The anniversary of the Green March on Sunday, November the 6th, is a special day for Moroccans. It is a day when the Kingdom unites are in stressing the renewed mobilisation of the King and people to not only defend but also continue the development of the Moroccan Sahara
The Green March was a popular march of enormous proportions. On November 6, 1975, approximately 350,000 unarmed Moroccans converged on the city of Tarfaya in southern Morocco and waited for a signal from King Hassan II to cross into the region of Sakiya Lhmra.
They brandished Moroccan flags and Qur'an as well as carrying banners calling for the return of the Moroccan Sahara, photographs of the King and the Qur'an; the colour green for the march's name was intended as a symbol of Islam. As the marchers reached the border, the Spanish Armed Forces backed down and Spanish troops also cleared some previously mined zones.
Last year King Mohammed VI visited the Sahara to mark the beginning of a new march for the development of the Saharan provinces. Al Alam, an Arabic-language paper, said at the time,"The country's advanced regionalisation is a democratic response from Morocco to the desperate attempts of those who want to challenge its historical and legitimate right to its southern provinces,"
This year is unusual in that King Mohammed VI is on a State visit to Senegal and a statement from the Ministry of the Royal Household, Protocol and Chancellery says that the Sovereign has decided to deliver his speech on the occasion of the celebration of the 41st anniversary of the Green March, from the city of Dakar.
"Having chosen a country other than Morocco, an African country, Senegal today, to give a traditional historical discourse is symbolic of the nature of the relationship between Morocco and Senegal, "said Senegalese President in a statement to the media, pointing out that this initiative shows "the choice of His Majesty to speak to Africa and Africans." President Macky Sall added: "His Majesty the King has a vision of Africa, and what should be the Africa of tomorrow. It also has ambitions for the continent."
The Moroccan media is united in reminding Moroccans that "there are very few events in the history of a country that transcend time and generations to remain vivid in the memory of all, old and young, there are few events that bear a historical grandeur and a sense of destiny and belonging. Morocco has such an event. That was the Green March, the unprecedented march, both symbolic and popular, of 350,000 Moroccans who walked hundreds of kilometres to peacefully recover a part of their country, the Western Sahara, which was under Spanish dominion."
No shots were fired, not a single drop of blood was shed and Morocco retrieved its Sahara. That was in 1975.The North Africa Post concludes, "The centuries-old historical, geographical, and ethnical ties that existed between the Sahara and Northern Morocco that were broken by colonialism for decades were stitched again thanks to the genius idea of the late king Hassan II, the architect of the epic, who thought out and planned every detail of the March".
However, the Green March celebrations are not all about politics. The Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) is organising a “gala match” to celebrate the 41st anniversary. Festivities will take place at Sheikh Mohamed Laghdaf Stadium in Morocco’s Saharan Capital, Laayoune, with many legendary international footballers in attendance.
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Former Argentine football icon Diego Armando Maradona, Liberian George Weah, Ghanaian Abedi Pele, Brazilian Rivaldo, Italian Alessandro Altobelli, have announced as attending. Many former Moroccan footballers will also be participating.