Hunger-Striking Sahrawi - to Hospital UPDATE
An Award Ceremony was held in New York City on October 20, 2009. Year 2009 Award Recipient Aminatou Haidar.
Most notable quote from speech: "When I go home I may be arrested right in the airport and all my papers may be confiscated."
Other quotes from speech:
"In 1987, when I was 20 years old, I was picked up by the Moroccan police, and then locked away in a secret center at El Aaiun, the capital of Western Sahara, where I spent four years without any judicial process. Throughout that period I was entirely isolated from the outside world, badly fed, deprived of proper hygienic facilities, and with physical and psychological torture, including threats of rape and indeed execution. These conditions lasted during the whole period when I was subject to this horrible forced "disappearance."
"In order to observe law but also to urge self-determination for the Sahrawi people, non-violent demonstrations unfolded on May 21, 2005 in the cities of the Western Sahara and also southern Morocco...
"Three young Sahrawis were killed while being beaten up on the street by the Moroccan police. The same also happened to some Sahrawi students, murdered last December.
"These human rights demonstrators have had their homes looted, have been subject to acts of intimidation, arrest, torture, loss of work, thrown out of university enrollment, and, indeed physical removal to towns within Morocco. Forty of them, including students, are in prison right now, as I speak. Seven have been arrested in this month of October.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I myself, thanks to my work for justice for my people, was beaten in the street on June 7, 2005. After being treated at the hospital at El Aaiun, the Moroccan police arrested me on the basis of a false deposition. I was sent to prison, where I suffered from horrible conditions. For four years I have been not been able to work, and my salary has been impounded. When I go home I may be arrested right in the airport and all my papers may be confiscated."
"Ladies and gentlemen, the right of our students to education is being frustrated by repressive practices. Our educational institutions have virtually changed into police stations, where the students are subject to arrest and intimidation.
"The economic crimes committed by Morocco in Western Sahara are no less important than the violation of their political rights. Our natural resources have undergone a vast campaign of pillage. Particularly, our fisheries and phosphate mines have been exploited by Morocco, contrary to resolution 1803 of the U.N. General Assembly in December 1966, relating to our permanent ownership of our natural resources.
"Ladies and gentlemen, it is time for the international community to renounce its attitude as a passive spectator with regard to the abuses of the Sahrawi population.
"All we ask is the right which the United Nations, and also the United States, have repeatedly agreed that we are entitled to, namely a free vote on our future political status.
November 1975, the Moroccan government organizes "The Green March", a mass demonstration to force Spain to hand over the disputed Province of Sahara to Morocco. 350,000 unarmed Moroccans and 25,000 soldiers. The Green March also marks the beginning of Moroccan settlement to Saraha. The Moroccan settler population now outnumbers the indigenous Saharawi population by as much as three-to-one.
Once occupied, the Saharwi people have been struggling for liberation, led by the Polisario Front, who fought a 16 year long war for liberation.
In 1987 The war with Polisario ended with completion of the Moroccan Wall, 1,600 miles long, running through Western Sahara and southeastern Morocco. This wall consists of sand and stone walls, and trenches -- about fifteen feet in height, with bunkers, fences and landmines throughout. Military bases, artillery posts and airfields dot the interior behind the wall at regular intervals, and radar masts and other electronic surveillance equipment scan the areas in front of it.
Lots of negotiations, lots of promises, interventions from Algeria(pro-Polisaro), US and Saudi Arabia(pro-Morocco). The Sahrawis are still waiting. More than 150,000 of them are living in the limbo of refugee camps in neighboring Algeria.
Morocco has been exploiting their fishing grounds and phosphate mines. And of course oil -- in late 1990s new fields were discovered off the coast, deals with Oil companies were cut in 2001.
In a November 2009 speech by the Moroccan monarch King Mohammed VI finally ruled out any idea of independence.
"One is either a patriot or a traitor."
Aminatou Haidar has been fasting at Lanzarote Airport after being expelled to Spain's Canary Islands by the Moroccan authorities. Denying Aminatou entry to Western Sahara - denying Aminatou to return home. Morocco confiscated her passport because she refused to define herself as Moroccan on an official form.
This is a particularly high-profile issue in Spain. Concerts were organized with the express purpose of pressuring the Spanish Government and the EU to intervene. Every government is spewing something regarding this situation, all "hopeful" or "resolution within days".
Of course US has a hand or two in all of this (historically and currently). Democracy Now: "A personal friend of King Mohammed VI and the head of Morocco's secret services are in Washington holding talks with the Obama administration."
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