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Western Sahara

Sahrawi Realities: The Remembrance of Gdeim Izik (Part 2)

[The eviction of Gdeim Izik. Image by mexaraui/Flickr.]

[This is the second article in a two-part series that seeks to reflect on the ways in which social mobilization, creation of space, and new modes of resistance intersect within the Sahrawi community. Between these grooves are nuanced conceptions of Sahrawi identity that are colored by varied experiences but also a shared memory of external domination and displacement. The series is informed by research conducted during a weeklong stay in the Dakhla refugee camp, located about one hundred miles southeast of Tindouf. A week is nowhere near sufficient to fully grasp the over forty years Sahrawi refugees have lived in these conditions and away from their land. A week, ...

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The State of the Western Sahara

[Image of Sahrawi women protesting against Moroccan occupation. Image from WesternSahara/Flickr.]

In June 2013, Maghreb Page co-editor, Samia Errazzouki, and I produced an electronic roundtable of articles describing various historical and political contours of the Western Saharan conflict, opening with a brief summary of its history:  Beginning as a post-colonial dispute between regional powers in the 1970s, the conflict developed and was exacerbated as North Africa became an entangled site of Cold War rivalries. Following the 1975 Madrid Accords, in which Spain conceded on its promises to the Sahrawi people on honoring their right to self-determination through a referendum, Spain instead split the territory between Mauritania and Morocco. By then, the ...

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New JADMAG: Beyond Dominant Narratives on the Western Sahara

Beyond Dominant Narratives on the Western Sahara Edited by Samia Errazzouki and Allison L. McManus  Electronic copy: $3.99  Paperback: $6.99  In the past few decades, both media and academic scholarship have marginalized the Western Saharan conflict, rendering it largely insignificant within regional and global political imaginations. Beginning as a post-colonial dispute between regional powers in the 1970s, the conflict developed and was exacerbated as North Africa became an entangled site of Cold War rivalries. Following the 1975 Madrid Accords, in which Spain conceded on its promises to the Sahrawi people on honoring their right to ...

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HRW Report on Tainted Trials and Statements Obtained by Torture in Morocco

[Human Rights Watch logo. Image from hrw.org]

[The following report was released by Human Rights Watch on 21 June 2013.] Morocco’s courts are convicting defendants based on confessions they claim were obtained through torture or falsified by police, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The country’s judicial reform agenda needs to include stronger safeguards to ensure that courts discard as evidence any statement made to the police under torture or ill-treatment. The one hundred-page report, “‘Just Sign Here’: Unfair Trials Based on Confessions to the Police in Morocco,” examined five trials between 2009 and 2013 of a total of seventy-seven people – including protesters seeking ...

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The Last Colony: Photo Essay on Western Sahara

[Djimi Elghalia, vice president of the Sahrawi Association of Victims of Grave Human Rights Violations Committed by the Moroccan State (ASVDH), pictured near El-Ayoun city, in Moroccan controlled Western Sahara. Photo by Andrew McConnell.]

[This is one of seven pieces in Jadaliyya's electronic roundtable on the Western Sahara. Moderated by Samia Errazzouki and Allison L. McManus, it features contributions from John P. Entelis, Stephen Zunes, Aboubakr Jamaï, Ali Anouzla, Allison L. McManus, Samia Errazzouki, and Andrew McConnell.] [The photos above were taken by Andrew McConnell, who also wrote the following text.] The territory of Western Sahara is Africa's last open file at the United Nations Decolonization Committee. The year 2010 marked the thirty-fifth anniversary of the Moroccan invasion which forced former colonial power Spain to withdraw without holding a UN sanctioned referendum on the ...

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Global Geopolitics of the Western Sahara: Beyond Dominant Narratives on the Western Sahara Roundtable

[Gathering of Saharawi troops, near Tifariti (Western Sahara), celebrating the 32nd anniversary ot the Polisario Front. Image by Saharauiak/Flickr.]

[This is one of seven pieces in Jadaliyya's electronic roundtable on the Western Sahara. Moderated by Samia Errazzouki and Allison L. McManus, it features contributions from John P. Entelis, Stephen Zunes, Aboubakr Jamaï, Ali Anouzla, Allison L. McManus, Samia Errazzouki, and Andrew McConnell.] Immediate steps shall be taken, in Trust and Non-Self-Governing Territories or all other territories which have not yet attained independence, to transfer all powers to the peoples of those territories, without any conditions or reservations, in accordance with their freely expressed will and desire, without any distinction as to race, ...

