"violent clashes between the Moroccan police and the Moroccan settlers on one side and the civilian sahrawis on the other side in the occupied Dakhla city amid the heat of the so called Dakhla festival on the 26th of February 2011.protesters…"
" the desperate fishermen
“The only looser from all this fishing game are Sahrawis. Look, Moroccans get a huge profit from the fish agreement with the EU and all the rest is taken away by the Moroccan…"
" the desperate fishermen
the judge looked at him and said astonished “ God has created a camel to live in the desert because it can support thirst and hunger for months till it’s owner can find…"
It was dark in the very early morning when we heard sparkles of flashy lights and tear gas wafting around in fumes down the Moroccan army helicopter and army troops surrounding us. I jumped up from my place at the first rifle shot, and the sound coming down the helicopter calling on high speakers" you must leave the camp, leave the camp now, or your life is at risk; you're totally under siege from everywhere" i thought it a nightmare when suddenly I woke up to find myself in front of the police and military crazy truncheons.» that hurts!!!!" I got it right around my arm and down my belly. "that's not a dream".
I ripped off the tent back cloth which was made of old mundane garment worn by our women here in western Sahara and run away. It was an unusual morning to wake up with sticks struck against your body unmercifully. "get the mother fucker back!! he's running away" a policeman shouted from the tent front door. As i was fleeing away to rescue myself, women, children, men run on every side screaming and shouting, running or crawling looking for themselves or looking for their beloved family members. the sight was very fuzzy, and the breath became heavy. the enemy was everywhere, and we turned into a sweet sandwich into their Dracula teeth. I was about to faint away when all of a sudden i stepped over a woman carrying her baby. I leaned my foot to avoid hurting her, she looked at me and said "help me get up, please, my baby is in the tent" I took her up but her baby was under her arm rapped up in a small blanket. the gas had troubled her brain and she thought her baby was still in the tent. I grabbed her up and took the baby in one arm and took her by the other.as i was moving outside the camp, the vision seemed to be cleared up and the sahraoui four by four cars suddenly appeared coming from every direction to rescue the miserable campers. i waved vehemently to one coming just by us. he stopped and came to help mounting up the woman and her baby.
to be continued
because the amount of words is limited, i'm putting my story in chunks. this is chunk 2
He insisted on me to get into the car, but I told him I need to help getting women, children and old men out of this hell, and as I was heeding back to the camp, a flock of sahraoui people came running towards the car. The driver packed them up, and drove away. Back in the camp, things now changed to the worst. Out of all that torture inflicted on women and children, we had to defend ourselves and our people. Some Sahraouis grabbed sticks, others grabbed sauce pans they had found scattered around, and others like me started stoning them so we could have the time to rescue vulnerable people. On the other side, the enemy started demolishing the tents, and the military trucks moving towards us in slow motion. We adjusted our head ribbons (lathma) to cover our noses from the tear gas knowing that if we succeeded into pushing them back the military trucks would come to crush us down into the ground. From the west north of the camp, other trucks suddenly started shooting hot water to the angry sahraoui crowd who saw their mothers, sisters, children screaming scare fully. We felt we had to rescue them in the first place. The confrontation was far unequal, but as any occupier, the Moroccans were, as they had always been, a bunch of cowards who can only attack unarmed people. The 17 years war they had with the Polisario armed guerrillas had all been a failure. They never won a single battle, and part of that failure was because the Moroccan soldier had no issue to fight for. They knew they had been invading a neighbouring country, and they always had a sort of torment of conscience. This time, though, the fight, they thought, would be as easy as a pie. But the fight back was very fierce to the extent that they had to pull backward and hid behind their transparent covers. It’s strange that sometimes nature can feel your pain and decides to help you;
the wind suddenly took all the smoke back to the shooters direction, and though they masked themselves but it was so strangling to them that they couldn’t stand it. They started loosing control and at that time we were able to get them back further. Swallam, a friend who was beside me, said angrily that we go towards them and beat up their asses. I told him not to, because what we were up to at that very moment was to rescue the women, children and old people. He looked at me and said.” Ok, then go and get them away while we fight the bastards back”, but all the Sahraouis talked and shouted at the same time, run to every direction and fight back to defend themselves. Already some Sahraoui women and children got encircled by the oppressive forces and you could see them laying flat under the police and military boots; they were beaten unmercifully and that was the time when we had to intervene as quickly as possible even if that could have cost us our lives. It was in fact, the only way to save the women and children from that lethal torture, and this time we had to punish these ruthless forces. We beat some policemen hard till they fainted out. At their sight, other coward policemen got scared and backed away, even some others fled away running and looking back every time a stone got struck up their asses. We evacuated the women and children who were unable to move out of the ground, some women were lying down about to die, but they were determined not only to survive but also to fight back the enemy. We told them that they had to go away and be transported by the sahraoui 4/4 cars. I carried some children and women on my shoulders and I could say that some of them were dying, or they might die on their road back home. Now that the police run away, it was time for the military JMC trucks to advance driving towards us.
