By Samir Bennis
By Samir Bennis
Morocco World News
Fez, August 31, 2012
Moroccans are not welcomed in Kerry Kennedy’s Facebook page. Since the start of her mission to the Sahara and the Polisario-controlled Tindouf camps, the President of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (RFK Center), has been adamant in deleting from her Facebook wall any comments that do not fit her preconceived notions in favor of the Polisario.
A few days after she started her visit to the region, she published an article in the Huffington Post where she harshly lashed out at the “human rights abuses” purportedly committed by Moroccan officials, not only against the Saharwis in Laayoune, but also against her own daughter. While she supported her claims by pictures where no blatant signs of abuse are committed, she failed to show any picture of the alleged aggression against her daughter.
When Moroccans went to her Facebook page to question her bias towards the Polisario and her lack of intellectual integrity, they were appalled to learn a few hours later that all their comments, with one exception, were deleted.
Among the questions posted on her page was that concerning Mustapha Selma Oueld Sidi Mouloud, who has been separated from his family for two years when he dared to state publicly, in August 2010, that Moroccan autonomy plan, presented in April 2007, was more likely to put an end to the Sahara conflict.
Most Moroccans who commented on Kennedy’s page inquired if she was going to raise the question of Mustapha Salma or if she planned to meet with the dissenting voices living in the Tindouf camps. Many others expressed their doubts whether she was going to raise the issue of embezzlement of humanitarian aid provided by international organizations and government agencies to the population in the camps. They also wondered if she was going to reflect these issues in her upcoming report. Others harshly criticized the silence of this Polisario sympathizer and wondered if she intended to raise the question of the census of the population.
For more than a decade, Morocco has been calling for the holding of a census in order to identify the accurate number of people living in the camps.
On August 27, Ms Kennedy said that she will be posting updates about her trip to Tindouf. “There have also been several questions about Tindouf. In fact, I will be traveling to Tindouf. And I will be posting updates,” she said. Yet since then, she has not posted any updates or pictures in this regard. Instead of posting the promised updates, all that she has been doing is deleting the comments made by Moroccans or sympathizers of the Moroccan stance on the Sahara, which question her bias for the Polisario.
Out of the 129 comments made on her post, only 6 comments have not been deleted.
Here is one of the comments deleted by Ms Kennedy:
“Why didn’t you have an open desk in the Sahara to receive anyone who would like to see you? Why did you go to the house of a person who is pro independence specifically? Where did you learn human rights monitoring? You better open a PR agency because you are a shame to human right activists and to your father’s and uncle’s memory,” Manele Kass, a Moroccan from Fez, posted on Ms. Kennedy Facebook page.
“Why didn’t you consider seeing Salma Ould sidi Mouloud? What kind of self esteem do you have to allow yourself to use the term human rights and your father’s name with mere propaganda? People have the right to express themselves. This applies to the Polisario and for others as well. You have seen only separatist NGOs, you did not see the people who escaped from the Tindouf camps. And in Tindouf, why don’t you ask for a UN census in the camps and an auditing of the international aid? The so called Saharan republic has the same president for the last 37 years, is that pro democracy, you American coming from a democratic country?” added Manele.
It seems that Kerry Kennedy is not interested in revealing to the world the truth over what is happening in the Polisario camps or in the Sahara. Given her notorious bias in favor of the Polisario, what matters for her is just to demonize the Moroccan government and confirms the Polisario and the Algerian propaganda that Rabat is “committing systematic human abuses in the Sahara. “
If the President of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights had any intention to present a fair and bias-free report on the situation of human rights in the Sahara and the Tindouf camps, she would have started by observing one of the basic tenets of impartiality, namely listening to both sides with neither preconceptions nor bias. The Moroccan saying for coming up with a fair judgment goes as follows, “The judge has to listen to both sides of the story”. Yet Kerry Kennedy broke this rule when she held her meetings in the Sahara in the house of Aminatou Haidar, known for her propaganda against Morocco. Or at least, she should then have sought to meet one of the many voices, Moroccan or Saharawi, which has criticized the Polisario. Out of 800 civil society organizations advocating for the Moroccan autonomy proposal, she met with as little as 4 organizations.
Those who know the background of Ms. Kennedy and her delegation had no illusions about the way in which the latter would undertake its mission in the Sahara and the Tindouf camps.
Make no mistake, the report that the Kennedy organization will release in the near future will just support the propaganda being nurtured by the Polisario and its backers, namely Algeria and South Africa. One might wonder if it can be safely said that this report has already been drafted and that this trip is aimed to wrap it with a certain credibility.
Samir Bennis is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Morocco World News.You can follow him on twitter @SamirBennis