Morocco destroys archaeological sites of Leghcheiuat in occupied Western Sahara
Statement condemning the archaeological plundering in occupied Western Sahara by the Saharawi Association for the Protection and Dissemination of Saharawi Culture and Heritage
The wise Saharawi scholar Salma Ould Brahim, aka Belgha, denounces and asks for help to punish this crime.
In the words of the President of the Association for the Protection and Dissemination of Saharawi Culture and Heritage Bachri Ben Taleb, through this statement we want to address, first UNESCO, then the international community and especially the scholars and observers of the universal prehistoric heritage.
This important archaeological site, characterized by a large strip of alabaster rocks, includes engravings and inscriptions of signs on the surface of the rocks, which constitute important ancient relics. Members of the Saharawi Association for the Protection and Dissemination of Cultural Heritage had visited it on a journey of exploration and registration, because of its importance in the historical legacy that goes back to prehistoric times. There are also traces of other times through which one can identify human groups that inhabited the region from prehistoric times to the present. The site also includes writings on rocks in hasania through which a period of the recent history of the Saharawi people in this region can be identified.
Leghcheiuat's important historical record was long ago targeted for destruction by the Moroccan occupation. The latest outrage occurred in the first week of June, when a Moroccan contractor brought his bulldozers to the site and began his work, destroying a very important part of the site.
In this context of the policy of destruction being committed by the Moroccan occupation of the territories of Western Sahara, Morocco continues to commit its crimes against the world's human heritage. And that is why the Saharawi Association for the Protection and Dissemination of Culture and Heritage calls on international public opinion through the following points:
-To unite your voice with all free and vigilant voices to denounce these violations of the Moroccan occupation and to defend the rights, history and natural resources of the Saharawi people.
-To strongly condemn the continuation of the cultural war unleashed by the Moroccan occupation since its military invasion of the territories of Western Sahara in 1975, against the tangible and intangible heritage of the Saharawis.
-We call for strong condemnation of the destruction and vandalism of archaeological sites in the occupied part of Western Sahara by the Moroccan occupation, the most recent being the historic archaeological site of Leghcheiuat.
-We call on the official and unofficial international institutions and organizations working in this field to intervene urgently and immediately to stop this flagrant violation of Saharan culture in the occupied part of Western Sahara.
The ASPDCPS calls on the UN Security Council and the United Nations and its Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, MINURSO, to assume their responsibility and prevent the destruction of the wealth of the Saharawi people which is subject to genocide, systematic pillage, looting and exhaustion by the Moroccan occupation, and to work to impose an urgent referendum to guarantee the Saharawi people their right to recover their sovereignty over their territory.
See links of testimonies and denunciations: the human and cultural rights activist Hmad Hammad, in a visit to the archaeological site that Morocco since 2013 began to loot, destroy and plunder through Moroccan contractors.
The native Saharawi sage, scholar, poet and anthropologist Salma Uld Brahim, alias Belgha, on Friday 5 June, questioned by the Daily "La La Realidad Saharaui" and the President of the ASPDCPS Bachri Ben Taleb, indignantly affirmed:
I address these Moroccans who are destroying the archaeological sites in Saharan territories, and I tell them that what they are doing is called genocide. Genocide against heritage, against human rights and genocide against animals. And this is inadmissible. And if the world continues to watch over history and cultural law, it must condemn them. This archaeological site in Leghcheiuat is one of the most important. Morocco and all those who destroy these places must be tried before universal justice. These people are raping the humans, the animals, the resources of the sea, of the land and lately they are destroying the trace of ancient civilizations that were in a land that protected them and preserved them. If the world is just, has power or politics, it must condemn Morocco and judge it for this crime.
The main objective of Morocco's destruction and plundering of these archaeological sites is to erase evidence of the history of the people of Western Sahara. It is an attempt to erase the history of the Sahara on earth and within it. But I tell you, even if you try to erase it, history will condemn you. Most of what you are destroying is recorded in the memory of the Saharawi population and they will present it in due course as evidence against you. Now if the world is attentive to its duty it must defend justice and declare it. And if not, it is because it fears the kings; the Saharawis for some time now have lost fear of them; we no longer fear anyone.