That’s when we fled away as they were pointing their old rifles towards us and I could hear some live bullets now being fired upwards or downwards to scare us away. It was not a fair game, and that was evidently the best time for any occupier to flex his muscles.
Laauin, the city, was about 15 kilometres away from Gdeim Izik camp, and there up to sky already the black smoke was coming out from different places. The city was burning, and me and some friends kept running back to the city. I tried to contact some friends on the cell phone, but all the communication lines were shut down. A lot of occupier administrations were burned; they were the incarnation of the occupier authority and they were a legal target to the sahraoui militants. I run for about 7 kilometres before a 4/4 car stopped suddenly and the driver behind the dust called me to jump up and get a ride back to the city. There were a lot of injured sahraouis inside the car, and some were lying down motionless. The driver informed me that a lot of people were left lying on the ground, and probably could have died, but the police vans had to collect them up to hide their crime. Passing by the road, we had to swerve sideways as some dead bodies were left on the road or the road sides, and as we saw some military trucks coming towards us, we had to take the desert road which the sahraouis are master of, and looking back through the window and dust, the trucks suddenly stopped to pick up the bodies. The camp or back to town, it was the genocide. At the entrance of the city, big rocks, burning wheels and sahraouis chanting pro-polisario slogans and lifting up the sahraoui flag. The camp hadn’t been put up for socio-economic reasons; rather it had been an outcry from the people of western sahara against the Moroccan occupation, but the sahraouis had had to say otherwise so as to make the world pay attention to their premeditated forgotten issue.
The camp had been set up to remind the world that the sahraouis are under an horrible occupation, and that they want freedom and independence.
The driver headed to the hospital which was down the city, but we had to change our way as the road was blocked, and every time we could hear a bomb exploded some where and the smoke came up from every where now. It was really the chaos. As we approached the hospital, another Moroccan type of force was waiting for the injured Sahraouis to beat them up, and take them to prison even before the got any treatment, but what was the benefit of the hospital when the Moroccan doctors refused to give any assistance the injured people. Medicine is a human job and a doctor is supposed to cure an enemy before a friend. Some other Moroccan doctors called the police to inform them of the injured Sahraouis rather that supply any assistance. In front of such a bad situation, we had to drive back to any where we could shelter the injured people. The driver took them to a Sahraoui family house and we put them in. as I went out, the 4/4 car had already gone. The confrontation with the police forces continued for about the whole day. The phosphate administration was put under fire, and a truck carrying fish was lit up on fire. It was a message to not only the Moroccans to stop plundering the Sahraoui resources, but also to say to the outside world and to all those who conspire with the Moroccans and participate in the crime to stop their dirty game.
And over the streets and allies, the Sahraouis kept rioting chanting independence slogans, and the police forces firing bullets and driving towards the crowd to crush who ever dared stand up in the streets. The news of injured soldiers and policemen had driven them crazy and decided to revenge on peaceful demonstrators, but because they were afraid to get out of their vans, they started inciting the Moroccans settlers, apparently teenagers and ex-criminals, to fight back allowing them to carry white weapons, knives, sticks and swords. It was, though, a funny thing to see as we started laughing at that anarchic view; the soldiers inside the vans and Toyota land cruisers and in the front row the Moroccan civilians coming towards us encouraged and pushed to beat us. At the police station, when they brought in an armed Moroccan by mistake, he was to be released immediately and told to go back and continue beating up the Sahraoui rioters. Straight in the night, the forces started to break into the houses. All Sahraoui houses in all districts have been targeted up the moment I’m writing those lines with the collaboration of the Moroccan settlers, but none knows up to now the size of this genocide. More than 200 are still missing. How many of them have died. None knows. What I’m sure of is that 10s of Sahraouis died, thousand’s been harshly beaten and hundreds imprisoned or missing and I’m still alive badly injured hiding somewhere surrounded by a big prison: Western Sahara.
