD? "As an African state, it has, among its objectives, the realisation of African unity." and "belief in the necessity of building a Great Maghreb, of concreting the unity of the work of Africa, the unity of the Arab nation and to establish international relations based on cooperation, concord, mutual respect and the establishment of peace in the world."

    Some kind of agreement must be possible when one reads these two formulas. Maybe now it is the time for an African mediator in this case.

  8. Anonymous6:38 PM

    Could it be that Walsum had some "Dutch courage" when he wrote the awful report for the UNSC recently or is it that he did not have the courage to resign and admit failure so he had to do it this way.

    I believe Walsum will go in history as the worst UN representative because he suggested something that is against what the UN stands for. He in fact wants to violate UN charter and its decolonisation history particularly resolutions 1514 and 1541?

    Is it possible for a UN officer to violate his job prescription and the basic tenets of his own institution? Only if he becomes mad or he had too much "Dutch courage"

    ps. The phrase Dutch courage is a term for courage gained from intoxication by alcohol. It is synonymous with liquid courage.

  9. Laroussi5:42 AM

    People seem to have missed that Van Walsum's analysis had two parts.

    1. There will be no referendum or independent Saharawi state if no one is willing to put pressure on Morocco.

    2. Since no pressure is applied by any UN member state, Polisario should agree to at least start negotiations about autonomy.

    I think Walsum is completely right about his first assumption, but he is however completely off track when it comes to the part of recommendations.

    It is due time that the supporters of Saharawi self-determination take a clear stand and put some pressure on Morocco.

    A first step would be not to grant Morocco advanced status with the EU. Why should the EU reward a country that has so little respect for international law that it occupies a neighbour territory.

    So, instead of focusing on Walsum's lame recommendation, start focusing on the hard facts and put some pressure on Morocco.

    Ps. What Van Walsum recommends is strikingly similar to what was recommended in the withdrawn SG report from June last year and also similar to what Mrs Theofilopoulou recommended in an article at CSISin February.

    Now whereas the first SG report was sharply criticized by pro-Saharawi bloggers, the same people later praised the work of Mrs Theofilopoulou. I wonder what they think now...

    Personally I find the above analyses from the SG, Mr Walsum and Mrs Theofilopoulou part of the same old rubbish: Don't rock the boat and give King MVI some candy so that he keeps calm, while we continue making fancy speeches about free speech and self-determination.

  10. Awesome discussion, all. Best of all, I learned the term "Dutch courage." I promise an upcoming post on van Walsum.

    What's depressing to me is that if the UN abandons the referendum process, it won't mean the end of the Sahrawi independence movement. It'll just mean that movement will go underground and turn violent. If bomb start going off in El Aiaun, I hope Mr van Walsum is alive to see what he's wrought.

  11. Laroussi5:32 PM

    "If bomb start going off in El Aiaun, I hope Mr van Walsum is alive to see what he's wrought."

    When fighting starts again, don't blame van Walsum.

    Blame France and the USA. They are running the show through the Security Council. And blame your own congressmen and political leaders for the crap policy of the USA.

    van Walsum? He's just a diplomatic puppet. What did you expect him to do? Encourage the Security Council to put pressure on Morocco?

  12. There is just a thing Van Walsum should have done, but did not. Van Walsum should have made sure his own dutch government does not support Moroccan aggression by selling them warships. The dutch government does not put pressure on Morocco for the sake of Western Sahara (they probably do for other interests) but instead they sell arms and inm doing so they put pressure on the Saharawi's.
    Nevertheless I think Van Walsum does have the full support of the dutch government...

  13. Anonymous2:55 AM

    Why you all talk about politics? Is there somebody investigating about the slavery accusations?
    Slavery is a very big issue in Mauritania, Saharawis closest Mali, Niger.
    After all the Arabs in the Sahara were and are the biggest slave traders in history.

  14. Hey anonymous, Slavery is a political issue itself and so is the struggle against slavery, and ofcourse accusations of slavery are very political too.
    There is no contradiction with politics.
    How did you get so confused?

  15. i can see that algerians and thier backed torrorist group polisario, likes alying with words, the first thing, western sahara is moroccan,lear more about histrical facts before believing lies. second morocco fight and with fight forever terrorists, is for that algerians and thier allies polisario, says that the god of moroccans is bush,Morocco protect the europe back door from terror, whey because morocco,was there alays to help,60000 soldiers to fight against hitler, morocco is the only country who accepted to help jew in 1300, spanish expultion, so don't talk about something you don't know next time, believe the hstorical right of morocco to recover his territory

  16. Anonymous9:07 AM

    Will, I haven't read all the posts here. I just want to respond to what you've said on the subject above: in relation to modern slavery in North Africa (having researched it myself lately). I feel you have the wrong end of the stick and don't understand it at all. It's not the levee bank, cotton picking, blues singing, slave trade type of slavery that you might have learned in American history. It is an hereditary slave class; like the caste system in India used to be.

    Sadly, given your trust and belief in the rectitude of the Polisario "freedom cause", I doubt that you could willingly receive information about the well known practice of modern slavery in North Africa with an open mind. It challenges your beliefs apparently, and you can not grasp that the Saharawi liberation movement is being conducted by Berber Arabs who have kept slaves for hundreds of years. The Arabs did not abolish slavery 200 years ago, when we did in the West. It continues to this day. The half hearted bids to "eradicate" slavery are current and a long way from achieving the stated objective. These people are very unlike you and I are. Haven't you twigged to that yet?