In Focus, World

The political crisis of Europe in Western Sahara

Western Sahara is the last colony in Africa which is at present in the process of decolonization, as required by the United Nations. It is situated on the Atlantic coast in North West Africa.

Airy Sindik Mejia Lara

It is bordered to the south by Mauretania, to the north by Morocco and to the east by Algeria. Its territory is the Sahara Desert and its capital is El Ayoun, near the sea in the north.

In Western Sahara there are important natural resources including 85% of the world’s stock of Phosphate, used in the production of agrochemicals, one of the most destructive of industries.

But this is not the only resource that is found in this forgotten territory, there are also oil, gas, the biggest fish stocks in the world, and the richest fosses of water in North Africa.

Europe has profited from these since the territory was proclaimed a colony by Spain in 1885, and more extensively since its occupation in 1934. Years have gone by for this land and no-one has stopped lying about the Saharaoui people.+

During the time of Franco’s dictatorship, on the 17th and 18th of July 1936, while he was planning his coup against the Spanish Republic, he promised independence for the Saharaoui people in exchange for their support.

Deceived and still dreaming of independence, they began the first rebellions against the Republican Government in the African colonies of Spanish Sahara, Ceuta, Melilla and Tetuan, from where boats later set sail in support of Franco.

Once in power, the dictator forgot his promises, which became the first betrayal. On the eve of Franco’s death on November 14th 1975 the tripartite agreements were signed, selling Western Sahara to Morocco and Mauretania, the second betrayal.

During the transition from Francisc o Franco’s dictatorship to so-called democracy in Spain, King Juan Carlos promised independence, and once again betrayed the Saharaoui people, the third betrayal.

On the 14th November 1976 Felipe Gonzalez also promised independence, and when in power betrayed the Saharaoui people for the 4th time.

In recent times Zapatero and Trinidad Jiménez  declared themselves in favour of Western Saharan independence, but once in power created a strategy of censorship, and sold arms to support the Moroccan occupation of Saharaoui territory, the fifth betrayal.

In 1991 the United Nations promised to hold a referendum on self-determination and independence for the Saharaoui people within 8 months, in exchange for a cease-fire between the Polisario Front and Morocco.

The United Nations Mission for the Referendum for Western Sahara (Minurso), spent 18 years in the territory without making the slightest improvement in living conditions or human rights in the areas occupied by Morocco in Western Sahara, the sixth international betrayal.

The Saharaoui people have been betrayed by all the different brands of western ideologies.

Monarchy, dictatorship, the left, the right and the International  agencies have betrayed Western Sahara and its people.

These are the so-called alternatives that the West has offered as a peaceful solution to the conflict, while in reality the agonising situation has been perpetuated.

The conditions which existed before the Saharan protest camp of Gdeim Izik, 15 Km from the city of El Ayoun included: torture, disappearances, persecution, the rape of women and girls; the economic. Beside that  there was the political and cultural marginalization of the Saharaoui people; the razing to the ground of homes, plunder, a multitude of beatings, mass graves and ‘black prisons’, all at the hands of the occupying Moroccan police and armed forces.

Innumerable violations of human rights could be cited, but taken together the conditions during the last 35 years in the territories occupied by Morocco in Western Sahara amount to genocide, the attempted extermination of the Saharaoui people.

The  Saharaoui protest camp at Gdeim Izik in Western Sahara, which lasted from its beginning on Oct. 9th until its violent eviction on November 8th was an ultimatum to the international community, to respond urgently.

They appealed to the Red Cross, UN peacekeepers, the international media and international human rights organizations, wishing to unblock the decolonization process and achieve independence.

In Gdeim Izik the slogan of the Saharaouis was: “ I don’t want a house or a job, all I want is independence and for the Moroccans to leave”.

At the meeting of the UN Security Council on Tuesday Nov. 16th 2010, the French response was once again to veto Minurso on the grounds that they do not have power concerning human rights.

Spain plays down the death and extermination of the Saharan people, prioritizing the economic and strategic interests of its friend Morocco.

London is paralysed by the student rebellion against the raising of university tuition fees. Italy finds itself hostage to rubbish collectors dominated by the mafia, who blackmail the extreme-right government of Berlusconi. This led to massive demonstrations demanding Berlusconi’s resignation, which   were brutally repressed by the government.

Greece and Ireland face an economic crisis, and in Portugal a national strike has been announced. France has blue-collar workers on strike, while in Spain strikes by white collar workers are ended by the army.

The European Union, championed by Germany, speculates with fishing rights and energy exploitation in this occupied territory Western Sahara.

Even with the evidence contained in reports by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, the European Union hesitates to carry out an investigation of what happened during the eviction of Gdeim Izik, and later in El Ayoun, after nightfall during the military curfew, when there were tortures in public, and many murders in Saharan homes at the hands of the Moroccan police and occupiers.

The consequence of the European economic and political crisis is murder and genocide in Western Sahara. This is the price to be paid for a failed decolonization. We should not be surprised or shocked if all these betrayals leave the Saharan people only one alternative. 35 Years patience waiting for a peaceful decolonization process to happen is a lot of patience.

We are on the eve of war, and maybe the powerful in Europe are even hoping for it, to regenerate their economies.

The price of colonialism is war abroad. Convenience for Europe at the cost of concentration camps and military encampments in Western Sahara, to maintain the businesses that support the European Union. The economic crisis in Europe costs the most painful ruin in other countries. Here in Europe governments fall and politicians come and go. In Western Sahara the Saharaoui people’s very existence as part of humanity is at stake. The West boasts of democracy while it exports its battlefields. These are the consequences of a global system in crisis.

(Translated by Graham Douglas –

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