Sahara: the Aminatou Haidar enigma

For two weeks, a number of international media compete in using superlatives to describe Aminatou Haidar, after she has started a very (too much?) media sit-in at Lanzarote (Canary Islands). “Sahrawi Gandhi”, “La Pasionaria”, and other romantic terms have been used creating thus the illusion that Morocco would be blamed for the expulsion of the pro-Polisario militant at Laayoune airport, after her refusal to carry out the obligatory procedures. Romanticism has nevertheless limits, as Mrs. Haidar’s attitude will be a source of tensions in the region. In fact, the Algerian machine has formatted minds, a legacy of an advanced collaboration with the Soviets, coming along an empty media agenda, while the world is waiting for the Copenhagen climate negotiations to start. For two days now, the attention of the international media has been considerably reduced, only the Spanish local media deals with what has henceforth become a domestic problem as well as a direct confrontation between Algeria and Morocco. As even if the war is “cold” between the two neighbors, it is still a war, and Aminatou Haidar’s case will symbolize the extremities to which Algeria is ready to go in order to maintain a semblance of control about an issue which absorbs a big party of its diplomatic system. Some simple facts should be hence reminded to the public. Firstly, Aminatou Haidar has been, for a long time, a civil servant in the Moroccan State. Secondly, she has received a compensation from the Equity and Reconciliation Commission of about 50 000 and she has even worked for this Commission, Laayoune section, in 2004.

Finally, this woman is the representative of a guerilla movement ruling some tens of kilometers squares of misery in the Algerian South-West, generally called “Tindouf camps”. This guerilla movement is supported by an iron regime, where economy has been renationalized in a creeping way since five years, and where the Army, the State and the economic world constitute one entity, each one working for the other. Behind the Aminatou Haidar issue hides a very serious reality, a manipulation worthy of the Timisoara mass grave, where Algeria wants to make believe that Mrs. Haidar is a kind innocent activist. It is exactly the discourse maintained by a “kind group” settled in Afghanistan during the 80s, the members of which described themselves as “freedom fighters”. We see where this has led the world…
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