A Nobel laureate to wipe the slate of UN

by Haddamin Moulud Said

Original text in Spanish by Hadamin Mouloud Said
Translated into English by M. Limam Mohamed Ali

Every time I entered or left the building where I lived in Geneva, there was the flag of Eritrea, flying, splendid, in the Geneva sky. From my balcony, I saw it wave freely, tied to its mast, some floors down on the façade of our own building. In the meantime, and without my own flag, I was still detained on the fourth floor, namely the Fourth Commission.

 In early February 2009, I received, in Geneva, the visit of Mr Emhamed Khadad Musa, and as I looked at the Eritrean flag, I asked him: why Eritrea and not Western Sahara? Gently, he told me everything comes down to hard work, steadfastness, and a little bit of luck as far as the balance of forces is concerned.

In 1950, by endorsing the claim of the Emperor of Ethiopia, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 390(V), agreeing to what was until then a Non-Self-Governing Territory of Eritrea, becoming part of Ethiopia in the form of a Federation under Ethiopian sovereignty. The people of Eritrea determinedly opposed to the resolution, imposed by the international community from up high and against their will, took up arms against Haile Selassie’s Ethiopia, triggering a bloody war spanning over 3 decades. In 1993, Eritrea was formally declared as a sovereign state, however the problems with neighboring Ethiopia persisted.

A few months after Mr Emhamed Khadad’s aforementioned visit, the radio announced to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 to the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali [Press Release]. On this day I understood that, in this world of ours, there was still room and reasons for hope.

 In a historical sense, the Nobel Committee’s recognition of the merits of this peacemaker between Ethiopia and its former province, meant to wipe the UN General Assembly’s slate clean and to correct the profound misstep in passing resolution 390, adopted seventy years ago today. The course of time has shown that the UN General Assembly’s decision was a profound mistake, binding the fate of a people where it had no right nor sense in doing so. In awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Ahmed Ali, it finally recognized the true value of Ali’s contribution to peace, in stark contrast to the actions of the UN General Assembly.

 If these events occurred in the south-eastern edge in the Great Sahara Desert, it’s analogous to what is happening in north-western edge of the same desert.

 Over nearly sixty years, the people of Western Sahara have expected the international community would assume its own share of responsibility in the situation there, in accordance with the international law, and in order to realise the fulfillment of the right to self-determination by the Saharawi people. However, the international community has for decades reneged on its responsibilities, and continues to will fully succumb to the desires of a despotic monarchy; whose territorial voraciousness and greed knows no bounds.

Failing to acknowledge or learn history’s lesson, the international community is on course, now and to repeat in the Non-Self-Governing Territory of Western Sahara, the mistakes which, in explicit terms, had directly led to conflict in the Non-Self-Governing Territory of Eritrea in 1950.

 For its part, the Frente POLISARIO has exerted every effort over thirty years to contain some sectors of the Saharawi population, ever-widening, who are demanding, and in full exercise of their rights, the return to war to achieve the goals. It is needful only to cite, in this regard, the laconic phrase of the Leader of Frente POLISARIO in his letter to the UN Secretary-General, “in the absence of any serious effort or a desire on the part of UN to fulfil its commitments to hold a referendum, how do I explain to the Saharawi people the value of continuing with our commitment and in good faith with the UN-led political process?”. [Carta de Mohamed Abdelaziz, Secretario General del Frente Polisario, enviada a Ban Ki Moon, Secretario General de NNUU, en fecha 12 de abril de 2010].

The Frente POLISARIO only recently lost one of its great leaders, Emhammed Khadad, a genuine champion of the peaceful, diplomatic path, and a dam to the flood of righteous and justified anger of the Sahrawi people.

The Norwegian Academy must note that the value of peace is as much in ending a frozen conflict, as in acting to prevent an imminent one. And in Africa, and quite likely on Earth too, few, when confronted with outrage and violations as those inflicted upon the Sahrawi people, have undertaken such profound efforts as the Frente POLISARIO to dim the rumblings of war. 

 Haddamin Moulud Said.
As of April 6, 2020.

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