Monday, June 02, 2008

Moroccan soldiers attack Sahrawi and Moroccan students in Marrakesh

It seems something unites previously-fractious Sahrawi and Moroccan students at Marrakesh University: they're both not jackboot thugs, and they get repressed by the same. On the 17th of May Moroccan police stormed the campus, and while we're just getting the images recently, one thing's clear: it was bad.

Demonstrations started after 19 Moroccans got food poisoning. It seems as though the Sahrawis used student anger to call for self-determination. Police officers uninterested in compromise and negotiation responded, and threw 2 Sahrawis and 1 Moroccan out of windows and shot tear gas at other students (video of the tear gas attack's aftermath).

The Norwegian Support Committee has several other videos shot by Rabab Amidane before, during, and after the assault on campus. I was affected by this one, showing all the university rooms ransacked by Moroccan police. It's sad to see these rooms touched by the hand of a Moroccan elite afraid of its own sons and daughters.

This anti-student bias isn't limited to the police: according one of the videos, some in Marrakesh are refusing to rent to the rebellious students, leaving them to sleep on the streets or in internet cafes.

I recently read Joseph Califano's The Student Revolution, a book about unrest at universities across the world in 1968. One of Califano's themes is that poor university conditions allowed small radical groups of students to win support from the student mainstream for their off-campus politics. Maybe the same thing will happen in Morocco, as Sahrawis are able to mix with politically-active Moroccans on student issues.

Update: the Moroccan student isn't dead, fortunately. I'm sorry for the mistake.


  1. This is sick and goes to show how impractical the very notion of autonomy is. Of course, if Sahrawis freely chose autonomy, that would be their call, but I suppose Morocco doesn't believe they should even be allowed to choose between the levels of repression they would prefer.


  2. That would make a good slogan for a vote that only included integration or autonomy.

    Vote 2008: Letting Sahrawis Choose the Levels of Repression They Would Prefer (TM).

  3. essential,


  4. Anonymous2:41 AM

    wow you guys are so desperate waiting for some sort of happy news concerning polisario dreams .
    let face it guys , even polisario knows they have no chance for dance to stage any kind of referendum , do you really think that the army and the half million strong moroccan will just pack up and leave because UN or some sort of organisation called itself human right excuse , freedom house donation , african union of starvation or some nutcase with his website copy & paste said so.

    the reality is what's happening on the ground wright now and its clear from (google earth)hi hi that morocco is carving his own border and rewriting his own history before the history repeat itself .

    as for polisario are busy making noise as usual or celebrating some sort of achievement that we don't know about with few foreign jackass wearing sunglasses ,actually polisario did indeed achieve the biggest camps on this planet with tight security 24/7 and the loudest speakers so to keep the fear and insecurity amongst the squatters .
    (will) man i can understand (alle) cause his more of polsario than a pro-polsario, but you , after all y're a journalist so they say and the best you can come up with is polisario id with it longest flag stamped on the front of the id in the history of the world id's , i think y should be worried about this story ! .
    or this one its more scary

    (ax) the spanish hero ,i tell you what if the government of spain give a green light to the basks ,catalan region and canary islands to stage a referendum on the basis of independence and morocco retrieve it two cities (ceuta and melilia)then morocco will think about staging a referendum how about that

    Barbary pirate

  5. Anonymous,

    If you are defending brutality, you are inhumane.

    Replace everything you wrote with the following:
    -"Gandhi" for "Polisario"
    -"Indians" for "Sahrawis"
    -"British Empire" for "Morocco"

    Now tell me how unrealistic it is.

    If you are still not convinced, try "Solidarity," "Poles," and "Soviet-controlled Poland," or "Fretilin," "Timorese," and "Indonesia." Etc, etc.


  6. Anonymous Moroccan:

    If you were so sure of Moroccan right to Western Sahara, you'd probably won't spend your leisure time on this blog making clear you don't have arguments (ppl without arguments write hysterical as you do).

    I just forgot to mention in my post about Madrid's meeting on WS support that for the very first time I've met a Moroccan without FEAR: it's name is Khadija RYADI, and he's the president of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (if you feel strange he actually shares the polisario point of view, is just because you know nothing about Human Rights, sadly Moroccans are used to be abused for their own regime).

