Javier Bardem on Western Sahara and Catalan Independence: Duplicity or Ignorance?

While Javier Bardem continues his campaign promoting an independent Sahrawi Republic, he hasn’t showed any support for Catalonians’ right to self-determination. Bardem’s clashing attitudes show arbitrary and uninformed positions on two decisive political crises.

The Spanish actor vigorous support for “Western Sahara “independence from Morocco and his “nonexistent” positions on Catalan rights to self-rule are two contradictory and perplexing positions that raise doubts about the Hollywood star’s ability to grasp the political nuances of his standpoints.

Unfazed by Catalonians calls for independence from his native Spain, Bardem continues his campaign for the Sahara, while he conveniently ignores the brewing crisis in his backyard. The pseudo rights activist bemoaned that Morocco is denying the Sahrawis the right to hold a referendum on independence, and yet he doesn’t utter a word on the rights of 7 million Catalonians to secede from Spain.

Unfortunately, Bardem’s represent a large number of Spanish activists who have, for years, supported the Sahrawi independence movement, but squashed Basque and Catalan nationalist movement, violently at times. The Bardem like nationalists consider a referendum in Catalonia unconstitutional, insisting that polls on sovereignty must be held at the national level. But for the Western Sahara, they support a local referendum that excludes the rest of Morocco.

Bardem’s arguments for the rights of people to self-determination are not sincere. Unlike some brave Spanish artists who came out in support for Catalonia’s nationalist rights, Javier is hiding behind a deafening silence. His refusal to take a defined stand on the Catalans entitlement to hold a referendum on independence from Spain makes his commentaries about the Western Sahara conflict deceitful at best.

With his absence from the national political discourse on the future of Catalonia, in contrast to his international activism on behalf of Algeria and in support of the Sahara independence, Mr. Bardem is in fact endorsing the Spanish right-wing political establishment positions denying Catalonia’s right to self-determination. Considering his energetic engagement for the Sahrawi cause, Catalan should have hoped for a Bardem endorsement.

In essence, Bardem champions a referendum for the Sahara, but disavows the same process for Catalonia. Instead of criticizing Morocco’s handling of the Sahrawis, he should denounce his own government harassment and bullying of Catalan nationalists.

Spain’s use of its judiciary system to deny Barcelona the basic right to vote is a shameful behavior that Mr. Bardem should condemn. Although he proudly proclaims his support for human rights, his backing for the extreme right wing narrative denying Catalan rights amounts to cheerleading for neo-Francoism.

There are many Spaniards, especially on the left, who hold understandable support for Sahrawi and Catalan independence based on personal and political morals. However, Bardem’s stances are based on either political hypocrisy or simple obliviousness.

It seems that Mr. Bardem’s support of the Sahrawis is not based on principles and beliefs. It is rather a manifestation of either a prejudice or distaste for Moroccans or pure ignorance. If playing an activist is a hobby for the Spanish actor, defending Morocco’s territorial integrity is a moral obligation for the millions of Moroccans. They hope that this bizarre duplicity will convince the international community that the actor is a fake activist.

Hassan Masiky

Born in Kenitra, Morocco and based in Washington, Hassan Masiky (Hassan.masiky@gmail.com) is a Blogger and freelance writer. Hassan is a former spokesman for Amnesty International USA and worked as a consultant for USAID funded democracy projects in Mexico, ..