Monday, June 23, 2008

Two exceptions to the "Polisario is awful at lobbying" rule

Blogs may have been too hard on Polisario's lack of lobbying/public relations prowess. While it's an especially big problem in light of Morocco's comparative strength in that area, both Malainin Lakhal and Kamal Fadel, SADR's ambassador to Australia and New Zealand, are holding it down in that part of the world.

Lakhal was recently the subject of an Australian television report on Western Sahara, while Fadel produces opinion pieces for Australian media at a consistent rate and is also the frequent focus of interviews. With the help of activists and media prowess, they're making sure Western Sahara gets in front of people in New Zealand and Australia.

I'd like if some more of that action happened over in the US, but the next time you get down about a Moroccan press release circulating as gospel in newspapers that should know better, remember that things are going better down under.

36 comments:

  1. i hope that more efforts are made all over the world to show the whole world the reality of western sahara conflict and our legitimate right which the moroccans ignor for 33 years.

    i will never forget me and my people the big efforts made by some people like WILL and NICK BROOKS in USA,VAN KASS in the netherlands,SAHARA LIBRE TORINO in italy and many others who believe in our cause and support sahrawi people in the occupied zone and in the refugee camps.

    concerning the sahrawi presence in the USA i think it is a shy one when compared with the moroccan but with Americans like those in the video and like WILL and NICK and some Congressmen and women i think we could made a good job there.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFWkWib5CTs&

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  2. Rachel Corrie's speech is so wonderful she was killed by the Israeli occupation which supports the moroccan one of western sahara.

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  3. A good news for morocco :
    Bush wrote a letter to m6, he said autonomy it's the only solution :)).
    http://www.jeuneafrique.com/jeune_afrique/article_depeche
    .asp?art_cle=APA51558washiarahas0

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  4. Selon le quotidien londonien The Guardian : “(...) Le Maroc a dépensé près de 30 millions de dollars destinés à acheter les positions des membres du Congrès américain pour soutenir son plan relatif au Sahara occidental, territoire qu’ils ne connaissent même pas, et aussi pour mener une campagne de dénigrement du Front Polisario qu’ils présentent, tantôt comme un allié de Castro, pour gagner le soutien de Cardenas, tantôt comme un danger terroriste potentiel, pour gagner les partisans d’Israël, représentés par Abrams, dont le nom est lié aux scandales du marché d’armement du Congrès ou de celui de l’Irangate.”

    sorry but I didn't found that article in English,

    Saad: Bush can say whatever he wants (remember is the most corrupted US president ever, thus a natural M6 friend),
    International Law is pretty clear about the argument: A referendum for self-determination is the only solution. I won't sorry for wasting your day...

    thanks again Dev!

    AX 13:59h.

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  5. Anonymous8:25 AM

    Saralibretorino, the link you need is here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/may/01/savefreedonia1

    The Guardian article is by Ian Williams and its title is: Save Freedonia.

    He wrote:
    ...
    " Morocco has put in some $30m into its lobbying effort and, through its surrogate, the "Moroccan American Policy Center", has been tickling the soft underbelly of the congress."
    ...

    Saharawi Student

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  6. Anonymous8:26 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  7. Anonymous8:27 AM

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/may/01/
    savefreedonia1

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  8. Anonymous8:28 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  9. I love when Ian Williams writes about Western Sahara. Tickling Congress's underbelly, indeed!

    Thanks for the kind words, Devotee. It's heartening to read about Sahrawis so committed to their independence, because at least for me it makes the little I do seem worth it.

    Saad, I think it's pretty weird how excited Morocco is about Bush's letter. You know he's going to be out of office in January, right?

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  10. Anonymous10:02 AM

    (torino kkk)its old news ,(ian william) has been around long bitching about morocco , he wrote countless of articles to no prevail.

    here's one of his recent article

    some Polisario Front “godfathers”did not welcome the nomination of Khadija Hamdi as Minister of culture
    The impetuous wife of the secretary General of the Front seems to have a very personal perception of her new job. Last week, she fired several influential members of her office causing the anger of historical chiefs of the revolutionary movement.
    The object of the discord would have been the disappearance of several archaeological objects stored in the building occupied by Mrs. Hamdi in Bir Lehlu. The same objects would have made a miraculous “reappearance” in Spain, where an influential member of the Front would have tried to sell them to a Spanish art dealer of Peruvian origin. This last, alerted by several press reports on degradations of prehistorical sites in the Sahara, would have alerted the local authorities who seized few flints as well as remedies of gravestones.
    Having heard about the stones disappearance and their “reappearance” in Spain, Mrs. Hamdi would have refused to corroborate the version of the trafficker who affirmed having been charged to “give them to a museum”.



