The Polisario in Madrid?


A few weeks ago I wrote about the bewildering infatuation of the Spanish intelligentia with the independence from Morocco of Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony.

What is so strange about this relationship is that the end of Spanish rule over Western Sahara in 1975, some twenty years after Spain and France relinquished control over most of the rest of Morocco, remains in the collective Moroccan mind as a landmark in the history of independence and sovereignty. Spanish interference into the claims over Western Sahara – without getting into their merits here – are reminiscent of the Franco era and foreign imperialism.

Flash forward these weeks and upon return from Christmas, I find that my hipster neighbors (who had an anti Iraq war “No a la Guerra” banner a few years ago) were now hanging the flag of the Polisario, the rebel group in favor of an independent Western Sahara.

What does the Western Sahara have to do with my neighbors? Why do they care? They are against a war in one Arab country but in favor of rebels in another? Do they even know that the Polisario was supported in the 1970s by the Franco regime and is now largely subsidized by Algeria? With the unemployment rate in Spain at 20% and an inept government in power, you’d think they would be more worried about what’s happening outside their own window.



Filed under Living la vida española

4 responses to “The Polisario in Madrid?

  1. Hominid behavioral norm: far easier to take up the cause of the distant than to be responsible for the condition of your own backyard.

    Apparently, the utter lack of personal accountability is ubiquitous across the species; regardless of gender, ethnicity, creed or religion.

    What an astoundingly pathetic species; extinction will be far too kind an event for hominids.

  2. ReWrite

    Eric, so far you are doing pretty good at this no political posts resolution thing.

  3. eric

    It’s not politics. I am simply observing the environment around me.

  4. An interesting note! Spain has always supported the Polisario, even with their ties to Russia and Libya, not to mention Cuba. I am sure you’ll see more flags waving in the wind over the next few months.

    Thomas Hollowell, author of
    Allah’s Garden: A True Story of a Forgotten War in the Sahara Desert of Morocco

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