Saturday, January 02, 2010

Thanks from AMINATOU Haidar

A letter of gratitude and thanks
The battle has finally ended as we hoped it to end, and the triumphal ship of solidarity has anchored alongside the Saharawi homeland. During this journey, Aminatou was just a weak person calling for help, a victim who was stricken by betraying hands that implemented unjust decisions to throw her into the heart of the unknown, making of her a victim in an agitated ocean of ingratitude, traps and conspiracy, or to be more specific, a space where human feelings are blatantly trampled. A woman like myself, who is exhausted from the terrible sufferings in the Moroccan secret detention camps and from the sadism and cowardice of the torturers, had no other option but to gather what is left of her strength to say no. No to the persistence of repression against innocent people; No to the attacks against the Saharawi human rights defenders; No to their judgment charged with falsified accusation of intelligence by a Moroccan military court and their incarceration in a depressing isolation; No to the abandonment of Saharawi prisoners of conscience who are dying in silence in the Moroccan prisons because of dangerous and chronic diseases; No to more than 30 years of tragedy that turned the dreams of my people to nightmares separated by the Diaspora and the fate of hundreds of victims of disappearance.

It is true that the expression of my aching body may have reflected concerns, but it is my very love of life, while the plane was landing in the airport of Lanzarote, that pushed me to go for the path of dignity and firmness in my decision, out of faithfulness to all those who still remember moments we shared under torture, in prison cells or before courts, moments that overflow with the noble values of humanity that implanted in our hearts values of generosity, fellow-feeling and selflessness. It is these same moments, when I declared my decision to start the open hunger strike in the airport and when the platform for the support of Aminatou Haidar was formed to back my battle to return home, it is these same moments that repeat themselves with memories full of new meanings that affirm that no boundaries can stop the flood of noble and beautiful human feelings coming from all countries, crossing continents to honour Aminatou as a human being, to honour her motherhood and to honour in her the values and principles of the Saharawi people.

O! how powerful were those moments with all their strong symbolism, how warm they were, like the warmth of the affection of motherhood and fondness of the homeland, moments that express the most beautiful meanings life can have.

You gave me the means to resist, you who backed me in my refuge and embraced me in my ordeal, and you strengthened my hope to survive it. You never let me feel I was fighting alone and you opened before my eyes new horizons towards a vision of the values of humanity that transcends all forms of seclusion and fanaticism, a vision that doesn’t recognise the relevance of individuality unless it enriches the heritage of humanity, because cultures and religions with all their diversity can be used to serve tolerance, friendliness and coexistence between peoples. Anyone who followed the wide international mobilization that you initiated and maintained at a steady pace to support my unconditional return to my homeland, Western Sahara, will find out that the international response gives a proof, again, that the peoples who believe in the human being and who respect the values of justice and human rights are able to impose and implement their choices.

I would like to seize the opportunity of the New Year, 2010, to wish you success, health and peace

And I name, all the members of the Platform; Robert Kennedy Foundation; the associations of support to the Saharawi people in Europe, in the US, in Africa, in Australia, in Latin America and in Asia; The Nobel Prize laureates; the lawyers, doctors, artists, actors, filmmakers, writers, professors and university students; international human rights organisations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Front Line; International bodies such as the United Nations, the UN High Commission for Human Rights, the UN High Commission for Refugees, the European Parliament, the Spanish Parliament, the Portuguese Parliament; Women’s movements, trade unions, political parties, municipalities from Spain, Italy and elsewhere, Spanish and Algerian media and all free media world-wide that helped open a window of light in the darkness of the Moroccan propaganda; and to all the Saharawi communities especially in Lanzarote and the Spanish people of Lanzarote. To all these and to all those whom I may have forgotten to mention and I apologise, I send my congratulations for our collective success in this battle and for my triumphal return. I send to all of you thanks and gratitude in my name and on behalf of the Saharawi people who are now proud of the extension of the circle of their supporters and who hope that more pressure will be exercised on Morocco to release the 7 Saharawi activists imprisoned in the prison of Sale and all the Saharawi prisoners of conscience in the rest of the Moroccan prisons, and to find the truth about the fate of the victims of disappearance while waiting for the fulfilment of their demand to exercise their right to self-determination via a free, just and regular referendum.

Finally, I wish from all my heart that 2010 will be a year of peace, respect of human values and victory for international legality.

Aminatou Haidar,
Saharawi human rights defender

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