The video was posted a few weeks after the Algerian president asked Morocco to issue a formal apology for leaving Algerians stranded after the 1994 Asni terrorist attack in Marrakech.
Rabat – An exclusive video posted by FAR-Maroc, a Facebook page focused on Morocco’s military affairs, documents the suffering of thousands of Moroccans after they were expelled from Algeria in the aftermath of the 1975 Green March.
The video, taken at the time of the expulsion, records the testimonies of Moroccans who had to leave Algeria following Morocco’s decision to hold a Green March in November 1975 to defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty over its Sahara.
Algeria, a supporter of the Polisario Front and its independence claims, expelled more than 40,000 Moroccans in 1976.
The expulsion of Moroccans happened on the first day of Aid al-Adha, the “Festival of Sacrifice,” which is one of the two most important Islamic holidays celebrated worldwide each year.
President Houari Boumediene ordered the expulsion of Moroccans on the sacred day.
The video shows some Moroccans, men and women, explain how they felt desperate and disappointed with Algeria’s decision to send them back to Morocco.
The video shows some of them living in camps, with their household goods in the open air.
Mohammed, a 12-year-old boy, is seen in disbelief in the video, barely speaking coherently. He appears to say that a policeman took him to a police station after discovering that he was Moroccan.
“I went to school and a police inspector came. He asked for my birth certificate, and when he saw it, he knew I was Moroccan. He then took me to the police station. A bus came and I got on it, and here I am,” he told an interviewer.
When the journalist asked the boy about his mother, the child answered that she is till in Algeria.
The interviewer asked another Moroccan man about his family. He said that he is hoping to bring his wife and children, still in Algeria, back to Morocco.
When the interviewer asked him if it would be possible, he said, “I will remain like this, it’s destiny.”
Interviewees described the psychological burden and the distress they felt to be separated from their families. Some, in painful resignation, explained how they would have to start from scratch, with no family or money.
When the interviewer asked a young woman if she was angry, she said, “of course” she was angry.
Losing everything behind in Algeria, she told the interviewer that she and her family will start from scratch.
Another man said, “Moroccan people are more welcoming that other people, including Algerian people.”
Algeria should apologize
The Moroccan military Facebook post asked readers when Algeria would “apologize and compensate the families that were expelled during the first day of Eid Al Adha in February in 1976.”
Algeria made the expulsion because of Morocco’s Green March, due to Algeria’s opposing stance on the Western Sahara conflict.
Algeria has been publicly defending the breakaway group and their “independence” claims over the region for many years.
After his recent election, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune argued the issue of Western Sahara is “a question of decolonization.”
Before his election, Tebboune said that tensions with Morocco and the closed border is not due to the Western Sahara conflict.
Algeria closed the border with Morocco after the 1994 Asni terrorist attack in Marrakech, when Rabat imposed visa regulations on Algerians.
The perpetrators of the attack were of Algerian origin.
Speaking about the closed border, Tebboune claimed that thousands of Algerians were stranded.
He also said that Morocco should issue an official apology to Algeria so that the border can be reopened.