    We all can see that International Law is far from your brains, (admitting but not conceding you have it):

    The Bask country, Catalonia, Canary Islands, Andalusia, Galicia, Asturias, Balearic Islands, Pais Valenciano, etc. Are you sure this territories are in the NON AUTONOMOUS TERRITORIES list of the United Nations?

    As far as I know they are not, they are part of Spain at least from 5 centuries…All the UN countries recognise Spanish sovereignty over this lands (unlike Moroccan occupation in WS, recognised by NO ONE). Spain is not Madrid nor Castilla. It’s just an ensemble of Autonomous Regions.

    According to International Law, only non autonomous territories have the inalienable right to a referendum for self-determination. Please do not confound fat and speed, shake your head!

    For Melilla and Ceuta, (neither these cities are in the mentioned list) just go there and ask the population whether they want to belong to Spain or to Mohammed’s private garden. Just ask them and stop arguing nonsense.

    If I were you, I will spend the rage you show against the way your king wastes Moroccan money: did you know that he spends 1,5 million dollars a day in controlling the Wall of Shame while the rate of poorness is still growing?

    Shame on him + on their non-ethical supporters.

    AX 13:13h.

  7. Marrakech: that's not Western Sahara, it's Morocco. So this is not only about international law and all that but also about human rights in Morocco.
    Hello... Mr. Anonymous?

  8. Anonymous8:32 AM

    Team@Khadija Ryadi is a "she", not a "he". Are you sure you met a woman in Madrid, cause that what Khadija Ryadi is!!! Maybe it was a man wearing a burka calling himself Khadija Ryadi...

  9. Oh GoD for the first time Anonymous Moroccan is right!

    I've changed business cards... (my memory for Arab names is really a mess, sorry)

    it was Mr. Abdelhamid Amin (Vice president, tall, thin, wearing white beard) who attended the meeting and publicly denounced torture in Morocco and WS.

    He's a very nice man (this information wouldn't be useful for you Anonymous Torturer, I wrote it for Will's readers that are interested in knowing another reality of Morocco, a Morocco of HOPE and FREEDOM... you'd need a dictionary and... a soul!)

    Have you still any argument?




  10. Anonymous7:54 PM

    now let see , the usual suspect plus (justin) ok.

    Justin i think you confusing Gandhi with hare Krishna slash i don't know what the heck you talking about dot something ???

    (van kass)no stories about barbary pirate , as for international law , you tell me one country that obey the int law

    (ax) i think you just been caught red handed , you never been in any madrid meeting , as for the ((bask country)) as you wrote it in your comment and i m sure that wasn't a mistake , why they keep blowing up bombs and asking for independence

    and i'm not wasting my time i just like to popup now and again just to have a fun

  11. Anonymous,

    I honestly can't make heads or tails of what you wrote, but to be clear: there are many liberation movements that seemed impossible, but were not.


  12. Anonymous you're just sick if you look for fun on such an argument. Sane people feel repugnance before your corrupt and violent policemen (maybe you need some Moroccan-police-medicine to change your mind).

    Be sure I was in Madrid last week (I was at home) but I don't give a shit if you don't believe it...

    For the bask country, just read and comment smartly (I doubt you're able). I'd support anyway a referendum in this land if bask people wanted it (even if --unlike in WS-- no international, European or national law would support it).

    For the respect to the international law, I'm pasting a link I'm sure you'll appreciate:

    (Will, you're lucky this letter exists just in EN/FR/ES but not in Italian, I'd translate it to publish in our blog right now).

    As I wasn't in Madrid last week I couldn't hear the South African Ambassador in Madrid answering "We didn't care about ruining the relations with Morocco at that time, we had to choose among angels and devils, and for my country the choice was clear". As you can suppose (every body but Anonymous Moroccan) a journalist asked to Ambassador Mr. Vusi Bruce Koloane which was the reaction of Morocco's Regime when they approved the diplomatic status to RASD.

    Later I had the chance of smoking a cigarette with him (and Algerian Ambassador in Spain + Algerian Press service director in Madrid) after the conference. We all applauded the direct and non-protocoled answer he gave. Fortunately both countries agree on PRINCIPLES instead of economic interests as the US, French and Spanish govs do.



  13. Anonymous1:23 AM


    there to much hate in the world to be thinking about, so please stop all the mad talk about politics and human rights and start supporting each other instead. try to understand each other. that's how things start with no communication.


    one love