“I’m excited about it,” she said.

We left Rabat for an overnight trip at 8 a.m. on a weekday morning to visit two cities off the beaten path. Traveling light, we boarded a van and drove to the airport in Rabat where we were scheduled to take a 4-hour flight to Laayoune and Dakhla, in Western Sahara.

Our flight was delayed nearly three hours because of high winds, but once we took off it was a smooth flight aboard a turbo-prop aircraft that holds about 25 people comfortably.

Dakhla, located deep in the Western Sahara, is a remote place where the Sahara Desert meets the Atlantic Ocean. It was founded in 1884 at the mouth of the Rio de Oro by the Spanish and there has been a bitter, long-running conflict between Morocco and Algeria over who owns the Western Sahara.

President Barack Obama, who considers Morocco a steadfast ally to the United States, met with Moroccan King Mohammed V1 at the White House in November and commended the King for “deepening democracy” and “promoting economic progress and human development.” But human rights groups criticized Obama, saying the president missed an opportunity to tell the King to end violence, torture and abuse in the Western Sahara where Morocco is embroiled in a bitter, long-running conflict with Algeria over who owns that part of the region.  Human rights groups want Obama to put pressure on Morocco to allow the people of Western Sahara their right to live where they choose.

Moroccans, however, say they are also suffering abuse by Algerians who are holding Moroccans in prison camps. Morocco says it has a peace plan moving forward. While many are suspect of Morocco’s strategy, White House spokesman Jay Carney said President Obama believes “Morocco’s autonomy plan is serious, realistic, and credible. It represents a potential approach that can satisfy the aspirations of the people in the Western Sahara to run their own affairs in peace and dignity.”

Politics aside, Dakhla bay is home to the world’s largest population of monk seals. Its waters are also frequently visited by skate and hump-backed dolphins. Dakhla is also considered by surfing champions as one of the most beautiful spots in the world for admiring the sea and observing miles of burnt-orange sand dunes.

Standing on the sands of the Sahara Desert at the ocean’s edge in Western Sahara, we looked out to the sea while the waves gently moved ashore. The Sahara Desert is located in the northern portion of Africa and covers over 3,500,000 square miles or roughly 10% of the African continent. It is arguably the largest and hottest desert in the world, bounded in the east by the Red Sea and it stretches west to the Atlantic Ocean. To the north, the Sahara Desert’s northern boundary is the Mediterranean Sea, while in the south it ends at the Sahel, an area where the desert landscape transforms into a semi-arid tropical savanna. The Sahara covers parts of several African nations including Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Sudan and Tunisia.

African Americans Standing on African Soil: Voyage to Morocco (Part II)  was originally published on blackamericaweb.com

« Previous page 1 2

×