domingo, 12 de abril de 2009

SADR primer minister addresses international activists during conference on Moroccan wall

In the meeting hall of the National Union of Saharawi Women (UNMS) in the February 27th refugee camp, the prime minister of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) made a surprise appearance to speak with the attendees of a conference on the Moroccan-built wall that divides the Western Sahara.

“I apologize for interrupting this conference,” began Prime Minister Abdelkader Taleb Omar, “but I think it is important to talk about yesterday’s events.

“First of all, I want to thank you all for your presence. Yesterday’s International March against the Wall of Shame was an utter triumph, thanks to the participation of people from Africa, Europe and the Americas...Every time people like you come to show your solidarity, we get a fresh breath of freedom.”

Abdelkader went on to speak about the explosion of a landmine during the march, which occurred when a group of Saharawi youth broke off from the 3,000 other protestors and began to approach the heavily-fortified Moroccan wall. In the explosion, one young Saharawi lost his foot, and four others sustained burns and shrapnel wounds.

“You have all now seen, in a very direct way, the horror that is produced by the presence of the Moroccan wall,” stated Abdelkader. “You have seen how it can so easily convert life into death.”

During the protest, young Saharawis became aggressive and brazenly threw rocks toward the Moroccan wall while Polisario officials unsuccessfully tried to stop them.

In the Saharawi camps, the difference of opinion between generations concerning the most effective route to regaining their lands and securing their independence is apparent. The prime minister spoke about this in his address.

“We are dedicated to following a peaceful path to independence,” he assured, “but as you can see, the Polisario Front receives pressure from a number of groups, especially the young Saharawis, who beg us to take the next step and return to armed struggle.”

The prime minister expressed some hope that the day’s events might spark more international attention

“God willing, this horrible incident will motivate the United Nations to change its approach the conflict. The Saharawi people want a peaceful and democratic solution…but if our peaceful efforts continue to be ignored, the region will return to war and strife.”

The Wall of Shame

The prime minister’s discourse took up the majority of the time that had been allotted for the informational session regarding the Moroccan-built wall, which was to be presented by Baba Moustafa Sayyid, the director of the Saguia il-Hamra Institute for Strategic Studies.

Nonetheless, Baba managed to give a brief, but very informative presentation on the history of the conflict of the Western Sahara and the construction of the wall, which was especially useful for the activists, many of whom were visiting the Western Sahara for the first time.

“Just as deadly as the war between the Saharawis and the Moroccan monarchy was and continues to be the complete black-out of international information regarding the conflict and the construction of the wall,” insisted Baba.

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