    However, it seems that the uncle of the trafficker is one of the founders of the Polisario Front. He defended his nephew before Mohammed Abdelaziz insisting on his innocence and good faith.
    After some hesitations, the wife of the Polisario Secretary General has accepted the requirements of her husband …she announced that she was the one who gave the ok for the stones to be removed.

    ginger(belive what you see and lay aside what you hear).

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  11. That's obviously not by Ian Williams. It's from Polisario Confidential, which should be ashamed of its obvious abuse of anonymous (read: made-up) sources. Anonymous sources are an important journalistic tradition that should be used with care, not exploited like Polisario Confidential is doing

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  12. I agree that there is way too little information about the situation in Western Sahara all over the world. But from time to time there are small articles popping up in news papers here in Norway. The student newspaper Universitas have acctually had several articles about WS, here is one of them: http://www.universitas.no/?sak=49378
    Also when two friends of mine were almost arrested in WS last summer there were articles in more than a 120 newspapers all over norway in 2 days! Most of the articles were quite bad, but a word here and a word there is better than nothing though..
    The Norwegian Refugee Council also made a big report on the situation in WS : http://www.flyktninghjelpen.no/arch/_img/9258989.pdf

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  13. Thanks for the links, Maren. It's cool that you're friends with those two girls--I remember when that happened and wrote about it here. Scandinavia always does great work on Western Sahara.

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  14. RSW: ICT make you ridiculous:

    dear friends, that's the objective information Moroccans receive:

    google says that ONLY TWO websites publicised this... mmmm how do i say... mmmm this lie?

    western sahara online

    and

    polisario confidential!!!

    GOOD WORK RSW!! still eating propaganda? it may cause indigestion huh?

    try to respond to The Guardian article (for your info: the guardian is not controlled by your Kitsch King).

    MORE: I've just read the TELQUEL reportage about Tindouf.
    I've just written to the author for his lack of objectivity and impartiality (= lack of professionalism).
    As the whole thing is in French, I will synthesise some points to underline what I've just said:

    When asked about the Wall of Shame, the journalist says that view from Morocco it's just a wall to protect their territorial integrity. Then he adds: It's a question of point of view (the journalist has never read any UN doc about the Wall, that's clear).-

    When talking about the contribution a freed WS could give to the region, the "journalist" says that Morocco and Algeria have some 30M ppl each. WS only 300.000 (I guess they are some 450.000, but I'm not sure). A polisario member correctly answers that Luxembourg seats aside Germany in European Council with no problems at all.

    Guess the answer the "journalist" gave?

    "they are proportioned in population and territory "

    so the excuse to illegally stay in WS is that Morocco doesn't have enough terrain (I understand why they want Canarias, Ceuta, Melilla, a part of Algeria and Mali and the whole Mauritania).

    But wait, there are more wisdom pearls that I’ll translate directly:

    « Today, he complains, we have become sedentary, we have more needs, and more difficulties to satisfy them”

    We’ve just asked what they lack in the camps, but the ancient suddenly realises he said too much words to Moroccans

    “thanks to our government, we don’t have any lack”

    He says without fear of contradiction.

    From my point of view it’s clear that the ancient remembers his nomad past and hates living in a refugee camp (imposed by Moroccan bombs). But the "journalist" wants to suggest something else with no argument (I think I'm used to that Saad? RSW? nothing to say?)

    All the first part of the 10 pages reportage is like that. I had the image of a French carrying such a work in Morocco: they feel superior.

