Brahim Basiri and El Uali, eternal heroes of the Saharawi people's struggle

In this month of June, two crucial dates are commemorated in the long struggle - which has lasted for more than 50 years - by the Saharawi people for their independence and self-determination, first against Spanish colonialism and then against Moroccan expansionism. This epic struggle is part of the national liberation struggles of the African peoples for their emancipation. The second half of the 1960th century was characterized by the height of the battles for independence on the African continent. In 1956 twelve countries accessed it. It should also be noted that three new states (those bordering the territory of Western Sahara) emerged from colonialism around this year: Morocco in 1960, Mauritania in 1962 and Algeria - after a long and bloody struggle in which more than one and a half million people lost their lives - in XNUMX. To this day, Western Sahara is the only colonial territory on the African continent.

The international scene of popular struggles against the scourge of colonialism found receptive ears in the, until then called "Spanish Province of the Sahara" in which, at the end of the 60s, the first nationalist and anti-colonial movement was founded, which After its creation, it advocated peaceful struggle as a means to achieve national independence.

The new structure called the "Movement for the Liberation of the Sahara" (MLS) set out to peacefully claim independence. In a very short time, the organization incorporated hundreds of militants among workers and employees of the industry, officials of the colonial administration, students, non-commissioned officers and soldiers. Led by Mohamed Sid Brahim Basiri, father of Saharawi nationalism, it was literally dismembered by Franco's military forces on June 17, 1970, as a result of the historic demonstration in Zemla (popular neighborhood of the Saharawi capital), when militants of the independence movement and the population in general, took to the streets to peacefully reject the Spanish colonial presence and demand the implementation of UN resolutions, especially 1514 (XV) of 1960, the backbone of the international doctrine of decolonization, which includes the principle of granting the independence of colonial peoples and countries through the exercise of their right to self-determination.

This historical feat that cost countless human lives of defenseless civilians, dozens of wounded, imprisoned and the disappearance of the maximum Sahrawi leader at the hands of the Spanish army without his fate being known until today - 51 years later - marked the first step in the long run. path of the Saharawi people towards freedom.

A short time later, this process led to the emergence of an authentic national liberation movement with a politically consolidated program and the choice of armed struggle as the only possible way to eradicate Spanish colonialism from Western Sahara.

The foundation, on May 10, 1973, by a group of young Sahrawis led by El Uali Mustafa Sayed, of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el Hamra and Río de Oro (Polisario Front), recognized by the international community as the only one The legitimate representative of the Saharawi people, undoubtedly constitutes a turning point in the recent history of this people, insofar as it opens a new and superior stage in their struggle towards definitive emancipation.

The Uali was born in 1948 somewhere in the Mauritanian desert. His Saharawi family was nomadic and was dedicated to raising goats and camels. His childhood was spent in conditions of extreme poverty but he managed, in the midst of difficult circumstances, to access primary school that he was able to finish thanks to a great will and effort, which earned him a scholarship to study in Morocco. However, he was expelled from the high school where he was attending high school, for which he was forced to return to the community where his family was, beginning to work as a laborer for a very short time, after being fired.

Under these conditions, he moved to the city of Taroudant, where he had his first contacts with the ideas of independence of his people. He was able to continue his high school studies and enter university in 1970 to study law.

At university he became an activist for the cause of the Saharawi people. Following the events in Zemla, the brutal repression and disappearance of Brahim Basiri in 1971 assumed a full-time dedication to the liberation of Western Sahara. He traveled to Europe and established contact with popular and democratic organizations of that continent and of Morocco to seek support for the anti-colonialist struggle, however, not obtaining greater success, he became convinced that the Saharawi people should obtain their independence from the efforts own. He was detained and tortured twice for his long-standing participation in the struggle of his people.

Thus, it turns to the creation of a political organization that would bring together all the Saharawi people. For this reason, it traveled through Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania, as well as a good part of the Sahara territory, until that May 10, 1973, the Polisario Front was born, which in its first manifesto indicates that the organization “… was born as the sole expression of the masses. , which opts for revolutionary violence and armed struggle as a means, so that the Saharawi, Arab and African people can enjoy their total freedom and face the maneuvers of Spanish colonialism ”.

As leader of the Polisario Front, El Uali led the first military actions against the Spanish army. These were years of advancement and growth in organizational activity while the war was developing in an incipient manner at the same time that it was ending in much of Africa, while a large number of new independent states emerged on the continent. Similarly, the Saharawi people began to identify with the Polisario Front as an organization that defended their right to self-determination. In this context, El Uali consolidated itself as the undisputed leader not only of the Polisario Front, but also of the entire Saharawi people.

The weakness of the colonial system in Africa was directly related to the unstoppable advance of the struggle of the national liberation movements. In the case of the Sahara, the fragility of the Franco dictatorship associated with the illness of his mentor also intervened. In this context, Spain, faithful to the historic cowardly and ambiguous mood of its monarchy and political class, reached an agreement with Morocco and Mauritania to allow the two African countries to appropriate the Saharawi territory. Morocco invaded the Sahara by forcibly occupying an important part of the country, while Mauritania did the same from the south.

A good proportion of the population had to emigrate and take refuge in neighboring countries, especially in Algeria, which has assumed since then and until now a solidarity of great proportions with the Saharawi people and with the Polisario Front.

On February 27, 1976, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) was proclaimed and El Uali was appointed as its first president. With this, a new stage began on the road to independence, in which the armed struggle against the new aggressors was increased.

In one of these actions, carried out in Mauritanian territory, on June 9, 1976, El Uali gave his life when leading a group of combatants withdrew from a direct operation in the capital of that country that had been defined as the link weakest of the colonial alliance and where most of the military efforts were turned. His imperishable example would mark the imprint of the Sahrawi fighters for freedom. In his tribute, every June 9 the Martyrs' Day is commemorated as a memory and memory of who is considered the greatest hero of the Saharawi people.

His death did not stop the fight. In 1979 Mauritania withdrew from the Sahara in defeat, unable to resist the constant offensive of the Saharawi Liberation Army. In 1982, SADR was recognized as a full member of the Organization for African Unity (OAU), today the African Union (AU).

The war continued until in 1991 a ceasefire agreement was reached with Morocco under the auspices of the UN that was to organize a referendum of self-determination of the Saharawi people. However, 30 years later, the situation is the same, Morocco keeps a good part of the Sahara territory occupied while its people in very difficult conditions continue to resist in search of their independence.

The UN wrapped in a cloak of complicity with Morocco as well as Europe, especially France and Spain, has been subjected to the blackmail of the medieval and rotten Moroccan monarchy, to finally, in collusion with it, maintain an anachronistic colonial status inexplicable in the XNUMXst century.

Meanwhile, the Saharawi people and the Polisario Front as its sole representative, without any hesitation, maintain their unwavering sentiment and will for independence. In this event, the indelible memory and the examples of life and dedication of Mohamed Sid Brahim Basiri and El Uali Mustafa Sayed will continue to point the way that will lead to victory and independence.  

 

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