Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New blogs, Western Sahara-related and not

People hungry for North Africa news or journalism writing are in luck:
  • Alle, the great blogger behind Western Sahara Info, is refocusing his North Africa writing on a new group blog, Maghreb Politics Review. He kicked off his new empire with Algerian politics. While it'll let him share his expertise beyond Western Sahara (he knows a lot more about North Africa than that), he better not abandon WSI. It's an institution.
  • Meanwhile, I launched the cleverly-named Will Sommer, a blog about the changes affecting journalism as it moves online (and the cool stuff that move creates). Check it out!
Before I get on with the business of managing two blogs at once, though, an apology: I haven't been up on Western Sahara lately. I got disheartened with how nothing ever changed in Western Sahara, and how it looked like nothing ever would. Before you say, "Try living it for 30 years," I know.

Fortunately, I'm reinvigorated by studying abroad in Cairo and a potential visit to Morocco. Most of all, though, commenters and readers seem to have stuck around and still care about this issue. So let's get to it! Please leave any new Western Sahara blogs in the comments so I can catch up.


  1. Well, some things do change. But with baby steps, especially in politics. Oh, Cairo. I want to go there too. At what university are you studying? You should visit the camps really. Since you are that close I mean.

  2. I'm at the American University. It's nice, but there are some problems with the new campus.

    You're right that I should visit the camps. But I really want to go to the occupied territories first.

  3. Ah, you're already there? What are you studying? Ah, I'd gladly visit the occupied territories with you. I've been meaning to quite some time now. And the camps, well my heart is still there.

  4. I think the trick with the occupied territories is finding out how long you can stay in Western Sahara before being thrown out. I'll hit Morocco first, naturally, so I'll have already done the sights.

    How long ago were you in the camps?

  5. Anonymous5:31 PM

    hi Will

    you have been in Morocco! are you allowed to enter WS ?
    if yes, give rgrds to all SHRWS

  6. Sorry anonymous, I wasn't clear. I haven't been to Morocco or Western Sahara yet. I'm thinking about going in the next couple of months. I will definitely give regards to Sahrawis if I go!

  7. wEll , i guess it is going to be a great idea for those who are interested by the conflict of W sahara , to visit the main towns ofv W sahara , in addition to the refugee camps in Tindouf, and then they can make up their minds about the real nature of the conflict .
    There is no doubt in my mibnd that a large nulber of internauts express their views about the on-going conflict without having in mind any legal and historical background .

    So my advice to those people including the owner of this blog , is to read , documents , and visit both W Sahara , and the Refugee camps in Tindouf , believe it or not you will learn more than what you think

  8. I was in the camps let see; I got home in july. 8 months ago.. and my heart is still left behind, I long for the day I'll get there again. I miss my sahrawi family, talk to them on a daily basis. And as for the occupied territories, you're right. I'll do the tourist thing first. I'm not sahrawi but my name is not erh unknown which could be a problem. And I'll try to meet as many of my sahrawi friends in Morocco.. But I long to see EL Aiun.. which I have yet to do.

  9. Anonymous9:48 AM

    Thanks for linking to the blog in your post, Will. Your insight is always welcome at Maghreb Politics Review, both as a commenter and a contributor.



  10. Anonymous7:29 PM

    Hello Will,
    I hope you have a wonderful time in Morocco (and its Sahara) and that you realize that such political artificial conflict isn't worth the time and effort some seem so eager to waste.



  11. Anonymous8:32 PM

    Testimony of Hayat Rgaibi arrested and raped by the Moroccan police

    On YouTube:

  12. will, welcome in Morocco,,
    great idea to see the other side of the story, you will be amazed by the number of sahrawi that feel moroccan, :))

  13. if you could reach the magic dakhla :)) :


  14. Thanks for all the welcoming messages for Western Sahara. If you want to meet up, drop me a line.

    Anonymous, I am following the Rgaibi story. Obviously it's a serious charge to make, but the fact that both CODESA and ASVDH support it makes me think it's true.

    Thanks for the invite, Kal. I'd love to contribute, but I think Alle has me dead to rights on Western Sahara knowledge. I think I'll stay a commenter for now.

  15. Hey guys, did you notice the ruling against the Moroccan blogger Hassan Barhoun?

  16. Anonymous7:04 PM

    van kass , you just can't help it you have to keep bitching about morocco ,you sounds like you belong to the ((greet wilders))party the man is famous of making hate speeches.


  17. Hey Anonymous, you don't seem to know what is the difference between hate speech and free speech and that is why mr. Wilders does sound like YOU.