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US Policy Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Beyond Dominant Narratives on the Western Sahara Roundtable

[Image of Moroccan tanks on display at the Sahrawi Museum of War near the Tindouf Camps in Algeria. Image from Saharauiak/Flickr.]

[This is one of seven pieces in Jadaliyya's electronic roundtable on the Western Sahara. Moderated by Samia Errazzouki and Allison L. McManus, it features contributions from John P. Entelis, Stephen Zunes, Aboubakr Jamaï, Ali Anouzla, Allison L. McManus, Samia Errazzouki, and Andrew McConnell.] The official narrative on the origins of the Western Sahara conflict is often presented as a case of an Algerian-supported African decolonization effort in which a national liberation movement (Polisario Front) representing an incipient Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) is seeking independence in the formerly Spanish-occupied ...

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Maghreb Media Roundup (May 24)

[Imiter residents demonstrate near Africa’s largest silver mine. Photo courtesy of Mamfakinch.]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Maghreb and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Maghreb Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to maghreb@jadaliyya.com by Thursday night of every week.]  Algeria Deux quotidiens, Mon Journal et Djaridati, interdits de parution Mourad Hachid reports that two Algerian newspapers are censored because of their reporting on Bouteflika’s illness. RSF Dénonce le refus de publier deux quotidiens Reporters Without Borders denounces the Algerian government’s censorship of reports on ...

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HRW Report on Repression and Reform in Morocco and the Western Sahara

[Human Rights Watch logo. Image from hrw.org]

[The following report was released by Human Rights Watch on 31 January 2013.] Moroccans still await tangible improvements in human rights a year after the adoption of a progressive new constitution and the election of an Islamist-led parliament and government, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2013. Even as government ministers talked of reform, the courts imprisoned dissidents during 2012 under repressive laws curtailing free speech, and after unfair trials. The police used excessive force against demonstrators, and abused the rights of migrants and advocates of self-determination for Western Sahara faced continuing ...

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Inaugural Issue of Journal on Postcolonial Directions in Education

[Rural school in Zimbabwe. Image by Sokwanele-Zimbabwe via Flickr.]

Postcolonial Directions in Education is a peer-reviewed open access journal produced twice a year. It is a scholarly journal intended to foster further understanding, advancement and reshaping of the field of postcolonial education. We welcome articles that contriute to advancing the field. As indicated in the editorial for the inaugural issue, the purview of this journal is broad enough to encompass a variety of disciplinary approaches, including but not confined to the following: sociological, anthropological, historical and social psychological approaches. The areas embraced include anti-racist education, decolonizing education, critical multiculturalism, ...

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Divesting from All Occupations

[Sahrawi women protest against the Moroccan-built wall that divides the Western Sahara. Image from Flickr/Saharauiak.]

In response to ongoing violations of international law and basic human rights by the rightist Israeli government of Benyamin Netanyahu in the occupied West Bank and elsewhere, there has been a growing call for divestment of stocks in corporations supporting the occupation. Modeled after the largely successful divestment campaign in the 1980s against corporations doing business in apartheid South Africa, the movement targets companies that support the Israeli occupation by providing weapons or other instruments of repression to Israeli occupation forces, investing in or trading with enterprises in illegal Israeli settlements, and offering assistance in other ways. ...

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Sahrawi Realities: Space, Architecture, and Mobility of Displacement (Part 1)

[This is the first of a series of articles that seek to reflect on the ways in which social mobilization, creation of space, and new modes of resistance intersect within the Sahrawi community. Between these grooves are nuanced conceptions of Sahrawi identity that are colored by varied experiences but a shared memory of external domination and displacement. The series is informed by research conducted during a weeklong stay in the Dakhla refugee camp, located about one hundred miles southeast of Tindouf. ...

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The Tindouf Refugee Camps: A Moroccan’s Reflections

[Note from the Maghreb Page Editors: In coverage of the Western Sahara, the preferred adjective describing the conflict is “forgotten.” The Sahrawi are a forgotten people, their struggle for justice framed as a relic of a bygone age of liberation movements and decolonization. Such nostalgic portrayals impress the anachronistic nature of the subject; the forty-year virtual impasse in negotiations suggests that world leaders are content to relegate the Western Sahara issue to the history books. Realpolitik ...

