By Youssef Sourgo
Morocco World News
Casablanca, June 1, 2013
Moroccan news outlet Hesspress published a controversial article in the 21st edition of its news magazine. The article, entitled “50 Personalities that Hate Morocco,” featured a list of 50 well-known and influential international personalities that allegedly hate Morocco for different reasons.
“These personalities realized at a certain point in their lives that Morocco was their enemy, and that they had to fight against it with all given means,” read a sentence that centered the cover page of Hesspress’ magazine.
However, the question that Hesspress’s controversial list might raise is whether any personality that holds a position that does not rhyme with Morocco’s interest has to necessarily be labeled as an enemy to Morocco especially given that some of the personalities listed in Hesspress’s controversial article are relatively or totally apolitical.
Below are the 50 international personalities as listed and described in Hesspress magazine’s article.
The Algerian president is considered among the main haters of Morocco, according to Hesspress Magazine. Since his appointment, Bouteflika has been incessantly attempting to alter Morocco’s image at the international level. He also rejected any requests for opening the frontiers between Morocco and Algeria. His support to the Polisario Front is also considered the main reason behind the tensions between his country and Morocco.
Jose Maria Aznar
He served as the Prime Minister of Spain from 1996 to 2004. During his tenure as a Prime Minister, Morocco-Spanish relations were marked by ample tensions. He also led the Spanish government’s protests over the Perejil Island, which was under dispute between Morocco and Spain at the time.
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruzhas shown steady unwavering support to the Polisario since the early days of the conflict. . Relations between Cuba and Morocco were marked by great tensions during his leadership because he hosted, trained and armed Polisario combatants sent to his country.
Bashar Al Assad
The controversial Syrian president has never hesitated to attack Morocco since the start of the Syrian revolution two years ago. He also attacked Moroccan traditions pertaining to the royal family, and described Morocco as a “Sahara occupier.”
Enrique Peña Prieto
He is the current and 57th President of Mexico is remembered for ordering, during the procedure of his appointment, that Polisario leader Mohamed Abdelaziz be given more importance than all other attendees, including the Spanish throne heir, price Philip.
The President of South Africa is considered one of the main supporters of the Polisario Front. He also often accuses Morocco of mistreating Sahrawi people in the disputed region.
Robert Gabriel Mugabe is the President of Zimbabwe, and is considered one of the main supporters of the Polisario Front. He is known for continuously pressuring Morocco to grant independence to the Saharian Saparatists. He is also among the first political figures to recognize the alleged Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.
The South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and politician, who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, is recognized for standing on the side of the Polisario Front since his become President in 1995.
Morocco cut all diplomatic relations with the sixth and current President of the Islamic Republic of Iran since he was accused by Morocco of encouraging the Shi’ite movement in the nation.
Mohamed Abdelaziz is the current Secretary General of the Polisario Front. He is known for holding very hostile attitudes towards Morocco due to the Sahara conflict. He is also known for his continuous attempts to impede any attempts to advance the negotiations over the Sahara issue.
Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz
Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz is the President of Mauritania. His inclination to the side of the Polisario Front, expressed in his congratulation letter to the Polisario during the 36th memory of its creation, strained the relations between Morocco and Mauritania.
Javier Perez De Cuellar
He is a Peruvian diplomat who served as the fifth Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1, 1982 to December 31, 1991. He also interceded in the negotiations pertaining to the conflict over the Sahara between Morocco and the Plisario Front. His intervention was however identified as being overly inclined to Polisario’s side.
John Forbes Kerry is the current United States Secretary of State. Once appointed, Moroccan-American relations witnessed an abrupt strain because of U.S.’s MINURSO expansion proposal that mainly aimed to add human rights monitoring to UN’s mission in the Sahara. Kerry is considered one of the supporters of Saharian separatists, and is known for his close relation to Robert Kennedy Foundation for Human Rights, which supports and sympathizes with the Polisario Front.
Friedrich Trio, the Spanish Minister of Defense in the era of Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, led the military intervention in the Moroccan Perejil Island in summer 2002. “I wish I had been the minister of defense years before this so I could intervene way earlier,” said Trio in one of his most polemic statements on Morocco, according to Hesspress.
After being appointed UN’s new envoy to the Sahara in 2009, Moroccan diplomats noticed that Ross was no longer playing the role of mediator between the involved parties in the issue, a diplomatic role that was supposed to be impartial and objective. In one of his reports to the UN, Ross was clearly inclined to one of the parties, a detail that shook Morocco’s confidence in his important role..
Appointed by the previous UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, the former American Secretary of State James Baker resigned from his position as UNSG Personal to the Sahara after Morocco rejected UN’s second proposal that was at that time approved of by the Polisario Front.
