Monday, November 06, 2006

Moroccans celebrate the Green March

Visitors to Morocco who have not done their history homework might well be wondering why so many Moroccans had a holiday today. 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 Western Sahara. They brandished Moroccan flags, banners calling for the "return of the Moroccan Sahara," photographs of the King and the Qur'an; the color green for the march's name was intended as a symbol of Islam. As the marchers reached the border Spanish troops were ordered not to fire to avoid bloodshed.

So today the Moroccan people have been celebrating the 31st anniversary of the Green March that helped the country peacefully retrieve it southern provinces from Spain under the Madrid accords signed in 1975 by Morocco, Spain and Mauritania .

According to the Maghreb Arabe Press ... The march was devised in a philosophy of peace to liberate and reunite the provinces to Morocco and has been a reference in peaceful struggle of the people for their rights on their land.

The move was designed by the late King Hassan II and was successful thanks to selflessnes of the people, which spontaneously partook in the liberation process.

The liberation of the provinces, known as the Sahara, was made in the wake of the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on October 16, 1975, that confirmed that the Sahara was not a "Terra nullius" and that there have been legal and allegiance between the Kingdom of Morocco and the territory.

The late King Hassan II wrote in the fore word of the book "La Marche verte": "I sought inspiration and hope in the tenets of the Holy Koran, in my past as a patriot and militant for the independence of my country, and my attachment to peace ".

350.000 volunteers, including 10% of women, armed with the sole Koran and faith, coming from all the regions of the Kingdom converged to Tarfaya (southwest), waited for the signal of the late King, who in a speech to the nation, on November 5, 1975, okayed the starting of the march.

On Thursday, November 6, 1975, the Moroccan flag was hoisted on the Sahara. Marchers turned to the direction of Mecca and thanked the Almighty for the retrieval of the territory, which was an important stage in the completion of Moroccan territorial integrity.

King warns on Sahara state terror threat.

Importantly today King Mohammed VI delivered an anniversary address that contained some interesting observations.

"At national level, we shall continue to consolidate our country’s democratic edifice through advanced regionalization, especially as the latter is the cornerstone of the modern state we seek to strengthen.

At Maghreb and regional levels, we are showing our strong commitment, through this approach, to the unity of the Arab Maghreb and our determination to spare the region, the Sahel as well as the North and South Mediterranean the dire consequences of balkanization and instability that might result from the creation of a phantom entity.

Indeed, the region could sink into a quagmire and become a breeding ground for terrorist groups, as well as for smuggling and human and weapons trafficking. These are the perils Morocco seeks to ward off by suggesting the autonomy solution, as a democratic approach."

Analysts believe the king's remarks were meant to underline Rabat's eagerness to win support from Western powers and Arab and African states for its plans.

On October 31, a resolution adopted unanimously by the U.N. Security Council proposed no new substantive steps for resolving the dispute.

It simply reaffirmed the body's support for a solution that would "provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara".



Anonymous said...

You forgot to say that still today, thirty one years later, there are many people from the "Moroccan Sahara" ("Western Sahara" as it is known outside Morocco) that are claiming to have a free nation.
This is an unsolved problem and there are very few countries (if there are any) that have admitted that Western Sahara belongs to Morocco.
Anyway, congratulations for your blog, a very interesting one (except when it gets so biased as today did).

Suzanna Clarke said...

The View from Fez has long supported the aspirations of the people of the Sahara region and does present that view. There are many sites that support the Polisario.

Omar Gheriani said...

I agree with the the comments of Max, at the same time I wish that the Sahraween agree to belong within the Kingdom of Morocco.
There should be a solution.
I like your blog.

Anonymous said...

Nice blog, but yeah, I wish you presented a more balanced view of the Sahara conflict. The Green March was not so much a celebration of Moroccan patriotism as an abrogation of international law.

Anonymous said...

Well, Will, I guess one could argue about what is international law. Since there is no strong entity to enforce it, this law is really just words. Sad. But I also think that people make a strong case for law. 350,000 Moroccans standing on the soil, year 1975, is a strong statement in favor of Morocco. Does the Polisario have a legal standing? Yes, self-determination. The only problem is that they are not getting support from anyone on this. Tony