By Loubna Flah
By Loubna Flah
Morocco World News
Casablanca, December 16, 2012
Oscar-winning Spanish actor Javier Bardem stated in an interview to the CNN earlier this month that Morocco has been abusing the rights of the Sahrawi people in the refugee camps for more than 35 years.
Bardem developed sympathy towards the Polisario separatist claim after attending a film festival organized in the refugee camp in 2008. In an attempt to garner support for the separatist propaganda, the Spanish actor made a movie named” Sons of the Clouds: The Last Colony».
In his film, Bardem gives a one sided outlook on a geopolitical conflict that has been at the center of dispute between Morocco, the Polisario and Algeria for more than 37 years.
In his interview to CNN, Javier Bardem gave an “oversimplified” retrospective of the Sahara conflict by stating that Morocco has “invaded” the Sahara militarily with the aim of controlling its resources, namely its Phosphates and wealthy fishing banks after the death of Spanish dictator Franco.
Javier Bardem even stated that Morocco is not eligible to assume the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council for December, since it has a “poor” Human Rights record especially in the Sahara.
In a reaction to these allegations, the Moroccan minister of communication and government spokesman, Mustapha al Khalfi published his response in the CNN website:
“Javier Bardem’s article presents a biased picture about the situation in the Sahara. It lacks balance and omits information about the Moroccan government’s efforts to seek a lasting political solution to this chronic conflict,” said the minister.
Mr. Al Khalfi reminded Bardem of the 2008 Human Rights Watch report that documented substantial Human Rights abuses, cases of slavery and persecution of dissidents perpetrated by the Polisario.
Al Khalfi replied that the Sahara has been under Moroccan sovereignty prior to Spanish colonization adding that the Cherifien Kingdom has resisted colonization of the Sahara until 1934, when Spain effectively gained control of the territory.
Mr. Khalfi added that Morocco has always made concrete efforts to resolve the dispute over the Sahara. Indeed, the UN Security Council resolutions adopted since 2007 have repeatedly praised Morocco’s “serious and credible efforts” to nudge the process forward.
The Moroccan minister of communication explained that the autonomy plan proposed by Morocco is a real political solution to the conflict. The autonomy plan is susceptible to “maintain stability in the Grand Sahara and in the Sahel region and to enhance Maghreb integration,” the minister noted.
Whether he is trying to raise interest in his new movie or he is playing the card of the “militant” actor, Javier Bardem has obviously developed a bigoted view informed solely by the Polisario rhetoric.