A 2017 documentary by Swiss Radio and Television (RTS) on the Green March has been making the rounds in Moroccan news today.
The famous peaceful “green march” gained the respect of many. Several local and international news outlets commemorated the Green March through reports and documentaries about the historical event.
In January 2017, RTS published a 20-minute press report from its archives on the Green March after King Hassan II gave his famous speech to the nation.
“We have to do one thing dear people and that is to undertake a peaceful march from the north, the east, the west to the south. It behooves us to act as one man in order to join the Sahara,” King Hassan II said on October 16, 1975.
With respect and appreciation, more than 350,000 Moroccans took the speech to heart without hesitation.
“Morocco and the Green March. Green, because the color of the star in Morocco’s flag is green. It was preferred because green was Mohammed the prophet’s favorite color,” RTS’s reporter explains.
For Morocco, the Green March is sacred, according to RTS. The reporter then talked about the political aspect of the event aimed to liberate Western Sahara from the Spanish colonizers.
Escorted by more than 20,000 Moroccan troops, Moroccans headed to Western Sahara to show their willingness to sacrifice for their homeland. According to the press report, double the number the King called on took part in the event. From north to south, people of all ages marched with flags and Qur’ans in the unprecedented event.
The march featured hundreds of thousands of citizens coming from all regions across the country. Each celebrated the march in a unique way. The march marked the presence of folk music performances that praised and respected to Hassan II with their traditional songs. Others marched and chanted patriotic slogans supporting Morocco’s territorial integrity.
The documentary’s narrator says both the army and the administration mobilized to contribute to the success of the Green March.
During the documentary, RTS interviewed citizens showing eminent love and passion for the King.
“Long live the King,” people said while being loaded into trucks for transport.
“Those who were coming from the north had to travel 2,000 kilometers” to reach the Sahara, the reporter noted. About 50 people were carried in each truck.
“After the royal speech of his majesty, we will travel to the capital, Laayoune … Sahara is Moroccan. Sahara is Moroccan,” one citizen told RTS while others shouted “Sahara is Moroccan!” with pride and joy. “Jihad, Jihad and Spain should leave the country,” was another slogan repeated during the Green March.
RTS crew accompanied Moroccans throughout their journey to the Sahara. The reporter said that throughout the journey, the crew received the same response: “We are going to the Sahara.” When the journalist asked people whether Sahrawis are Moroccans, one of shouted, “Yes, they are Moroccans.”
King Hassan II had done his utmost to defend Morocco’s territorial integrity. Confidential documents released by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 2017 revealed that King Hassan II was “plotting an armed attack” against Spain in the 1970s over Western Sahara.
In the document, “Memorandum of Conversation,” former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger informed Spain that King Hassan II was planning to launch a war against Spain in October 1975, a month before Morocco’s peaceful Green March.
In a conversation with former Spanish foreign minister Pedro Cortina, Kissinger said that the US had “some information concerning a possible Moroccan attack in the Sahara.”
He added, “I want you to know that we have urged the King of Morocco not to do it, that is, not to do anything rash. We have warned him against it and have urged him to negotiate, just as I urge you to negotiate.”
Spain replied that it was ready to negotiate with Morocco.
The Spain-Morocco conflict dated back to 1859 when Spain defeated Morocco in the Battle of Tetouan. Morocco then had to pay Spain to cede part of its southern and northern territories.
In 1956, immediately after Morocco obtained its independence, it reasserted its claim to the Western Sahara and called on Spain to return it to Morocco’s sovereignty.
King Hassan II then launched the Green March in November 1975 allowing Morocco de facto sovereignty over the territory. Since then, Western Sahara has been claimed by the Polisario Front, a separatist movement supported by Algeria.