    At the end of the reportage there’s an interview to Mr. Abdelaziz, and at least there, the journalist doesn’t write whatever crosses his mind.

    will, this is for your Kitsch King lovers: The journalists said that it’s 33 years that they hear about slavery in tindouf and no liberty of movement in the camps: As you’ll read in Telquel, that’s just a Moroccan lie. Telquel journalists could travel the 4 camps totally free... Something impossible in the Occupied Territories (Carlos Gonzalez “Children of the clouds” movie maker; was expelled and accused to be a Chavez secret agent… the evidence was that, instead of his Spanish nationality and his US residence, he was born in Caracas… it will be funny if our Sahrawi friends wouldn’t have to support constant HR violations).


    Unfortunately, I feel that what seems to be the most democracy-oriented Moroccan magazine is still too far not only to European or US values, but also to other African standards, they didn't find any evidence of slavery nor limitation to movement but I sadly guess they'd have been happier if so.

    AX 17:35h.

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  15. Maren: I was in Guelmim last year when the two Norwegian girls were arrested, could you please put me in contact with them?

    thnx

    AX 17:39h.

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  16. welcome maren to WILL's blog i think that western sahara cause is is well supported in scandinavia then in other parts of the world and the scandinadian youth are doing good job in favour of people of western sahara both in the occupied zone or in the refugee camps when we heard of the two Norwegian girls coming we realise then that we got strong support there but it was hard for us really hard to meet them since the moroccan police was looking at every step they take and they did not let them out of their sight even for a glance that's why we do not have the oportunity to even welcomed their coming in WS.

    but i think that their coming has give us hope to keep on fighting.

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  17. concerning the report that NRC made it was a great one i have read it before and i think it was a great job that benifit the sahrawi cause so keep on NRC and also the Norwegian students how did a great job for us when writing such articles and protesting with some sahrawi activist such as AMIDAN and SULTANA and others.

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  18. Anonymous12:58 PM

    While the Polisario Front is trying hard to improve its image, it appears that there were close ties between the leaders of the Tindouf guerrilla and members of the separatist organization Basque ETA…
    In “Notes & Studies”, the Research Center on contemporary criminal threats had published in 1988 a paper revealing that, according to the Spanish secret services, some Euskadi Ta Askatasuna or ETA (Basque for "Basque Homeland and Freedom"), members would have been trained in Algiers camps in 1975 and would have had contacts with members of the Polisario Front.
    At that time and according to a source close to the Polisario Front leaders contacted by “Polisario- Confidential”, the current Secretary General of the Front Mohammed Abdelaziz would have build up a friendship with José Luis Ignacio Irruretagoyena, the ETA main expert in the making of bombs.
    Iruretagoyena Lanz had spent a few years in Nicaragua and El Salvador in the Eighties and was actively tracked by the Spanish police task force.


    The friendship between the Polisario chief and the alleged Basque bomb maker would have lasted for long years, according to our interlocutor. The two would have held several secret meetings until September 2007 when the Basque terrorist was arrested with three of his aides in the French southwestern town of Cahors in a joint operation between the French police and the Spanish Guardia Civil.
    morocco jackpot = phosphate

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  19. i think that the last one who could talk about coruption is the moroccans because am living with them and i know how vital become bribery in the moroccan society

    http://www.afrol.com/articles/22325

    and these is another one from FREEDOM HOUSE

    http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=140&edition=7&ccrcountry=135§ion=73&ccrpage=31

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  20. personnally i hope that the news you have imagined is true and that explosions begin to kill moroccan settlers here in WS and blost the phosphate belt then i think you could not resist for one more day.

    if only it is true i can assure you that you will flee from WS but unfortunately it is not the way that we decided to take.

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  21. please Anon, if we wanted to read lies we'd go to Polisario Confidential by ourselves.

    I think in this blog every one of us respect Polisario (if M6 was Abdelaziz he would have sell your ass, and your mom’s one).

    Even in the case this "new" from 1975 (WOWOWOW!) was true, you must learn that ETA was fighting against a dictator (Franco) they killed his prime minister Carrero Blanco in 1973 (well done!). Polisario is still fighting a bloodthirsty dictator.

    Thanks Dev for the link to freedom house, perhaps kitsch king followers will realize that Morocco goes worst than ever...

    maybe Kitsch King should stop wasting money in buying American congressmen votes, military planes, or paying 1,5 milion € a day to maintain the berm...

    Is that the King would take Morocco to democracy?

    worst than his father!!

    AX 19:37h.

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  22. Devotee, don't wish for the deaths of Moroccan settlers. Most of them are as much victims of the monarchy as you are.

