Hate mail

Debate is good, and if anyone has any sensible responses to my posts, or genuine points for discussion then I’m happy to engage with them in the comments sections under the relevant articles. For example, it’s perfectly reasonable to argue that Western Sahara and the Sahrawi might carve a future for themselves as part of a greater Morocco by accepting Moroccan sovereignty and lobbying for political reform, along with other groups in Morocco that are hungry for change. A Western Sahara integrated into a greater Morocco could be a key catalyst for change involving, for example, a transition to a constitutional monarchy, greater recognition of minority groups and regional cultures (e.g. in the Rif), and so on. I, and all the Sahrawi I’ve ever met, would probably argue against such an approach on a number of grounds, including that it is probably naive to think that such lobbying for reform would result in anything other than more oppression of the Sahrawi by the Moroccan state. However, such a proposal wouldn’t be outlandish or stupid, and would deserve to be considered and debated.

Interestingly, the above argument is not one that I’ve ever heard or seen put forward by supporters of Morocco’s claim to Western Sahara. Instead, there is an ocean of stupidity and dishonesty separating such arguments from the usual responses I receive from the pro-Morocco lobby. These responses typically consist of assertions that Morocco is good and the Polisario and Algeria are bad,  fabrications about Polisario links to terrorism and slavery, misinformation about the nature of the Sahrawi refugee camps, misrepresentations of the ceasefire terms and the role of the UN, the rewriting of history, assertions that the vast areas of Western Sahara that are controlled by the Polisario (in which I work) are actually a UN buffer zone designed to protect Morocco, personal attacks, thinly veiled threats, and the establishment of internet hate groups to attack bloggers and journalists who challenge Morocco’s position. Morocco’s internet imperialism is so widespread that pretty much any mention of Western Sahara anywhere on the web now elicits an ejaculation of nationalistic Tourette’s from those tasked by the Moroccon state with monitoring and responding to material that challenges its hegemonic aspirations in the Sahara.

The purpose of this page is provide a forum in which nationalists and lobbyists can post their propaganda and vitriol, thus leaving the rest of the blog free for proper debate. So come on folks, fire away. The more outlandish, personal and vitriolic the attacks, the better.

Here’s one to start you off, from “Ahmed” (aixratat@yahoo.fr) posted in response to a page on my personal website that describes my interests and activities in Western Sahara.

Just tell me something : who’s the “president of western sahara democracy”?
Let me help you : Mohamed Abdel Aziz, he’s not coming from Sahara, but From Morocco, Marrakesh exactly. This guy parents are still leaving there.

Mister NICK BROOKS : don’t come to Morocco we don’t need you even if we are poor.
You know what? In Morocco there about 30th milion of people there who believe that Sahara is a part of the country, and this holy land will not be sold or given to anybody.

May God help you all to see really who’s the lier, or may God punish you all in the memory of 10 thousands of moroccan, kidnaped, tortured, and sacrified by polisario (west sahara terrorists of the officiel west sahara state).

Just a moroccan

Just to give you an idea of the appropriate form.

So come on then, fire away!

4 Responses to Hate mail

  1. khadija says:

    with a great interest am following your activities as a propagandist for the Polisario front .you seem able in my view to convince a large number of the european national opinion about the nature of the conflict of he western sahara region. but as far as iam concerned you have a lack of knowledge of the historical facts since 1884 of the whole area , that is why most of reserchers found your articles biaised and far way from any objectivity thta a proper reseracher should have.
    suppose that Morocco has annexed by force the WS territory, i wonder why don’t you , even once , have the courage to mentio the nature of the polisario front , the violation of human rights inside Tindouf camps , the involvement of a number of Polisario official in smugling and hard drugs dealing as confirmed recently by Spain .

    iam advising you to turn your face and your interest to Irish people in nothern ireland who have been fightin g for their independance for decades in vain , iam equally advising you to take it easy as your articles are nothing but a repeat of th same old propaganda .
    allow me to conclude by saying that you are just a propagandist who is making use of the situation for finantial purpuses.
    as to the future of the WS region it is in no doubt within the hand of moroccans , nobody is or will be able to spoil one more time th unity of Morocco , as to you yoy may talk as long as you wish , nobody believes your argument as you have proved to be a professioal propogandist pro both algeria and polisario …..

  2. Nick Brooks says:

    Thanks for getting the ball rolling Terry (a bit of virtual cross-dressing again I see). Resistance is futile!