  18. Anonymous5:07 AM

    welle anonymous is right what 's the link between the blogger and the w.s ??
    it's obvious you hate moroccan,
    anyway, if anyone have problem with the country come and you ll be delighted by moroccan hospitality and kindness.
    Best country in the world !!! :))

  19. Anonymous2:54 AM

    how does he hate moroccans when he's trying to defend a moroccan blogger?

  20. Anonymous8:28 AM

    The Saharwis' right to Self-Determination

    Patrick Baleka, Co-ordinator, Western Sahara Solidarity Forum (SA), 13 March 2009

    The Saharwi refugees and the population of the occupied territory have certain inherent rights which cannot be compromised in negotiations and Realpolitik. The right to self-determination is a fundamental human right. It has a prominent place in International law, enshrined in common Article 1 of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Convention Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR0 and is considered a peremptory norm in International customary law..Morocco is a party to all major human rights conventions. Examples of violation of the right to self-determination are foreign military occupation and other forms of colonialism and exploitation of natural resources. This constitutes a breach of these rights by Morocco. Morocco's conduct in relation to Western Sahara is as an obvious violation.

    The Western Sahara Solidarity Forum (SA) is inviting to a meeting which will be on:

    Date 20th March 2009

    Time: 10 AM

    Venue: 1st Floor Cosatu House

    Items to be discussed are the following:

    1 Campaigns

    2 Humanitarian to Saharwi Refugees

    3 Building a strong forum for the isolation of Morocco international

    Your organisation is requested to nominate two representatives to attend this meeting.

    Kindly respond by no late 18th March 2009 through Patrick Baleka at patrickbal...@yahoo.com

  21. Anonymous11:42 AM

    Sahara is moroccan for now and for ever !!! you must kill 30 millions of moroccan if you want it free....
    its sand is our proud, the sahraoui are our ancesters...you can't cut a tree from its roots...
    long life to morocco, long life to the sahrawi...

    united we will show the power of the moroccan kingdom, the power that made andaloucia knee under our feet....
    sheer up my dear sahrawi citizen, the hyprocits from the west and the ignorance of some arabs want us divided,
    but no we wont, no we wont be...

    long life to us !!!!


  22. Hey Saad, you are proud of the Moroccan kindom? A kingdom is a nation with a christian feudal ruler called a king, or queen when she is a woman. But Morocco is an Islamic ruled feudal state, so we should not call it a kingdom, but a sultanate. It is ok to be proud of your history but please don't mess things up.

  23. Anonymous6:22 AM

    the first line of our constitution :
    "An Islamic and fully sovereign state whose official language is Arabic, the Kingdom of
    Morocco constitutes a part of the Great Arab Maghreb"

    in arabic the official name is "mamlakat al maghrib" the traduction is "the kingdom of morocco"

    and yeah i m proud of my country, proud of what my sahrawi ancestor did when they were ruling the kingdom as the "moravids" :


    i'm just astonished by people who want division,
    since we share the same roots, it's obvious that united we are the more powerful ,
    i guess stupidy is something we can't avoid


  24. Ok Saad,
    Please understand the first line of that Moroccan constitution in English is different from the Arabic version, the language of that religious leader in North Africa, or the Maghreb.

    Maghreb is not Morocco The Maghreb is a wider area as Morocco is. That is why Morocco has problems on all its borders. You guys simply do not know how to translate. Algeria is Maghreb too, maybe Western Sahara is Maghreb - but this countries are not Moroccan.


  25. Anonymous1:20 AM

    i told you in arabic the official name is "mamlakat" wich is "kingdom"

    and about the border, yes we have problems because some foreigner came, drew lines and said thats my part...and you want to define a country by this fake lines ? i can't agree...

  26. Hey Anonymous, (Saad?)

    I must admit I did make a mistake. Sorry. I did not read well what was written in the Moroccan constitution: "the Kingdom of Morocco constitutes a part of the Great Arab Maghreb".
    That is, ofcourse, a very wise phrase. My rant is useless. Please accept my apologies.

    By the way. The Algerian constitution says: Algeria, being a land of Islam, an integral part of the Great Maghreb ..

    And the preamble of the RASD constitution says: "The Sahrawi people ...proclaim: their belief in the necessity of building a Great Maghreb..,

    So everybody in the Maghreb agrees on the issue.
    Ofcourse M6 can not be king of the Magreb, for Algeria and RASD are republics. He can be a POPE. But not a king. These days there should be a division between religious and political powers.

  27. Anonymous8:14 AM

    yeah you are right, religion is something stupid and dangerous, that must not interfer with politic, but well we did not have, voltaire or montesquieu in morocco, still some to way to go ;)


  28. Anonymous8:43 AM

    good lord, did you two just agree on something?

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