    I'm working on a post about a pretty explosive article about the Moroccan spy agency running Polisario Confidential. Get excited.

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  23. Cate Lewis6:13 PM

    Although there's no doubt a lot of variation, and always room for improvement, I think the Polisario are very effective lobbyists. If they weren't, the issue would not still be before the UN. The thing is they have to paddle hard to stay in the same place, so what they are doing is not all that obvious to an outsider. Patience, tenacity, determination and conviction of the justice of their cause, these make for a strong position, especially when backed up by international law and the African Union.

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  24. Will, that's clear moroccan settlers (as every moroccan) are KK M6 victims, but I support Sahrawi even those who desire the death to moroccan settlers (it's still war time; it is for moroccan policemen, it should be for sahrawi population).

    Will, go to the Occupied Territories and tell me Dev's desire is not fair!

    Why don't they turn back home? Is there unemployment? poverty? corruption? Ok every nation deserves their own government... and moroccans deserve M6 system (otherwise I think they'd have break down it). Sahrawi do not deserve M6 system and they fight against it; moroccan settlers follow the KK rule and destroy WS land and population.

    Sorry Will but now I'm absolutely for Dev.

    Moroccan settlers, moroccan army, moroccan policemen, moroccan flags, moroccan smell GO HOME!! (they are little confused about geography: according to International Law your home is above 27°40' parallel).


    AX 0:18h.

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  25. Anonymous9:25 PM

    (torino canoto)i see you bring my mum to this and that uncivilised of kid like you who lives in civil and democratic country even your mum won't approve of what you wrote in your sleazy comment , i should tell her to put some chili sauce in your mouth or in your(...) so to behave and if you have anything to say , say it to me and don't mention my mum.
    as i said before you just new to this conflict , half the time i don't know what the heck you talking about but you seem to have a personal problem with the M6, you even asking sahraouis to kill moroccans and that sick.
    now listen while i smoke my spliff about the 81 countries you mentioned in your comment.
    afghanistan : canceled.
    albania : canceled.
    yugoslavia : doesn't exist as a country any more.
    south yeman : used to be a country.
    india : nope.
    mauritania : neutral.
    columbia : don't think so.
    kenya : frozed.
    liberia : nada.
    chad : don't think so.
    ghana : no.
    cape verde , seychelles,.............., the list goes on, and the rest several of them are small island.
    i think you should update what ever you wanna update .
    ginger :are you spying at polisario confidential

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  26. last anonym, don't respond to torino, he has a racist problem with morocco.
    and speaks trash,i got insulted too.
    so i don't read his commentary anymore, zap zap zap is the best response :)

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  27. Moroccans:
    Even if some of that countries have retired their recognisance to RASD, (thanks to the money you KK M6 rubs you) it's clear that all of them have recognised RASD as an independent country (maybe they don't have anymore diplomat relations, but the recognisance has been done).

    REPEAT (you seem little deaf): NO COUNTRY HAS RECOGNISED MOROCCAN OCCUPATION EVER.

    NO ONE!

    More: regarding my politically incorrect answer > I don't give a shit about: Moroccan settlers produce suffering to innocent people: women, children, elder... Ask to your conscience if the time to move home is arrived.

    If you decide not to move home and a Sahrawi decides to kill a Moroccan settler, it's ok for me.

    BUT: as you see, Sahrawi don't attack you even if you are rubbing them, oppressing them, they are sane, they are good men and women. Let's give them the choice to make justice by their own means!

    I will always support Sahrawi; I will NEVER support Moroccan INVADERS.


    AX 20:09h.

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  28. Ax, there are good people in the Moroccan population and bad people in the camps. Saying you want Moroccan settlers to die is barbaric. What kind of free Western Sahara would be built on that?

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  29. No Will, I've never said I want Moroccan settlers dead. I want them outside WS!

    I've said that whether a Sahrawi decide to kill a Moroccan settler I won't judge him as a killer. Moroccan settlers are guilty of Sahrawi suffering in Occupied Territories as much as M6 (if no Moroccan have move to WS, your blog wouldn't exist).

    ;-)

    AX 22:35h.