    [This comment from the email address of the mysterious “Terry Batcher” – a gestalt entity of the Makhzen, if my suspicions are correct.]

  3. Anas Ameziane says:

    I believe that Sahrawis are basically of Arab origin (Hassnawi). North Africa including the whole of Sahara is historically Berber.As Amazighi, I would kindly ask you, and your fellow sahrawis to return from where you forefathers came from (Yemen). Your forefathers were just illegal settlers. We will pay for the camels to take you back home.

    Anas Ameziane

  4. Nick Brooks says:

    That’s an interesting approach. You’re basically advocating the ethnic cleansing from North Africa of non-Berber populations. Of course the Sahrawi are not the only population in North Africa that are not purely Berber. There is the small matter of the Arab invasions of North Africa in the 7th century (using the western/christian calendar), which started with the taking of Egypt by Mulsim Arab armies and culminated with the Muslim conquest of the Maghreb and the spread of Isalm into the Sahel. While Islam spread partly through its adoption by existing indigenous peoples, the territorial conquest of North Africa by Muslim armies and rulers was accompanied by a fair bit of population movement. So your prescription for the ‘re-Berberisation’ of North Africa would also require the expulsion of other Arab elements of the region’s population, presumably to the Arabian peninsula where the Arabs originated. This would include the King of Morocco, who traces his ancestry back to the Prophet (who certainly was not a North African Berber). As a Berber nationalist you might quite like this idea, in which case I’d ask you at least to be consistent and apply your policy of ethnic cleansing consistently. Of course it would then be natural to extend the same policy to those descended from immigrants coming from elsewhere, for example during the Roman period.

    However, there is a problem, in that there has been a lot of mixing between the original Berber populations of North Africa and subsequent immigrant populations, although this will admittedly vary from location to location. You might be able to apply modern genetic profiling techniques to look at the extent to which an individual is Berber as far as their genetic heritage goes (but I’d suggest you seek specialist advice there, if any respectable geneticists would be prepared to engage on this issue, which I very much doubt given the motivation behind any such profiling). You may then be able to define a threshold of ‘Berberness’ for those of mixed heritage.

    Going back to the Sahrawi, I suspect you’d find that a lot of them are very Berber. While the migration of the Beni Hassan from Yemen is an important part of the Sahrawi’s history as they see it, they see themselves as a mixture of Arab and Berber, and there are plenty of Berber words in their language – enough to make it quite distinct, as anyone who has arrived in Western Sahara armed with a smattering of Arabic soon discovers. There is also a significant sub-Saharan component in the ancestry of the modern Sahrawi population. If you applied the Berber test, you might find that a lot of the Sahrawi should stay put, and that you’d be buying camels for a significant proportion of the modern North African urban population and ruling elite instead. That could be a lot more camels that you’d budgeted for.

    By the way, I’m not Sahrawi, but British, and there are plenty of people with similar ideas here, although they don’t usually go that far back in time with their preferred citizenship tests. If they did I’d probably have to send my head to Scandinavia, my legs to France, my arms Germany, and scatter the rest of me randomly across continental Europe. Maybe I’d send my balls to Rabat as a joke.

    As for the legality of the settlement of the proposed Arab forebears of the Sahrawi, I’m interested to know to what legal framework you’re referring. The conquest of various parts of North Africa by Greeks, Romans and Arabs presumably wasn’t carried out ‘legitimately’ within existing North African or Berber legal frameworks either. So again, consistency please. This point is particularly ironic, since those Sahrawi exiled by the conflict with Morocco have been expelled from their homeland to make way for Moroccan settlers whose settlement is pretty clearly illegal under existing international legal frameworks. These frameworks may have their flaws and limitations, but are better than the forcible reshaping of the world by sending people ‘back’ to where their ancestors came from, particularly when many centuries have passed and there has been significant mixing of populations, meaning that you dont’ know where to send people.

    As for your belief in the origin of the Sahrawi, well, belief is fine for some things, but one person’s belief should not be used as a reason for ethnic cleansing. We’ve seen where that gets us. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, but not their own facts. And it is a fact that the Sahrawi have not lived in isolation from other populations since their ancestors arrived from Yemen. It is a fact that we do not know precisely how much of their ancestry (however you might quantify it, if such a thing is possible) is Arab and how much is Berber, but that the former is not 100%. This makes your argument rather problematic, even if one were to accept the principle of ‘re-Berberisation’.

    Thanks for posting this in the appropriate thread. 😉

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