LETTERS: Peaceful objectives

Editor:

Re: Grad student defends actions south of Morocco, Jan. 29.

Editor:

Re: Grad student defends actions south of Morocco, Jan. 29.

I wish to clarify misconceptions by the spokesperson for the Moroccan Community in Vancouver.

Hamid Touisse discredits a visit to occupied Western Sahara by a group of 68 Norway-based human-rights activists. Touisse’s misunderstandings ignore the democratic values implicit in supporting a referendum for the Saharawi people. His claim that activists are “naïve” and “innocent” students is only half true. We are students. But we are mature, independent adults.

Touisse states: “The new tactic for… terrorist organizations is to recruit new young western people to cause more harm in the name of human rights.”

His groundless defamations – relating human rights activism to radicalism and terrorism – are both foolish and dangerous. Of course, Touisse has a right to opine, but sound opinions do not deny facts. Promoting humanitarian issues, such as supporting the right to vote, does not instigate terror.

We side with the UN, which since 1991 has called for a referendum on Saharawi self-determination.

For Touisse to conflate these peaceful objectives to terrorist acts by al-Qaida is both ludicrous and libelous. Allegations alluding to terrorism should never be made lightly, even if in opinion.

Because he is a spokesman for the Moroccan community, it’s understandable that Touisse’s opinions reflect the Moroccan agenda, which conflicts with world opinion and human rights.

The expulsion of 68 peaceful human-rights activists from Western Sahara has garnered international media attention and renewed the call for a Saharawi referendum. Outlandish commentary from opponents illustrates how staunchly Morocco’s spokespersons are trying to defend the indefensible.

Tess Espey, Ås, Norway