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  30. That's true. I plan to keep writing after independence, though (assuming blogs haven't been replaced at that point by telepathy). I've been looking forward for a while to the time when I can criticize Polisario officials running Western Sahara instead of Moroccan ones.

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  31. It's a little bit different: the day Polisario will rule in the whole WS we will see if they deserve to be the Sahrawi representatives or not.
    at this moment they are ruling fantastically in the Hamada in a very difficult situation.

    I hope when WS will be free, other options different than Polisario will appear (even those contrary to my ideas).

    ;-)

    AX 23:06h.

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  32. Polisario's ruling position right now is difficult, especially considering how much control they feel they need to assert to maintain movement coherence. As I've argued before, though, why isn't Polisario opening up in Tindouf so the eventual Sahrawi state has civil society experience already?

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  33. Antonio10:16 PM

    Hi Will
    I am Spanish and I visit the Saharawi refugee camps regularly for the last 14 years.
    It is not fair to judge POLISARIO now for its rule in the camps. It is not fair to ask them to "open up", especially for political diversity simply because they will have a situation similar to the Palestinians.
    I think that Moroccans and some of their lobbyist are putting this point forwards for purpose, because Rabat is trying hard to break POLISARIO from inside, and is trying to discredit it. The real headache for Morocco is that POLISARIO and after more than 30 years, is still the UNIQUE representative of the Saharawi people.
    On the other hand, it is true that POLISARIO must encourage the Saharawi civil society, and I think, from my own experience and knowledge here, that there is an important civil society in the refugee camps. Take AFAPREDESA, for example, it is a human rights org which is very active in Spain and Europe and is based in the camps, the Saharawi youth two, it is true that it is POLISARIO youth, but still it represent a youth vision, there are other union that seem active both inside the camps and abroad. And I can tell you that people in the camps are very out spoken and enjoy a very high level of freedom of expression. I can assert that from my own discussions and meetings with people in the camps, but they are all anonymous is saying that: They can say and think whatever they want, they can defend their points of views in meetings, congresses and conferences, BUT in the end, the decision is a collective decision, and once a decision is adopted it should be respected and they will back their leadership in it.
    POLISARIO, as I understand it, is a Front, that is to say a union of political tendencies around a sole and unique goal, independence. Once free, I can imagine POLISARIO dissolved, or as in many other experiences, be the leading political party for some time, but other political parties will challenge it (take South African ANC as an example).
    Before independence, Will, I think that is unfair to ask POLISARIO to open up for other tendencies to develop within the camps. If such tendencies exist they can exist abroad or in the occupied zones, and I wonder what they will defend as long as their country is occupied, if it wasn’t to liberate it, and this is the goal of POLISARIO, so what’s the kind of opposition anyone can have against that.
    If they defend Moroccan thesis, then they can simply work from inside Moroccan parties, if they defend autonomy, then they can campaign with Moroccan CORCAS, but if they only do not agree with POLISARIO management of the struggle, well then they can work from inside the Saharawi refugee camps as militants in POLISARIO and try to change things to meet their visions but maintain the same organisation, which must remain the only and unique representative of the Saharawi people, and believe me, if you talk to the Saharawi youth they will tell you that they do not agree with a lot of POLISARI leaders acts but still they will fight from inside the Saharawi institutions to make the front stronger, and to change things from inside.
    I decided to comment, Will, because I really feel sad whenever I read or watch news about Palestine, and I remember that Palestinians are suffering what they are suffering because their neighbouring countries interfered in their affairs and encouraged the creation of many Palestinian organisations so as to control them, but in fact they just helped Israel have the upper hand..

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  34. Anonymous10:13 PM

    You guys keep on sayng what you saying, it's all useless, for Moroccans the Sahara is Morocco and there is no argument there, 200000 poeple will not have a loder voice than 40000000 Moroccans ready to die for their historical land. The rebels will do themselves a huge favor by integrating with the Sahrawis who are already there and who are working on developping their land. There has never been a Sahara state before Sapain invaded the south of Morocco in the Sahara, the spaniards fucked off the Moroccans took back what was rightly and historically theirs period the end... then if some minority sells themselves to Algeria to cause mayhem, then they will take the beating they deserve. Final word, and trust me on this, keep it in mind till the day you die, the world will never ever witness a state called SADR! I promise you!

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    ReplyDelete