Agenzia Giornalistica
direttore Paolo Pagliaro

The Italian Parliament and the Sahrawi

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The Italian Parliament and the Sahrawi

Dec. 10 – A life in refugee camps "within inhospitable territories," a life that becomes harder whenever "the High Commissioner for Refugees is forced to reduce aid flows, making social organization harder." "Adherence to the political solution is fading," with serious international consequences. Besides, "we gathered evidence of human rights violations on the part of the Moroccan government, and we compiled a particularly dense dossier that Senators De Cristofaro and Ferrara will make available to the Commission on Human Rights," commented Stefano Vaccari, President of the Intergroup Parliamentary Friends of the Sahrawi People, summed up the mission of a delegation of parliamentarians to the Sahrawi refugee camps. Vaccari accompanied Senators Elena Ferrara and Maria Spilabotte (Pd), Maria Mussini (mixed), Giuseppe De Cristofaro (Sel) and parliamentarians Patrizia Masters, Giuseppe Romanini and Renzo Carella (Pd). During the visit, which took place November 29-December 2, they met with Adda Hmeim, governor of Smara Wilaya, and with the local population; they also visited the refugee camps, the facilities (dispensary, kindergarten, primary school , provincial hospital), and the Wall of Shame build by Morocco in the 1980s. The delefation spoke with various ministers and with Mohamed Abdelaziz, President of the Saharawi Republic. The wall is "incomprehensible and unacceptable for us; it’s 2700 km with millions of landmines and a daily cost of $4 million," says Vaccari. And on the government of the Sahrawi Republic, Vaccari commented: "President Abdelaziz asked us to keep alive the political option, to act within the EU to ensure that negotiations and talks can resume, and take steps push forward the diplomatic path, because military action worries everyone, and would open the doors to Islamist fundamentalism." The risk is that of a new ISIS-style organization would emerge from the conflict, while the Saharawi people have already been waiting for years to express themselves in a referendum on two options: autonomy or Morocco. "We agreed on writing a joint letter to the High Representative Federica Mogherini to ask for a specific commitment from the EU, which could play a leading role in reaching an agreement on the referendum - insists Vaccari - The intention is to arrange for a visit to the occupied territories in 2015 to check on living standards. We invited parliamentarian representatives to come here in 2015, and we’re now preparing a motion to recognize the Polisario Front as the only official representative of the Sahrawi Republic." Renzo Carella was very direct, in identifying the "guilty" of the current isolation of Sahrawi refugees: "The area is the only colony that survives to date (the territory was Spanish, ed); we have a moral obligation towards this problem: we cannot accept that France and Spain, with their interested and ambiguous attitude, an support Morocco. Religious fundamentalism is already a reality in the region, and we cannot risk that it starts recruiting in the area." 

The Saharawi people is the result of a long fusion process. Before Spanish colonization, Sahrawis were a nomadic people, divided into several tribes that in times of emergency and need found unity, building on the awareness of belonging to the same people, with a common origin. Their current structure emerged in the 13th century, when the Maqil Arabs, from Yemen, arrived in the region after crossing North Africa, merging gradually and not without resistance to the local Berber population. The combination, Berber and Arabic, saw Islam and Arabic become the dominant religion and language of the tribes, combined with the warrior tradition of the desert nomads. This creates a social division between warring tribes and tribes devoted to religious culture, mutually benefitting each other. One result is the complete Arabization of the Sahrawi society. The spoken language, the Hassaniya, is very similar to Classical Arabic, and very different from the dialects spoken in Morocco and Algeria, and has spread to almost all of Mauritania. The Sahrawi people were nomadic, a characteristic they gradually lost with Spanish colonization, the Moroccan military occupation and the forced exodus to neighboring countries. Society is based on the patriarchal family, under the authority of the eldest male relative. Polygamy is permitted, but rarely practiced. When several families more around together, they form a fraction, sharing the movement and surveillance of the animals. More fractions form a tribe, and more tribes together a confederation. Animal husbandry provides most of the subsistence means. Staple food is made from milk, while dates, barley and millet integrate the diet. Meat is consumed rarely. Craftsmanship is very specialized and focuses on the essential tools for everyday life. Trade, orginally very developed, was gradually restricted by the European conquest.

(© 9Colonne - citare la fonte)