Monday, June 19, 2006

Drawing Dissent

I thought I would repost some of the more interesting political cartoons available at (cartoons and cartoon archive):

The first is an interesting commentary on Morocco's 'autonomy' project. It shows Khallihenna (Ould Rachid) trying to trap the bird of peace into a CORCAS box with a Moroccan label on it. CORCAS is Morocco's royal advisory council for Saharan affairs and Khallihenna is the chair. He's reportedly in charge of getting Morocco's autonomy project off the ground, but according to this cartoon he's ruining the chances for peace.

The second one is -- I think -- saying that Morocco is using 'tribalism' (the match, let me know if I've mis-translated) to set fire to Western Sahara (the box of matches). This could be a reference to Morocco's cynical use of Khatt Al-Shahid (Polisario reform movement) communiques, though Khatt Al-Shahid is pro-independence -- i.e., more Polisario than Polisario. It could also be reference to Moroccan manipulation of intra-tribal factionalism in Polisario's elite leadership (i.e., between members of the Rgaybat Al-Sharq tribal confederation) or inter-tribal tensions between the other tribes (e.g., Tiknah, Rgaybat Al-Sahil and Awlad Dulaym) versus the Rgaybat Al-Sharq.

Another commentary on Khallihenna, referencing his previous work with PUNS, the Party for Sahrawi National Unity created by Spain in the 1970s to counter Polisario. When Spain left in 1975/1976, most of PUNS joined Polisario. Before November 1975, Khallihenna even made some speeches defending independence. Now he works for Morocco to legitimize another occupation through CORCAS.



alle said...

i guess the middle one is about tribalism. at least the arabic text is "al-qabaliyya", meaning just that -- "tribalism".

playing on tribal divisions has of course been morocco's game all along, both because that weakens polisario unity and undermines any prospect of nationhood, and because morocco's claims to western sahara rests on the real or supposed historical allegiance of individual tribes. it's interesting to notice how, in almost every moroccan text on polisario or tindouf, they point out what tribe everyone involved belongs to.

i like the cartoons btw, but i've never been able to figure out where they're from. algerian press?

sahara-watch said...

Ooops, I meant to say "Tribalism" (not "trivialize") in the original, which is now corrected. I hit the wrong button when spell checking. Should have proof read it.

I belive that Morocco's claim to Western Sahara rests on ties to the Tikna tribes c. late 1880s, although its funny that most main defectors like Joumani and Brahim Hakim were from the Rgaybat, which Morocco claims runs Polisario and represses the Tikna in the camps. As in all arguments, Morocco tries to have it both ways.

All the cartoons are from and made by the site's creator, Khatry Beirouk.


Karim said...

Isn't the Alaoutite dynasty from Tafilat, basically the Sahara?

They are sahrawi, just not from the same tribes as the ones they are fighting now.

The Sahrawi should first disassociate themselves from the military Algerian regime that caused the brutal Algerian civil war in which countless people were slaughtered.

Sahrawi should understand that the Moroccan government abuses everyone not just them.

As a Moroccan, I will protest abuses by the oppressive Moroccan gov against the Sahrawi people but I can not stand with polisario when it gets backing from an equally oppressive regime in Algeria.

Is there any Sahrawi in this blog that I can discuss this issue with in a civil manner?