Spanish-Canadian Professor: Anyone who opposes colonialism should oppose Trump’s recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara

Ottawa (Canada) 15 January 2021 (SPS)- Spanish Canadian Assistant Professor in Carleton University, Mrs. Vivian Solana, considered that “anyone who opposes colonialism should oppose Trump’s recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara”, in a statement to SPS on the initiative by some international Academics who issued a “Letter of Solidarity with Western Sahara” that was signed by some 336 Academic from many countries for the past five days.

For Prof. Solana, “Trump has openly bargained Palestinian and Sahrawi rights for political and economic gains. Anyone who rejects colonization and imperialism should oppose Trump’s recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.”

On another hand, She considered that “Trump’s tweet made it crystal clear how interconnected the Palestinian and the Sahrawi struggles are,” stressing that the group behind the initiative of the letter of solidarity “wanted to reach out to those who stand against US imperialism in the region (and beyond) and remind them there are very good reasons to find common cause with the Sahrawi.”

She regretted the fact that the international media was silent about the issue and was only alerted after the infamous twits by Trump.

“Although it was sickening to see how a single tweet could command more attention than half a century of Sahrawi anti-colonial resistance, it is undeniable that Trump’s tweet had the unintended effect of providing a moment of visibility for the conflict in Western Sahara,” she said.

She further considered that one of the goals of the initiative is to reach out to all academics, intellectuals and researchers “who work in other parts of Africa and the Middle East, but who have not always had the plight of the Sahrawi people in their radar.”

This is relevant, she said, especially that “Trump’s tweet made crystal clear how interconnected the Palestinian and the Sahrawi struggles are. We wanted to reach out to those who stand against US imperialism in the region (and beyond) and remind them there are very good reasons to find common cause with the Sahrawi.”

Answering a question about her expectations from the US coming administration, Prof. Solana thinks it is possible “that the incoming administration will rescind Trump’s political pact with Morocco as part of a larger attempt to clean the USA’s image.”

She considered however that “the problem is that restoring business as usual in US foreign policy, does not guarantee Sahrawi rights. After all, the US has long privileged friendly relations with Israel and Morocco over ensuring the enforcement of international law.”

Nevertheless, she added “I do believe that restoring a symbolic order whereby the US rhetorically affirms its respect for international law will make it much more probable for Morocco and the Polisario Front to sit around a negotiating table sooner rather than later.”

Hoping that this small window of opportunity exists, she adds, “the group of concerned scholars who wrote the open letter calling for solidarity with Sahrawis also wrote a second letter that we are sending to Biden himself,” soon.

Asked about her expectation from the European Union and her own countries, since she has Spanish and Canadian nationalities, Prof. Vivia Solana recalled that “both countries profit from and are complicit with the on-going colonization of Western Sahara.”

 In response to Trump’s tweet, she recalled, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs sent a contradictory message that “welcomed the announcement of the normalization of relations between Morocco and Israel” on one hand, while adding that “Canada’s long-standing position on Western Sahara remains unchanged”.

ON the other hand, she said, “Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs was more critical, declaring that the conflict in Western Sahara “does not depend on the will or unilateral action of one country. However large that country may be,” Nevertheless, Spain has a long history of tacitly acquiescing to Morocco’s position,” Solana regretted.

To calrify this last point, Prof. Solana recalled that “most recently, Spain has failed to listen to some of its parliamentarians who demanded Spain to discontinue its arms sales to Morocco in light of the current war.”

Yet, she concluded, “I would like to see both of these governments leave their hypocritical double speak behind, start listening to their citizens, and exert political and economic pressure on Morocco’s regime to comply with international law. I would be particularly proud to see Spain lead Europe down this path,” she hoped.

Prof. Vivian Solana Moreno, who has done various academic researches on Western Sahara, is interested in Political and feminist anthropology, postcolonial studies, forced displacement, anti-colonial revolutionary movements, gender, generation and transnational activism, as indicated in her profile in the official website of Carleton University. (SPS)

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