Thursday, June 05, 2008

New York Times covers Western Sahara

Kudos to the New York Times, which published the most balanced take yet on the Moroccan-American Center for Policy's traveling Sahrawi show (otherwise known as Holley Bonus Pay Tour '08). Compared to the other articles that took the MACP's word as gospel, the Times does something interesting--essentially, writing a story about the human rights violations in Tindouf story.
But were the refugees’ depictions of life in the camps overstated, as some human rights workers wonder? And were they brought to the United States to advance a foreign country’s claim on their homeland?
I liked that this article, unless the Associated Press's, used persuasive sources to talk about human rights abuses in Western Sahara. There wasn't nearly as much talk about Moroccan human rights

Two other things about the article annoyed me. First, Robert Holley gets the last word, seemingly reasserting his point of view against the earlier doubts. Why not quote SADR ambassador Mouloud Said in the end, or an unbiased NGO? I know I sound like a talk radio caller railing against the biased liberal media, but there it is.

Second, why does the Times need a Moroccan-sponsored publicity tour to write an article about Western Sahara? It's one of the most oppressed places in the world, but they can't bother to send a reporter. Potential stories abound--union busting at Bou Craa, students being thrown out of windows--but unless the interviewees are only a few blocks from the Times office, no one there thinks about Western Sahara.

A lot better than what's generally been coming out of this lobbying offensive, though. Plus, this is a great time to get a letter in the most respected U.S. newspaper about Western Sahara.

Photo from Flickr user wallyg used under a Creative Commons license.


  1. you know WILL everything became as clear as the sun in the sunny day it is just a matter gaining the international community acceptance for the autonomy plan for western sahara but sahara people shall never accept it as they allways say NO SUBSTITUTE NO SUBSTITUTE FOR SELFDETERMINATION IN Arabic it is more poetic.

  2. WILL never care for what the moroccan may do to you they can't even stop you they fear to cause troubles with THE WHITE HOUSE ,americans are everywhere treated with care and respect because no one wants UNCLE SAM TO BE ANGRY.morocco is becoming aware of his deadly faults that he had made when preventing foreign journalists from entering western sahara i know some spanish who belong to organisations that support the sahrawi people and they allways come to ws with no problems .i wish you came to visit us here.

  3. See, that's what I said. But certain family members insisted that if I went, they wouldn't help me get out of jail. Fine, I said, I'll rot. Still, here I am in Houston.

    I'm sure "no substitute for self-determination" does sound more poetic in Arabic. So much does.

  4. Hello. Ie just discovered your blog.
    My father was a Spanish army officer deployed in the Sahara during the evacuation in 75. He still tells how Moroccan soldiers would kill or torture Spanish soldiers when they were retreating, but Polisario forces NEVER hurt them, even when they were so clearly abandoning them to their faith. Some Spanish soldiers quit the army to join the Polisario. None stayed for Morocco.

  5. That's very interesting. It's heartening to hear Polisario soldiers treated Spanish soldiers well despite the brutality of the war.