By Siham Byah
I’d like to tell you a little something about Morocco. There’s this zone south of Morocco
called the Sahara that Morocco has been trying to annex since Spain was forced to withdraw from it in 1975 but whose locals have since been fighting for independence. Said disputed territories have been subject to international litigation since the aforementioned date.
Meanwhile, Morocco has had full access to “govern” those provinces while the leadership of the Sahraoui separatists sought refuge in neighboring Algeria.
On the other hand, Morocco is one such country that had long since refused to have diplomatic relations with Israel and whose king Mohamed 6th was/still is the president of the Jerusalem committee, a division of the Arab league (an absolete notion considering Morocco is technically not Arab) up until recently. The largely unpopular decision to start diplomatic relations with Israel “coincided” with Trump’s rash last minute decision (literally during his last weeks in office) to “grant” Morocco sovereignty over the disputed territories. A decision which has since been challenged by many congress members in a letter to president Biden to withdraw and rescind.
One does not have to be a genius to see right through this quid pro quo. Generally speaking Morocco, as a regime, did not at all represent the will of the People, the vast majority of which are utter die hard Palestine supporters, and is sending a clear message that it will do what it takes to keep the spirit of capitalism and the interests of the oligarchy alive, as the disputed territories are rich in natural resources, most of which (as is the case with northern natural resources) goes to the private coffers of the oligarchy while the people wallow in poverty.
So, Morocco, strategically placed at the western most and northern most tips of the African continent, at only about 8 miles away by sea from Spain, the gateway to Europe, holds yet another important winning card to thwart the international community and prevent it from ever calling it out on its repeated and violent repression of its citizens and myriad of violations of human rights: the immigrants. Having mastered the art of both, tit for tat as well as the quid pro quo strategies, Morocco takes its role of a gatekeeper very seriously and enforces a very strict scrutiny over immigration, thus keeping Europe “safe” from the hordes of Africans whose countries it had plundered, explored, depleted and left in ruins, in exchange of continued aid and the carte Blanche to do as it sees fit to whip its citizens into submission. So Europe turns the blind eye on the continued cries for help from severely repressed Moroccan citizens so long as Morocco continues to protect it from the consequences of its own greed, colonialism and imperialism.
This delicate balance has recently been shattered when the president of the separatist government, Brahim Lghali - who, in all fairness, is also accused of crimes against humanity vis a vis his involvement in the torture of Moroccan POWs - was admitted into a hospital in Spain for treatment. Morocco, naturally, wants his head on a spike, Spain won’t deliver him on ethical grounds citing: Humanitarian reasons, so Morocco, today, the first decent weather day after Ramadhan lockdown, allowed a mass exodus from its shores of over 3000 people to cross ny sea to the Spanish territory of Ceuta, a Moroccan city technically and geographically but a colony under Spanish sovereignty. It is Morocco’s way to teach Spain a lesson as it seems to have forgotten the exact terms of their previous agreement, thus absolving it of having to deliver its end of the bargain.
3000 precious lives throwing themselves in the Mediterranean in hopes of reaching the other side where the grass is greener. 3000 lives, mere pawns in this high stakes game of thrones including hundreds of unaccompanied minors, at the mercy of uncertainty, flirting with an imminent watery grave while the Moroccan coastguard did not lift a finger to secure the border, thus aiding and abetting this large scale human trafficking operation in callous disregard of human life.
Immigrants, the latest pawn in this despicable political game of intense chess in which neither party had come to the conscious realization that they’re playing with the lives of actual human beings whose wellbeing and livelihood matters.