Hobby horse that is…
Before my trip if someone had asked me which country occupies foreign territory while claiming that it is willing to discuss its independence (and has done so for over 30 years), provides tax incentives and builds housing to encourage its citizens to move to these territories, justifies the use of its massive military superiority by pointing to attacks by ‘rebels’ with homemade or improvised weapons, etc, etc. You and I both know what my answer would have been- heck, we don’t even bother with the names anymore- the news stories all refer to ‘The occupied territories’ and we all know they’re talking about the Israel/Palestine mess. I mean, what else could they be talking about?
What about The Western Sahara?
Flying that flag in Morocco or The Western Sahara can get you put in prison.
I’m going to leave at that- almost- since I’ve made a point of avoiding much in the way of religious or political rants (These are some of my favourite things… ) But, I think that it’s telling that when I was in the capital, Laayoune, they had just had their largest demonstrations since occupation that included a number of demonstrators killed and many government buildings burnt out. A search of cnn.com gets one hit about a Spanish man killed in the city (no evidence of it being related to the demonstrations) and bbc.co.uk glories in 3 hits, all relating to the demonstrations. Even Aljazeera manages only 14 hits in the last 6 years!
So, why is it that you seemingly can’t put a foot down on a university campus without some overly perky young lady or goofy young guy (yes- next time you have the chance see how right I am) hitting you up about Palestine, but no one wants to to touch Western Sahara?
The single glaring difference between the two situations just makes that question all the more uncomfortable.