The Wall of Shame


“There it is”, the driver says and points at a brown sand barrier that cuts through the desert from north to south.

“We call it the wall of shame, even if it’s not really a wall. It’s rather a sand barrier with a mine field in front of it. When we get closer you will see the barbed wire between us and the mine fields as well.

“But sure is a shame”, he adds, even if it not a wall, I mean.
The Land Cruicer is moving fast through the sand until our man behind the wheel thinks we’re close enough.

We have driven over the Algerian border and across the narrow strip of desert that are controlled by the Saharawians. We clearly see the barbed wire, the mine field and the Wall of shame, less than 500 meters ahead. We are escorted by local police. The green and whit police car pulls up next to our vehicle and we all get out to take a closer look at the second longest defensive wall ever built by man. It is far from beating the Chineese wall world record of 8800 kilometres, but a 2700 kilometre (1680 miles) barrier of desert sand is quite an impressive structure.

Impressive is definitely not the word Khalihna Salma would use to describe the wall that separates him from the homeland of his parents. The young policeman finds a Saharawian flag in the back of the police car and waves it at the Moroccan soldiers who are watching us from their checkpoint just behind the Wall of Shame.

“It hurts right here to think that I can’t access my land”, Khalihna says and puts his hand to his chest.
“I have been living in poverty in a refugee camp all my life, thanks to this wall. It is terrible to stand here knowing that right now the Moroccans are exploiting our resources, leaving us with nothing but sand and despair”.

Many young Saharawians believe that a new war is the only solution to the problem. As long as Morocco is an allied for West in the war on terror no one wants to challenge them. And in the absence of international pressure Morocco can keep on moving Moroccan settlers in to Western Sahara, minimizing the Saharawians in their own land.

“But as a soldier you must realize that you don’t stand a chance against the Moroccan armed forces”?

“Sure we stand a chance”, Khalila says and plants his flag in the sand.

“The Moroccan soldiers over there hate this place and only do it for the money. We love this desert and do our duty here for our homeland, our parents and of course for our children.”

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17 Responses to “The Wall of Shame”

  1. artblablablablog Says:

    So horrible and senseless.

  2. And history continues to repeat itself. A sad story.

  3. beyond appalling…

  4. So NOT where we need the planet to go. It’s so hard for us to understand who have not been raised in a situation where hatred steeps in layers and layers of generational hatred.

  5. Very symbolic, Otto…what a rich
    experience..thank you for sharing and look forward to more…wish I could be riding along….

  6. thanks for sharing!

  7. The Wall of Shame…sad indeed and being distant from all the suffering, it is hard to relate how much pain other people go through in life. Thank you for sharing Khalia’s thoughts and their sufferings. It helps to put what is important back into my life…

  8. I agree with all the above comments.

  9. interesting . I went as a tourist to Morocco some years ago and was enthralled with the pattern, color etc. even went into a Medras where they were teaching young children. I came home and sometime after found out that these beautiful young children were being taught to hate us.

  10. Marocco is such a beautiful country, but the story of Western Sahara is shame. Shame on Marocco, shame on the rest of the world that let this happen, decade after decade.

  11. The deafening silence of international pressure but who, or what, will ever get in the way of oil and gas exploration?

  12. “war is the only solution”?

  13. I hardly comment, but i did some searching and wound up here The Wall of Shame | Øystein
    & Otto’s Blog. And I actually do have some questions for you if it’s allright.
    Is it simply me or does it give the impression like a few of these comments appear like they
    are written by brain dead individuals? :-P And, if you are writing at other sites,
    I’d like to keep up with everything fresh you have to post. Could you make a list of every one of your communal pages like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

  14. Hi, I do believe this is an excellent website. I stumbledupon
    it ;) I’m going to revisit yet again since i have saved as a favorite it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.

  15. I’m not sure exactly why but this site is loading extremely slow for me. Is anyone else having this issue or is it a problem on my end? I’ll check back later and
    see if the problem still exists.

  16. Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you make blogging look easy. The overall look of
    your web site is wonderful, let alone the content!

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