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June to June: The More Things Change, The More They Remain The Same

A year is a long time in politics, especially those of contemporary Egypt. In June 2012 the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) appeared to be firmly in the saddle. Acting in league with elements in the Supreme Constitutional Court, it prorogued parliament and then unilaterally amended the constitution, bolstering its powers while undermining those of the about to be elected President. In the ménage à trois of officers, Brothers, and “secular” oppositionists, the latter two were in a tactical ...

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Roundtable Introduction: Beyond Dominant Narratives on the Western Sahara

In the past few decades, both media and academic scholarship have marginalized the Western Saharan conflict, rendering it largely insignificant within regional and global political imaginations. Beginning as a post-colonial dispute between regional powers in the 1970s, the conflict developed and was exacerbated as North Africa became an entangled site of Cold War rivalries. Following the 1975 Madrid Accords, in which Spain conceded on its promises to the Sahrawi people on honoring their right to ...

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Lost in the Debate: Beyond Dominant Narratives on the Western Sahara Roundtable

[This is one of seven pieces in Jadaliyya's electronic roundtable on the Western Sahara. Moderated by Samia Errazzouki and Allison L. McManus, it features contributions from John P. Entelis, Stephen Zunes, Aboubakr Jamaï, Ali Anouzla, Allison L. McManus, Samia Errazzouki, and Andrew McConnell.] Following the French military intervention in Mali earlier this year in January, and the hostage crisis in Algeria that soon followed, major world powers briefly oriented ...

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The Cost of Authoritarianism: Beyond Dominant Narratives on the Western Sahara Roundtable

[This is one of seven pieces in Jadaliyya's electronic roundtable on the Western Sahara. Moderated by Samia Errazzouki and Allison L. McManus, it features contributions from John P. Entelis, Stephen Zunes, Aboubakr Jamaï, Ali Anouzla, Allison L. McManus, Samia Errazzouki, and Andrew McConnell.] The Moroccan regime's reaction and that of its supporters’ to the United States' attempt to extend the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) ...

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The Last Colony: Beyond Dominant Narratives on the Western Sahara Roundtable

[This is one of seven pieces in Jadaliyya's electronic roundtable on the Western Sahara. Moderated by Samia Errazzouki and Allison L. McManus, it features contributions from John P. Entelis, Stephen Zunes, Aboubakr Jamaï, Ali Anouzla, Allison L. McManus, Samia Errazzouki, and Andrew McConnell.] Western Sahara is a sparsely-populated territory about the size of Italy, located on the Atlantic coast in northwestern Africa, just south of Morocco. Traditionally ...

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World Social Forum Highlights Shock Doctrine in Tunisia

An estimated fifty thousand people from five thousand organizations in 127 countries spanning five continents participated in the World Social Forum (WSF) in Tunisia over the past week. By choosing to come together in Tunis, this year’s Forum evoked the sprit of the 2011 revolt that inspired uprisings around the world. The WSF also focused attention on the complicated status of that revolt, which in Tunisia has not brought the political or economic changes many hoped for. Conversations with local ...

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Chomsky on the Western Sahara and the “Arab Spring”

One of the most significant consequences of the term “Arab Spring” has been the evocation of a constructed timeline that placed the protests in the North Africa and the Middle East within a limited spectrum of time and space. The desire to enforce problematic nominal labels produces a narrative that shapes the way certain events are understood and discussed. The result is the acceptance of what is or is not considered legitimate dissent and the denial or reduction of historically embedded forces that ...

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Moroccan State Propaganda and the Western Saharan Conflict

On the first day of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights’ visit to the Western Sahara “to assess the human-rights situation in both Western Sahara and the Algerian refugee camps where displaced Sahrawi live,” Kerry Kennedy, the president of the center, gave an account for the Huffington Post. Her piece details a crude encounter with the DST (Moroccan intelligence services) after her delegation witnessed DST officers brutalizing a peacefully protesting Sahrawi woman. Plain-clothed ...

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Notes from Western Sahara: An Interview with Fatma El-Mehdi

As the Arab Spring spread across several countries in the Middle East and North Africa, American philosopher Noam Chomsky argued that it did not originate in Tunisia, as is commonly understood. “In fact, the current wave of protests actually began last November in Western Sahara, which is under Moroccan rule, after a brutal invasion and occupation,” Chomsky stated. “The Moroccan forces came in, carried out - destroyed tent cities, a lot of killed and wounded and so on. And then it spread.”  The ...

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