Representing the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights, Kennedy generated many reports after her visits to the Sahara in which she accuses Morocco of committing human right violations in the region. She was also very supportive of the U.S.’s proposal to expand the prerogatives of the MINURSO mandate to include human rights monitoring in the Sahara.
Aminatou Ali Ahmed Haidar is a Sahrawi human rights activist and an advocate of the independence of the Sahara from Morocco. Her hunger strike in the context of the Sahara issue stirred international media attention . She is described as the “Sahara Ghandi”.
She is the director of the Front Line Defenders, an institution concerned mainly with human rights. She is considered among the first foreign women to support Aminatou Haidar during her hunger strike. She also urged many members of the US administration to expand MINURSO’s prerogatives.
Ali Salem Tamek
He is vice the president of the Collective of Sahrawi Human Rights Defenders (CODESA). He is also one of the Sahrawi Separatists, and is known for his vehement discursive attacks on Morocco and his tendency to spark controversy and tension over the Sahara issue.
Kenneth Roth is an American attorney. He has been the executive director of Human Rights watcj since 1993. He was among the main supporters for expanding the MINURSO mandate. He is known for his insistance on human rights infractions in the Sahara, and is also recognized for asserting that “the situation in the Sahara will never stabilize.”
The American actor, film director, producer, and screenwriter George Clooney had allegedly plans to make a film on the Sahara, in which he would depict the victory of the separatists. Clooney postponed the shooting of his film after tensions increased in Morocco due to this actor’s influential position in the world.
A Spanish actor with international fame, Javier Bardem is one of the most famous celebrities who publically expressed their hostility towards Morocco during a number of international gatherings. The Polisario front is known for amply relying on his support to their cause, by promoting their points of view worldwide. He even produced a a documentary in support of the Polisario entitled “Sons of the Clouds.” Polisario has accordingly been gaining significant support since the screening of the documentary in many international festivals, especially during the Berlin Festival.
The American film star Angelina Jolie provided aid to people in Tindouf Camps on many occasions when she served as the UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador. Her discourse on the refugees in the Sahara and their conditions had allegedly induced many American media outlets to sympathize with and support the separatists in the Sahara.
She is the mother of the famous international actor Javier Bradem. She is the founder of the Bradem Theatrical Troupe which was founded in the era of the Spanish General and Dictator Francisco Franco. Pilar is among the key supporters of the Polisario Front. She received a Solidarity award from Polisario leader Mohamed AbdelAziz for her support for Polisario’s cause.
He is one of the leaders of the Spanish socialist party who was very close to the Spanish president José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. He was also the president. National Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals (Federación Estatal de Lesbianas, Gays, Transexuales y Bisexuales) He is considered among the most active personalities in support of Polisario’s cause in Spain.
Pedro J. Ramirez
He is the founder of the Spanish newspaper “El Mundo in 1989.” He is known for his rightist hostility towards Morocco, which is mainly manifested in the series of articles he publishes in his newspaper , thus making it one of the Spanish newspapers that portrays Morocco in a negative way. .
He has been the leader of the Spanish United Left (Izquierda Unida) since 2008. He is also recognized for his continuous support for the Polisario Front. According to him, Polisario shares the same ideological visions as his. However, Lara has never been to Morocco before, nor has he ever attempted to meet with any of the Moroccan parties that share political views similar to those of his party.
José Miguel Monzón Navarro
He is one of the most popular faces on Spain’s second national channel. He has accordingly become famous for his hostile stance against Morocco. His hostility reached its peak during past tensions between the Spanish and Moroccan governments, especially in his TV show “Caiga Quien Caiga,” in which he mocked some aspects of Moroccan culture.
Federico Jimenez Losantos
He is a famous Spanish pundit. He is known for his negative attitudes towards both Islam and Morocco. He presents a morning section on “Cadena COPE,” a private, right wing, Spanish radio network owned by a series of institutions within the Spanish Catholic Church., Losantos show great hostility towards Morocco on his show.
Cesar Vidal Manzanares
He is a Spanish radio host, historian and author. He hosts La Linterna on the Spanish radio network Cadena COPE, through which he levels vehement attacks at Morocco whenever mentioned during his radio show. He is also the author of a controversial book titled “Espana frente al Islam”, in which he demonize Muslims.
Fernando Arias Salgado
He served as the ambassador of Spain in Rabat amid the dispute between both countries on Perejil Island. Salgado has allegedly contributed to intensifying the tensions between Morocco and Spain during that critical period. He is also remembered for having criticized Morocco ferociously after severing his diplomatic relation with Spain between November 2001 and 2003..
