Doomed to a plight that lasted longer than he and his family could bear, Mustafa Salma Ould Sidi Moloud continues his forced exile in Mauritania while his family is stuck in the Sahraoui Camps in Tindouf on the Algerian territory.

The Polisario dissident who disappeared in September 2010 following his detainment by the Polisario was exiled to Mauritania and banned from returning home. His hunger strikes and the appeals he made to the international community and the United Nations to end his plight were completely to no avail.

 

On the occasion of the visit of the United Nations Secretary General Mr Ban Ki Moon to the Tindouf Camps on Friday, March 4th, Mustafa Salma’s son wrote a very poignant letter to Ban Ki Moon, depicting his and his siblings’ ordeal in the absence of their father since 2010.

 

In the letter, which was translated into English by Morocco World News at the request of Mustafa Salma, his son calls on the United Nations Secretary General to take measures that would make a family reunion happen somewhere on earth.

 

“We nurtured the hope of a family meeting that would heal and repair the cracks in our psyches for years but to no avail despite the many promises we got and despite my father’s relentless struggle to meet us,” he writes.

 

Mustafa Salma’s son wonders why the humanitarian situation of the family remains unresolved though both his father in Mauritania and the family in Tindouf live under the jurisdiction of the United Nations as refugees.

 

He writes: “Me and my siblings were born in the Sahraoui Camps, and we hear that we are refugees under the jurisdiction of one of the branches of your organization. My father is a refugee as well living in Mauritania under the jurisdiction of your organization after he was exiled from his land, which is ruled by the Polisario Front and banned from returning to us in the Camps.”

 

He goes on “Because of the situation of asylum and prevention, our family became stuck between Algeria which accepts me, my mother and siblings as refugees yet tenaciously refuses the return of our father to its territory, and Mauritania which paradoxically accepts our father as a refugee yet refuses our family reunion on its land.”

 

Under this situation, the family of Mustafa Salma Ould Sidi Moloud in the Refugee Camps in Tindouf, as his son laments, has undergone a plight perhaps even more painful than that of her father. Therefore, it is high time the family reunited and the humanitarian situation resolved. “

 

Your Excellency Mr. Secretary General” Mustafa Salma’s son writes: “I am not addressing you as a politician; I am addressing you as a father and above all as a human with the hope that my family reunion case will find a place among the countless issues on your agenda.”

 

Here is the full letter addressed to Ban Ki-moon

 

To his Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations.

 

Subject: Appeal for interference to do justice to a Sahraoui family.

 

Your Excellency Mr. Secretary General,

 

My father, Mustapha Salma Ould Sidi Mouloud, disappeared the evening of September 21st, 2010 right after setting foot in the Mhiriz area in the Sahara. Despite the fact that the Polisario media announced his detainment, we didn’t know anything about him during the period of his disappearance, before he appeared on the Mauritanian soil in the beginning of December 2010. It was only then that we knew that he was alive, and exiled and banned from meeting us in the Sahraoui Refugee Camps in Tindouf.

 

His case was mentioned as an example of human rights abuses in the Camps in paragraph 100 of your report on the situation in the Sahara which was presented to the Security Council in April 2011.

 

If you, your Excellency, consider that what my father has been subjected to is a violation of human rights, we, his children, believe that what we have gone through in his absence and what we currently endure is perhaps even more painful than what our father has suffered. Aged seventeen, when I thought to write to you, I had to find someone else to put my words on paper because I do not have even the primary school certificate. Besides, I am not really sure whether others can faithfully convey my feelings, yet it is the only means possible for me to make you and the general public opinion know the amount of harm done to me, to my siblings and to my mother besides the plight of my father in exile.

 

In the autumn of 2010, when my father was detained and unaccounted for, the commanders of the Polisario Front who rule us had started oratorical festivals in every camp, including ours, demonizing my father and insulting him with the most heinous words. I thought then they were talking about someone other than my father until the defamation reached my school and the neighborhood where we live. My classmates and my friends in the neighborhood started teasing and insulting me because of my father and I was completely helpless in the face of this torrent of abuse. The result was the collapse of the image of my idol along with the values of a society that rushes on and defames the dearest person to me.

 

I, therefore, lost confidence in everything; in my classmates, friends, school and neighborhood. That was my last contact with school. I was then preparing for the primary school certificate exams but I did not wait to get it. I henceforth wandered purposelessly for long hours away from home not out of hate for my siblings for whom I became their immediate guardian in the absence of their father, but because I did not want to collapse in front of them, thereby leaving them with no shoulder to cry on.

 

What hurt me in depth then was that whenever my father was featured on TV news, my little brother Salama, who is the dearest to our father, used to murmur to our mother “here is that man again!” Salama could no longer pronounce his name or call him ‘father’ because his image was badly tarnished and demonized.

 

Your Excellency Mr. Secretary General,

 

Time elapsed and that hard autumn passed, yet its image remained engraved in our memories. We nurtured the hope of a family meeting that would heal and repair the cracks in our psyches for years but to no avail despite the many promises we got and despite my father’s relentless struggle to meet us. Somehow, whatever path he took, it led him to a deadlock!

 

Accordingly, I thought it is high time my voice and the voices of my siblings and my mother got heard by the world. On the occasion of the visit we heard your Excellency is paying to the Camps, I thought I would possibly meet you and update you on our miserable situation. If that doesn’t happen, this message would hopefully find its way to you despite the many political preoccupations you have in your expected visit.

 

Me and my siblings were born in the Sahraoui Camps, and we hear that we are refugees under the jurisdiction of one of the branches of your organization. My father is a refugee as well living in Mauritania under the jurisdiction of your organization after he was exiled from his land which is ruled by the Polisario Front and banned from returning to us in the Camps.

 

Because of the situation of asylum and prevention, our family became stuck between Algeria which accepts me, my Mum and siblings as refugees yet tenaciously refuses the return of our father to its territory, and Mauritania which paradoxically accepts our father as a refugee yet refuses our family reunion on its land.

 

Your Excellency Mr. Secretary General,

 

I am not addressing you as a politician; I am addressing you as a father and above all as a human with the hope that my family reunion case will find a place among the countless issues on your agenda. Perhaps because it is the only and unique case in the Sahara conflict, it will get your special attention as long as the title and content of your expected visit is the Sahara issue.

 

The Polisario Front bans my father from returning to his land, his birthplace and the land of his ancestors (Zemmour). Algeria where I, my mother and my siblings live also bans my father to enter its territory. Mauritania where my father is exiled denies us the right of family reunion on its territory. For all these reasons, we hope, your Excellency, that you will do your best to do justice to our family and particularly find it a place to reunite somewhere in this world.

 

04/03/2016