A forum devoted to current political, economic trends, and news of the Maghreb region.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Saga of Aminatou Haidar

Spain has formally requested that Morocco issues a passport for Sahrawi activist Aminatou Haidar, amidst worries about her health as she continues on a three-week long hunger strike at Lanzarote Airport in the Canary Islands. Aminatou Haidar renounced her Moroccan citizenship in al-'Ayoun airport last November, claiming that she was visiting the Western Sahara and not Morocco on a trip from the Canary Islands. In a publicity stunt, Haidar, accompanied by two Spanish journalists refused to fill out " Morocco" in her entry card at the airport, provoking her arrest and expulsion back to the Canary Islands. Spain and other European countries have exercised considerable pressure on Morocco to re-issue a passport for Haidar and allow her to go back to Morocco.

Moroccan authorities seem intransigent on the issue and claim that it will be difficult to grant Haidar her citizenship back, after she has allegedly renounced it. Earlier in November, Mohammed VI in a televised address on the occasion of the 34th anniversary of the Green March,  issued a stern warning to all Moroccans that doubt the "Moroccanity" of the Western Sahara, stating: 
Let me clearly say there is no more room for ambiguity or deceit: either a person is Moroccan, or is not. There can be no more duplicity or evading of duties. Now is the time for clear, unambiguous stances, and for responsible conduct. One is either a patriot, or a traitor. There is no halfway house. One cannot enjoy the rights and privileges of citizenship, only to abuse them and conspire with the enemies of the homeland.

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