He is a Spanish journalist known through his political writings. He is known for criticizing Morocco in most of his journalistic articles, highlighting exclusively the negative dimensions of Morocco’s political decisions, while being more positive about Algerian issues.
Ahmed Mansour is an Egyptian television presenter and interviewer. He is known for digging deep into Morocco’s dark past in search of experiences that would back-up his hostile attitude towards the nation. According to Hesspress, Mansour insulted his Moroccan wife and her origins publically while on a plane.
He is a Dutch politician and the founder and leader of the Party for Freedom, the fourth-largest political party in the Netherlands. Wilders has described Moroccans as “extremists,” because Moroccans are according to him the main cause behind crimes in Netherlands, alongside the Turks.
Manu Chao is a French singer who sings in French, Spanish, English, Italian, Galician, Arabic, and Portuguese. He has raised the Polisario’s flag in many of his musical concerts. The separatists have invited him once to give a concert in the Sahara, an occasion that he seized to express his hostility towards Morocco.
Eduardo Noriega Gómez is a Spanish film actor. He developed an opinion about the Sahara issue after being encouraged by his fellow actor Javier Bradem. Noriega thus holds the same views in support of the Polisario Front’s cause.
He is a French journalist and a specialist in international politics on the public French radio channel France Culture. His friendship with the late King Hassan II made that people impassionedly awaited the second part of his book on the King, entitled “My Friend the King.” Surprisingly, Laurent rather co-wrote a book on King Hassan II entitled “Le Roi Prédateur” (The predatory king), in which he pinpointed so-called corrupt practices made by the royal family.
She is a French journalist. She is recognized for co-writing the book “Le Roi Prédateur” (the predatory king) on the late King Hassan II with her fellow citizen Eric Laurent. She also co-wrote with Nicolas Beau the book “Quand le Maroc sera islamiste” (When Morocco becomes an Islamist country), in which they both criticize Morocco in a derogatory way.
Joseph Bové is a French farmer and syndicalist, member of the alter-globalization movement, and spokesperson for the movement Via Campesina. He is considered one of the European opponents to the agricultural agreements between Morocco and the European Union. He contends that these agreements are detrimental to the interest of European entrepreneurs.
Pedro Almodóvar Caballero is a Spanish film director, screenwriter and producer. He refused to attend the Marrakech Film Festival in 2002, but accepted to attend the International Film Festival in Tindouf, thus illustrating his support for the Polisario’s cause. Despite being supportive of the Separatist’s cause, Almodovar was invited by Marrakech Film Festival organizers in 2005 as a guest of honor.
Mohammed Hussein Haikal
He was an Egyptian writer, journalist, politician and Minister of Education in Egypt. He is remembered for accusing the late King Hassan II, in his TV Show on Al Jazeera channel, of supporting Israeli agendas.
Though Nasrallah has never publically stated his hostility towards Morocco, the third Secretary General of the Lebanese political and paramilitary organization, Hezbollah, has always had strained relations with Morocco, especially after accusing Morocco, alongside other Arab nations, of longing to divide Syria.
The current leader of the militant Islamist organization al-Qaeda described Moroccan people as “the Jihadist decedents of Youssef Ibnu Tachafin,” and subsequently requested from many nations, including Morocco, to get rid of all the dictators ruling their countries.
He is the French writer of the book “Notre Ami le Roi,” which was for years banned from Morocco, in which he focuses on the flaws of the late King Hassan II and accuses him of committing several crimes.
Yasser Al Habib
Yasser al-Habib is a Shia cleric from Kuwait. In many of his video recordings, Al Habib vehemently attacks Morocco’s monarchical system of rule in the person of HM King Mohamed VI.
The international movie star Penelope Cruz is well-known for holding the same views on and attitudes towards Morocco as her husband Javier Bradem. Both of them are recognizably pro-Polisario activists and have supported Polisario’s cause in their talks worldwide.
The president of FIFA is remembered for his inadequate criticism of the Moroccan infrastructure during Morocco’s proposal to host the 2010 World Cup. Blatter accordingly recommended South Africa as the adequate country to host the World Cup.
Issam Al Aryan
He runs the Political office of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Al Aryan stated, right after his party rose to the rule, that “Morocco had contributed nothing to the Palestinian cause, despite the King’s presidency over it.”
She is the President of the Union, Progress and Democracy, a Spanish party that Diez formed out of the Spanish Socialist Party after a strong disagreement on what she perceived to be the Socialists’ drift on individual liberties. Diez is well-known for her activism in support of the Polisario front. In the past, she got involved in a heated diplomatic dispute with Moroccan diplomats over the Sahara issue.
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