Tuesday, June 20, 2006
SOUTH AFRICA AND THE WESTERN SAHARA
On June 16th, Malainin Lakhal, S.G of Saharawi Journalists and Writers Union, addressed more than 50,000 South African youth who were attending a Rally organised by the African National Congress (ANC) Youth League, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Soweto massacre and the national youth day. His remarks are found below.
The following arrived to us thanks to "Sahara-Update · News from and about Western Sahara."
Speech Delivered by Malainin Lakhal, S.G of Saharawi Journalists and Writers Union, on the 16th of June in Durban, South Africa
Comrades and brothers South Africans,
Let me first of all pass you the best wishes and sentiments of brotherhood from your brothers, Africans, the people of the Western Sahara, and comrades in Polisario Front.
We are here today to share with you, like brothers and comrades usually do, the celebrations of the 30th anniversary of the world-famous uprising of Soweto, the legend and the turning point in the South African struggle for freedom and dignity. We are here to pay tribute, with you, to all those who made the history of this beautiful African land, to all those who left us sacrificing their lives for the sake of the one thing that count most for all Africans and for all human being, FREEDOM.
Dear South Africans, your brothers Africans in my Country, Western Sahara, had always been by your side since the early 70. We have always believed in your rights, in your power, in your faith and in your determination. For that we supported your movement from the beginning, using all moments of contacts and all meetings with international actors to raise the claims and struggle of the African National Congress, to condemn the Apartheid, and to inform our interlocutors about the sufferings of our brothers Africans in South Africa.
Now, in 2006, let me tell you that we are proud of saying: Yes we participated as we could in our brothers' South Africans struggle against racism, against oppression, and dictatorship. Yes we are proud that our brothers are giving the proof to the entire world that when the people get power, when they get their freedom and dignity back, they can build real democracies. More than that you proved to the entire world that when the people get power, even after bitter struggle and sacrifices, they can forgive, they can build a society on tolerance, coexistence, and on equality of opportunities, rights and duties, Yes, Your brothers Saharawis, my people, are proud of you and will always be.
Going back to the event that is gathering us here and now, let me tell you that there is a tremendous and striking similarity between the struggle you once waged for freedom, and the struggle for self-determination and independence my people are still undertaking, now in 2006.
My country, Western Sahara is still colonised by the Moroccan kingdom. Moroccan colonial authorities are daily oppressing demonstrators, arresting innocent Saharawis, including kids and old persons, torturing people in the middle of streets, deporting hundreds Saharawis outside their land. The Moroccan colonial authorities killed hundreds Saharawis, buried people alive in common graves, imprisoned babies and their mothers for years in secret detention camps, used internationally banned bombs such as Napalm and other weapons against civilians. All these atrocities are practiced by the Moroccan oppressive forces in front of a deaf and dumb international community, I have to say.
Like you, brothers, the Saharawi people refused this injustice and decided to struggle for their legitimate rights with all means and in all places and locations. We waged an armed struggle since 1973 against Spain then against Morocco which is backed by France. After 16 years of war we forced Morocco to negotiate and accept a UN-African Unity Organisation supervised peace process in 1991. The UN is planning to organise and monitor a democratic and transparent self-determination referendum for the Saharawi people. BUT Now after 15 years of obstacles erected by Morocco and France, the territory is still under occupation, Morocco is still rejecting all peaceful solutions, refusing to respect international law and is rejecting all UN Security Council resolutions.
Now, your brothers in the occupied territories of the Western Sahara are waging since the 21st of May 2005 the biggest popular uprising the region ever witnessed, it is since then called the Intifada of independence. The coincidence is that, like you, we have our own Soweto, a Saharawi neighbourhood called Maatallah, in the occupied capital of the Western Sahara, which is the field of daily demonstrations for freedom and daily confrontations with Moroccan colonial police and Army. And like you we have now our Saharawi Hector Robertson, a Saharawi Youngman, Hamdi Lembarki, who was beaten to death, by the criminal Moroccan police last October the 30, 2005, in the middle of the street in Maatallah. Like your experience, this uprising in the Saharawi occupied cities is making the deference and is shaping the turning point of the Saharawi struggle for freedom. Moreover, the Saharawi people in the occupied territories unilaterally decided to nickname their neighbourhood, Soweto.
Dear Brothers and comrades,
Your struggle for freedom inspired us for years and inspired all the oppressed people around the world, and now your struggle for development, prosperity and democracy is giving us the faith that with the determination, faith, hard and serious work and strong will, Africans can build real democracies and can be an example to the world on tolerance, and on success.
Thank you very much for having allowed us to share with you this great moment and long live South Africa, long live South Africans. Long live African Brotherhood.