The day after President Bush met with the King of Morocco, the US is moving the UN to fully recognise Morocco’s claim to the Western Sahara. This is an absolute disgrace. Shame on the UN, on the US, on Spain and on Europe. Shame on all for allowing this. Western countries who say they stand for freedom are selling the Saharawis for their own gain.
In spite of a letter to President Bush from several members of congress urging him to tell the King of Morocco to hold the referendum the UN has been demanding for many years now, the US is now moving the UN to recognise Morocco’s claim to the Western Sahara.
The Western Sahara is a desertic country sparsely populated by nomadic tribes. It is rich in phosphates and was the last Spanish colony in Africa. In 1975, with General Franco very sick and a very unstable and weak political situation in Spain, Morocco claimed the Western Sahara and sent a “civilian” invasion. Under the circumstances the Spanish military did not dare use force against this invasion and just retreated and let Morocco take over.
The Saharawi people formed the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), evacuated the women, children and elderly to refugee camps in southern Algeria and the men organized an armed resistance called Polisario Front. For 25 years the Saharawi people have lived in exile in refugee camps and the Polisario has fought a guerrilla war with Moroccan forces.
In the meanwhile the rest of the world couldn’t care less about these people who have lost their country. This is a great shame and the responsibility for this falls on many shoulders. Spain, as colonial power, has not honored its responsibility to ensure self determination for the people of the Western Sahara. While the very unstable and volatile political situation in Spain in 1975 might justify their inaction, today it is inexcusable. Europe by extension. Morocco, of course, but one cannot expect a government which does not respect its own people to have any respect for another people. The United States who has sold the freedom of the Saharawis by supporting Morocco in this situation in exchange for military bases in Morocco and political support in the Middle East. What a shame! And, finally, the United Nations who have approved many times a referendum for the self-determination of the Saharawis while letting it be blocked by Morocco and without actually doing anything to see that it actually happens. Shame on the UN! In the meanwhile, Morocco keeps settling Moroccan people in the Sahara so that if a referendum ever takes place there will be more Moroccans than Saharauis. (By the way, this is what China is doing in Tibet: settling Chinese by the thousands in Tibet).
Yes, I know in the real world nobody is going to help the Saharawis if they have nothing to gain from it but I guess I am still an idealist who still thinks people’s freedom should mean more than our political gain and some phosphates.
Anyone care to defend this latest action of the US?