martes, 27 de mayo de 2008

Open letter sent to the Spanish Members of Parliament. Luis Portillo Pasqual del Riquelme

[Text of the open letter sent to the Spanish Members of Parliament]


Madrid, 22 April 2008

Honourable Members of the Parliament,

I am taking the liberty of addressing you to attach my article “Western Sahara: The Legitimate Reasons of the Saharawi People”, which has been translated into English, French and Italian, with a specific bibliography in each language.

As you know, the Western Sahara and the Saharawi people - whom we have shamefully abandoned – represent unanswered questions for our democracy even today. These were not addressed during the last election campaign, which elected Your Honours as representatives of the people’s will.

As a simple citizen, I would like Your Honours to take a serious interest in the Saharawi Question and add your contribution to the speedy and pacific resolution of this conflict, according to the rules of international law which envisage holding a referendum of self- determination for the Saharawi people, as well as for other countries which one day were colonies and/or non-autonomous territories.

The experience of Portugal in the case of Timor-Leste is an example to be followed by Spain and the international community. Also around 1975, the Portuguese did it as badly as we did: Indonesia - just as Morocco did in Sahara - invaded, massacred, and occupied Timor for two decades. But the Portuguese knew how to restore international law, putting some pressure on the UN and the international community, and managed to hold a self-determination referendum for the people of Timor. This was the origin of a new country, still free and independent today, and set a very relevant and clear example.

As our former President Felipe González pointed out in his day, many Spaniards today feel deep pain and great embarrassment at our despicable abandonment of the Saharawi people, our unfulfilled promises and the neglect of our international responsibilities. This abandonment and these failures have caused great damage in Spanish society (not to mention among the Saharawis themselves) and are generating dangerous tensions in the Maghreb and other places, which should be resolved once and for all for everybody’s sake by putting things in their place. The Spanish Government has not sent to their African ex-province a single teacher of Spanish, contemptuously rejecting in the most absurd and irresponsible way the fact that the Saharawi people are the only ones in the Maghreb who are trying to maintain Spanish as a co-official language. And, in contrast to countries with a lesser level of development, Spain has no agreement with the Saharawi authorities which would enable their citizens - our ex-fellow countrypeople – to be educated and trained in our country. I leave you to reflect on all this.

It has been almost one year since I sent the initial and original article (“Western Sahara: 32 years of exile and struggle - International Law is not Utopia”, predecessor of the article I am now attaching) to the daily newspaper EL PAÍS, requesting its publication, in an attempt to discuss and refute the arguments expressed in another article published by the aforementioned newspaper. EL PAÍS declined its publication, alleging “lack of space”.

I sent the article to other print media, which happened to have enough space for its publication. It was generously translated into several languages by Tlaxcala, and published in print and digital media (some of which are named at the end of the article mentioned at the very beginning).

I sent the French version of this article to the academic journal Cahiers de la Méditerranée, which considered it interesting enough and asked me to extend it and give it “more body” (bibliography, foot-notes, etc.) in order for it to be published as an academic article (instead of just a journalistic one). And so I did, with not a little effort and dedication.

Finally, however, it was not published by Cahiers de la Méditerranée, without explanation or answer to my letters seeking confirmation or clarification.

This is the little story about the article that Your Honours now have in your hands. I hope it is of your interest and contributes in some way to the awakening of your consciences to follow the Portuguese example in their invaded and occupied ex-colony.

Thanking you in advance for your kind attention,

Yours sincerely,

Luis Portillo Pasqual del Riquelme (Madrid)

Western Sahara: The Legitimate Reasons of the Saharawi People

Sahara occidental : Les raisons légitimes du peuple sahraoui

Sahara occidentale: Le legittime ragioni del popolo saharawi

Sáhara Occidental: Las legítimas razones del pueblo saharaui

Nota de Sahara Resiste: en los próximos días publicaremos la carta en portugués. Versión original en español: Carta Abierta enviada a los Diputados Españoles por Luis Portillo Pasqual del Riquelme. Versión en francés: Lettre ouverte aux Députés espagnols. Luis Portillo Pasqual del Riquelme

Fuente: Luis Portillo Pasqual del Riquelme