A challenging Friday afternoon

Participants blogger #11 describes his experience and feelings after a second Moroccan speaker visited Talk Together. Ali Bahaijoub, Morocco editor for North South magazine, came to give his own personal view of the situation in Western Sahara.

“Having been spending most of our time learning non-violent communication, yesterday was a huge reality check for the group.

“I say this because yesterday we were finally exposed to the Moroccan view. Throughout the programme, this has been a major problem. For whatever reasons, we do not have a Moroccan point of view represented here.

“That has led to many in the group feeling frustrated, and that it is unfair. Some participants didn’t feel great talking about their experiences without this alternative position also being present. However, yesterday, a Moroccan journalist came to talk to us. Although he told us much of what the government would have also told us, he cannot be held as a representative of anyone other than himself.

“The presentation was very well informed, the man very well spoken. The question and answer section got fairly heated, almost as expected. What was unexpected for me was how it wasn’t the Saharawi participants who communicated violently, but rather the rest of us. I found this really very telling. To be basically told that you don’t exist as a Saharawi completely undercuts your whole struggle. And to be able to take it calmly shows something worse – how used to it they must be.

“Later in the group dialogue the atmosphere was tense. I find it an interesting event, one I usually dread because of what I’ve come to expect from it. Yet it’s slightly surprising every time. It could just be much better is all. Anyway, this one sort of devolved into a Q&A session which frustrated a lot of us. Some people feel that this whole course is too biased.

“But personally, simply, there must be some reason for the Sarahwi to endure soo much in exile in the harsh desert of Tindouf, an idea of pride and nationalism that many of us don’t fully understand.

“Right now this is the last thing I want to be doing. This whole process is raking up big questions to which we cannot find any answers, but expect to. It’s like Edmund said: “growth is painful”.”

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