Tuesday, October 19

Immigrants: Blind pilgrimage to the gates of Ceuta | Spain

Moroccan security agents stand guard as a group of migrants walk along the coast in the northern city of Fnideq in an attempt to cross the border on Tuesday.
Moroccan security agents stand guard as a group of migrants walk along the coast in the northern city of Fnideq in an attempt to cross the border on Tuesday.FADEL SENNA / AFP

The inordinate effort made by hundreds of people to leave Morocco is best appreciated when one approaches Fnideq, the city of 77,000 inhabitants that was called Castillejos under the Spanish protectorate. There, when there are only 15 kilometers and several hills to get to the city closest to Ceuta, is where the most shocking scenes appear: Moroccan children who do not exceed 10 years hitchhiking, in groups of two, four or five ; a sub-Saharan woman with her baby on her back, a family of sub-Saharan Africans with two children under five, another sub-Saharan with her child on her shoulder; a black person lying motionless at the foot of the platform, without really knowing if he is alive or dead. It is impossible to stop to attend to her because the Moroccan soldiers force her to continue circulating.

Hundreds of sub-Saharan Africans and young Moroccans walked this Tuesday morning in the direction of Fnideq. Some carried a simple backpack and others carried nothing. Some, with short sleeves, ran their hands over their biceps to combat the cold as they ascended some summit. The walkers passed without any problem the gendarmerie checkpoint, located 15 kilometers from Fnideq.

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Once they arrived in the city, in front of the border with Spain, hundreds of young people, Moroccans and sub-Saharan Africans, could also be seen, who had reached the point from where up to 6,000 people left on Monday. Now most of them were waiting, sitting or lying on the grass, for their chance to leave. Others stretched out their wet jeans in the sun after making an attempt to reach Ceuta. “But they closed the beach this morning,” commented a Fnideq neighbor. “Right now it’s impossible to get out.”

The Moroccan authorities had placed surveillance on the beach closest to Ceuta, but access to Fnideq continued to be free, where hundreds of “candidates for irregular emigration” continued to arrive at one in the afternoon (an hour later in mainland Spain). , name with which the Moroccan authorities designate these citizens.

Some groups of sub-Saharan emigrants could be seen in isolation even 100 kilometers from Fnideq, on the highway that runs from Rabat to the old Castillejos. At that distance, most of them walked smiling and hopeful. The exhaustion and lameness from so much walking were only appreciated in the immediate vicinity.

While that call effect, the Moroccan government was silent. Only the ambassador in Madrid, Karima Benyaich, has assured this Tuesday, in statements to Europa Press, that in relations between countries there are acts that have consequences “and must be assumed”, in a veiled reference to Spain’s decision to lend medical attention to the leader of the Polisario Front, Brahim Gali.

The arrival of 6,000 irregular migrants to Ceuta raised two issues. And both were already known on both sides of the border: on the one hand, the destabilization capacity that Morocco can cause in Spain was demonstrated. And on the other, it showed to what extent, despite the patriotism advocated by the authorities, many of its citizens are ready to leave the country overnight, even if they put their lives at risk.

In the Moroccan press, which depends for its survival on state subsidies, there has been no criticism of the massive influx of emigrants. Unlike. One of the most sarcastic titles corresponds to the digital site Hespress, the one with the greatest circulation, which was titled: “The absence of the Spanish police encourages thousands of migrants to swim into Ceuta.” And he justified it as follows: “The lack of Spanish police coverage has largely contributed to the large influx of migrants to the occupied city of Ceuta since Sunday night. The Spanish press mobilized to preventively hold the Moroccan security authorities responsible, accusing them of being complacent and allowing the flow of migrants to the city, while the source of Hespress he considered that the justifications of the authorities were to cover up the failure to carry out his work ”.

All the economic achievements that the country has achieved in recent years, such as the opening of the Tangier Med port in 2007, the Renault-Nissan mega-factory installed the same year in the port’s free zone, which generated 6,000 direct jobs and another 30,000 indirect jobs. ; the Noor solar mega-plant, inaugurated in the desert in 2016, the high-speed train that has been in operation since 2018 … The benefit of all these advances does not end up reaching those “candidates for irregular emigration” who advance like ants through the mountains near Fnideq.


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