We set off in the late afternoon to the other side of the river open to the Atlantic sea. We knew that the water had gotten a little warmer and that was a sign for a good fishing night. We packed up our rods and the fishing materials in our bags, passed by the nearest shop to get the necessary food before we drove away to the “Zbeira” beach - some 38 miles just down the other side of the peninsula river- we had to be there just before the sun down. From the cliff above and down the beach one could see the city lights just turned on ready to illuminate the streets and allies. We shared the luggage, me and my friend, so to be able to go down the cliff amid the big rocks down to the river waters. It was an adventure to go down that risky cliff with all the heavy burden of rods and bags on our backs and hands. A single slip would be painful and you can never tell what would really happen, but we had enough experience to get down safely. I set up the small tent, and started making a Sahrawi tea; the first thing to have to taste before a Sahrawi usually first get to do any work, while my friend, and as usual, prepared the rods adding a small light tube at the top of the rods so when they catch something you can spot it bending down declaring a fish catch even if you are laying down a long distance away. Before even drinking the first cup of tea, Swallam had already cast his line, fixed his rod on the rod holder pointed down into the beach sand, and walked back tohave a cup of tea. It got a little cold and the wind began blowing gently from the North West side of the river. It was already dark when I cast my line connected to a double hooked line with different baits.
At that fishing spot, usually Sahrawi fishermen caught “Corbin” or “Dorad”, and that’s what made us choose that particular place wishing to come back home with some good fish to make our families eat what their sea has always been able to offer. The coasts of Western Sahara are among the richest coasts on the planet and contain the most valuable types and high quality fish.
They say that not all fishing days are good days, and that’s probably what seemed to be happening to us during the first hours. We were around midnight and not a single fish got tempted by our different baits. My friend said “If you want to catch fish, you have to think like fish”. We were unsuccessful to get a single fish and that meant for him that we had to change our tactics so as to be able to lure the fish to eat our baits. Another two hours of tempting tactics failed to bring any results, and every time my friend used a new tactic he had to justify it hoping it’d have immediate results, but in vain. It was already two o’clock in the morning and nothing came out of that river sea.
I got tired and hungry and decided to relax, and have something to eat, and as I was preparing the food, there up the cliff, some men came out of a car that swerved just at the top of the cliff. They put on the lights of their head torches and came down the cliff. It seemed that they were familiar with the small dangerous paths between the rocky passages down the Zbeira beach where we were fishing. We didn’t panic as it was usual to see fishermen coming in the late night searching for a better fishing spot, and that’s what in fact made them come to our place in that late hour. They were, in fact, Sahrawi men looking for a better fishing spot. They said it had been two days that they were fishing into different places but they hadn’t been able to catch any fish, and that they had decided to come to our place wishing to find anything. These men were professional Sahrawi fishermen and fishing for them was meant for a living. Unlike us, they fished to make a living; Fishing was the only source for them to get some money and feed their families. As they came down, they immediately set up their rods and scattered to different places; some chose to cast from over the rocks while the other two seemed to prefer to cast from the sandy beach. I served them tea and laid down in the small tent to find myself amid asserting calls to wake up and have breakfast. I suddenly had slept.
I joined them for breakfast the following morning, while the sun was just rising above us for a new day. I was still trying to wake up yawning through while all of them looked very desperate. It was the full morning and still caught nothing.
“They’ve left us with nothing” one of them said
“Who are they?” I asked
“These bunch of Moroccans” another replied
“Not only Moroccans, but also this huge fleet of European fleets scattered around our seas” my friend retorted
“At your age, fish used to come up the water waiting only for our baits, but that was in the old times when I was as young as you are now before we were invaded by the Moroccans. These were beautiful times” the old man said and then proceeded “Western Sahara waters is like the story of the stolen camel”
“What’s that story about” I asked
“There was a man who stole a camel he said he had found lost in the desert. He raised it until it became ready to be sold at the market. At the market, there suddenly appeared its owner who knew the camel from a mark he had put at his tail difficult to be spot. He recognised his camel and decided to call the judge. Standing before the court, the camel stealer said “Mr: the judge, this is my camel. I found it a small camel lost in the desert and I rescued it. This is me who watered it, feed it, and provided it with all the welfare till it became this big. It’s my camel and none is allowed to take it from me”