Rabat - French airline carrier Air France is under heavy criticism for listing the Moroccan territory of Western Sahara as an independent country.
Rabat – French airline carrier Air France is under heavy criticism for listing the Moroccan territory of Western Sahara as an independent country.
According to a video posted by a Moroccan customer who recently travelled onboard a Paris-Los Angeles flight, the geolocation screen found on the back of the passengers’ seats described Western Sahara as an independent country.
The video posted by the Casablanca-based business owner, Adil Bendabellah, clearly shows how the French flag’s carrier list describes the Moroccan territory as “Republique Arabe Saharawi Démocratique (Saharan Arab Democratic Republic).
“On the geo-location map of an Air France flight, the national airline of a friendly country, we found in the southern Moroccan territory the name of SADR? Is this normal?” asks Benabdellah.
This is not a detail. Long live Morocco, to his Majesty, to the Moroccan Sahara, and the entire Moroccan nation,” he added.
The video, which was posted on Sunday, has been widely circulated on social media, causing a stir among Moroccans. Most commenters condemn this “unacceptable” mistake and called on Moroccans to boycott the French company.
“If this is really the case, it’s inadmissible! We must boycott Air France personally, but also ensure that the administration and Moroccan companies do not use this company. This is too serious,” one commenter said, venting his anger.
What Moroccans describe as major blunder made by Air France actually goes against the official position of the French government, which is regarded as the most vocal supporter of Morocco’s position in the Western Sahara conflict.
Born out of the desire of a group of Moroccans, Algerian and Mauritanian Saharawis to build an independent country in southern Morocco, the self-proclaimed SADR was established on February 26th, 1976. Since then, it has never been recognized as an independent country by any major international organization. The United Nations and its entities do not recognize the Algeria-backed SADR as an independent country still to this day.
Reacting to the uproar caused by the inaccurate information displayed on its airplanes, an Air France representative was quoted by Moroccan news website Yabiladi as saying that the mistake was made out of a deliberate decision. The representative added that the company would do everything to redress the situation.
“Sur un vol Air France, compagnie aérienne nationale d’un pays “AMI”, sur la carte de géo-localisation, on retrouve au sud dans le territoire Marocain, le nom du RASD???? NORMAL ? ??..C’est pas un détail !!!Que vive le Maroc, que Vive sa Majesté, et que vive le Sahara et tout le territoire Marocain.”
Posted by Adil Benabdallah on Sunday, February 7, 2016