Spanish media did not miss the opportunity to use the story as a tool for their campaign against Morocco.
Rabat – A Moroccan woman stranded in Ceuta managed on Tuesday to swim back to Morocco in an impressive feat, qualified as “odyssey” by El Faro de Ceuta.
A video captured by Spanish reporters shows the woman struggling to swim but persevering until she made it across the Moroccan-Spanish borders.
The video shows the Moroccan woman walking with difficulty across the Tarajal beach, near the borders between Ceuta and Fnideq. She first attempted to climb the breakwaters marking the borders, but she failed.
After almost being injured from the rocks, she decides to swim around the border to reach Morocco. The footage shows beachgoers watching the scene in awe.
Noticing her struggle, two members of the Spanish civil guard throw a lifebuoy to make sure she remains afloat until the arrival of patrol boats. When the boats arrived, the Moroccan woman had already managed to cross the international border, leaving the Spanish civil guard’s jurisdiction area.
She had arrived in Ceuta to attend the funeral of her son who died from leukemia. Due to administrative complications, Amal was not able to repatriate her son’s body to Morocco and had to bury him in Ceuta.
After the funeral, the Moroccan woman was unable to return home due to closed borders and remained alone in Ceuta.
El Faro de Ceuta reported that Amal needed to rejoin her family in Tetouan. Taking matters into her own hands, she finally decided to swim home.
Following a popular trend among Spanish media outlets, El Faro de Ceuta politicized Amal’s story to fuel its anti-Morocco narrative.
“The odyssey of a Moroccan woman trapped in Ceuta,” is the title the outlet chose for its report on the unusual event.
“Amal was trapped in Ceuta, trapped and alone, without the affection of her direct family, being forced to mourn in an isolated city, where the tragic stories of men and women who cannot return to their country come together,” El Faro de Ceuta wrote.
“The most common images are those of men who manage to escape back to their country, but their struggle seems to have become invisible in the eyes of [King] Mohammed VI, that women are also looking for a way to escape,” said the report, without presenting concrete examples.
El Faro de Ceuta’s coverage of the Moroccan woman’s story reveals a political agenda. By using Amal’s “odyssey” to attack Morocco, the King, and the country’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, the politicized coverage echoes the smear campaign that some Spanish outlets recently launched against Morocco.
Ceuta and Melilla’s accusations against Morocco
According to several newspapers, Morocco is attempting to “choke” the economies of Ceuta and Melilla through its border closure, among other alleged measures, such as tax increases.
Ceuta and Melilla have also indirectly expressed their wish to reopen their land borders with Morocco. According to an August 10 report by El Faro de Melilla, the two cities have been working on a protocol for reopening the borders with Morocco amid the COVID-19 crisis.
The protocol suggests a “gradual” border reopening with Morocco, while maintaining “all the necessary guarantees.”
According to the Spanish government delegate in Ceuta, Salvadora Mateos, the proposal can only go ahead depending on the epidemiological situation in Morocco.
However, the enthusiasm of Ceuta and Melilla to reopen their borders with Morocco can only turn into acts if the Moroccan government reciprocates the desire.
The story of the Moroccan woman who swam to Ceuta unfortunately serves to further the anti-Moroccan agenda in local Spanish media outlets. By politicizing her actions, Spanish media can push the narrative that Morocco’s hesitation to reopen the land borders with Ceuta and Melilla is putting Moroccans in harm’s way.