7 Jan 2011

Don't go to Morocco

Here is my letter below to Stroud Life after Neil Carmichael wrote in his column that we can learn lots from that country. It was not that that angered me but rather his gloss over the very serious issue of Western Sahara.

Photo: From the Western Sahara Campaign - see here - see also my previous blogs on this topic by clicking on the label below.

Neil Carmichael writes of his Christmas break in Morocco and that lessons can be learnt from that country (Stroud Life 5/01/11). Well I am sure, but I cannot accept his warm words about their democracy and 'adherence to the rule of law'.

Morocco annexed Western Sahara after Spain pulled out in 1976, and still refuses to cooperate with a decolonization process. This is despite international condemnation and more than a 100 United Nations resolutions that insist on the Saharawi people’s right to self-determination. No state in the world has recognised the Moroccan annexation of Western Sahara. Just before Neil Carmichael visited Morocco, a campaign was launched in London under the title of "Morocco: sun, sea, sand and torture” to highlight human rights abuses in occupied Western Sahara where Morocco plans to extend tourism. Campaign groups are asking tourists to boycott holidaying in Morocco.

Neil Carmichael will be aware, as I wrote to him, that the Moroccan Security Forces took violent action to disperse protestors in November. This led to deaths, riots and ongoing violence. A report from Human Rights Watch found that Saharawi detainees had been beaten and abused and the violence has been condemned by the United Nations Security Council. The European Parliament has now called for an independent UN investigation.

The Saharawi people face daily discrimination with those daring to challenge the occupation facing detention, abuse and torture. Western Sahara is a forgotten conflict and the 'Don’t Go To Morocco campaign' is intended to make holiday-makers aware of the situation there and to take it into consideration when booking their holidays. After all, ‘sun, sea, sand and torture’ is not what people want when they go on holiday.ˆ

Cllr Philip Booth, Stroud District councillor for Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe ward

11 comments:

Anatolia said...

Nowhere in your post do you talk about the unprecedented violence faced by the Moroccan authorities when dismantling the camp which led to the death of 13 Moroccan officers, and that because they refrained from using live ammunition. Would take you seriously when you mention that some of these officers were slaughtered like sheep by your loved Polisario supporters.

between-the-lines said...

Johnny Rotten sang it. Jello Biafra sang it. Holiday in a prison planet, so long as it's cheap, mmm yes please!

Will we ever change?

Anonymous said...

Anatolia - that is not the view of independent observers - but hey your post does not address issue of self-determination......

Anonymous said...

Like the between the lines blog line: "When offered a choice between A and B, remember there's a whole alphabet out there ..."

Anonymous said...

Morocco annexed Western Sahara after Spain pulled out in 1976..well sahara was moroccan before spain colonized it, still is and always will be .so mister author , go write about pedifile white men in europe and leave MOROCCO alone.

Anonymous said...

The last comment is just not true - A 1975 advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice on the status of the Western Sahara held that while some of the region's tribes had historical ties to Morocco, they were insufficient to establish "any tie of territorial sovereignty" between the Western Sahara and the Kingdom of Morocco.

No country recognises Moroccos right to Western Sahara.

Philip Booth said...

Let us hope that there is an independent UN investigation that can get to the bottom of this - but all indications from independent observers seem to point to concerns re Morocco. Indeed it is shocking that there is no resolution to this conflict despite calls by so many.

between-the-lines said...

Oh don't worry anon12.26, I do choose another option and so can everyone. Don't visit Morocco, don't boycott Morocco. Any holiday it's just so much better, cheaper and less aggro to simply stay in your own country.

Alain said...

Don't go to Morocco because they are imperfect. Also, do not go to France because they mistreat and expel European Roma. Avoid the USA since there is still mistreatment of Native Americans and they recently invaded Iraq and have an unindicted war criminal as a former President. Please never set foot in Uganda or Senegal where homophobia runs rampant and even corpses of suspected Gay people have been unearthed. I think we should also avoid Italy whose President has been cavorting with an underage belly dancer from Morocco and never set foot in Poland since they allowed torture in secret prisons of persons sent there secretly from Guantanamo. or obvious reasons, Libya, North Korea, Iran and Pakistan are also out. Stay home? Home is also imperfect. Te only option is engagement and discussion with Morocco and everywhere else in our rahter pathetic world. Morocco is, on balance, a wonderful country with much to admire - go find out for yourself and help the country maintain its stability by creating to job growth for youths through your tourist euros!

Andy said...

The Don't go to Morocco is about highlighting a forgotten conflict - 100 UN resolutions and no progress. But take your point there are lots of other issues to highlight - hopefully each will have it's own campaign - this is the way the Saharawi campaign people want to take it and I will be supporting them.

Elias M said...

The word “territory” is inevitably linked to the ideas of boundaries, occupancy and ownership. The historical and legal rights to land when talking about Morocco is in my view not so easy to determine. The popular opinion is that the Sahrawi people have an inalienable right to independence, but we have to ask the question, on what basis do they have this right? I am not asserting an opinion on the subject either way but I do feel it is important to examine the issue using a multi-faceted approach. The finding by The International Court of Justice in 1975 doesn’t really elaborate on how their assessment was undertaken, that is how they assessed the correlation between the historical ties of tribes within the territory to Morocco and Morocco’s claim of territorial sovereignty over that region. Also the International Court of Justice has been undermined by the ambiguous positions of major world powers such as the US and Russia; Morocco also has strong support of its position from the Arab League.
These conflicting positions inevitably raise the issue of indigenity and citizenship. Morocco’s ethnic identity is complex, formed of native Berbers, Arabs who settled in the 7th century, peoples from the numerous countries surrounding Morocco, as well as the various colonial powers which reigned in Morocco over the centuries, from the Romans, to the French, to the Portuguese and of course, the Spanish. There are also areas within the belly of Morocco which are still under “occupation” by the Spanish – Ceuta, for example (not forgetting the Canary Islands). The point I am making is there is no clear and definitive evidence in determining who “truly” owns Western Sahara, particularly in consideration of Morocco’s complex and complicated colonial past.