Message by Bechir Ben Barka to the March for Return and Liberation

Bechir Ben Barka, the son of Moroccan revolutionary leader Mehdi Ben Barka, who was forcibly disappeared in Paris on 29 October 1965, issued the following statement of greetings and solidarity to the March for Return and Liberation in Brussels on 29 October 2022, organized by the Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement (Masar Badil):

On behalf of the Mehdi Ben Barka Institute – Living Memory, I salute your gathering which is being held within the framework of the “March of Return and Liberation of Palestine”. This action is an opportunity to affirm the unwavering support of progressive and democratic forces around the world for the just struggle of the Palestinian people to defend and realize their national aspirations and rights.

This struggle is manifested by its resistance in all forms to the colonial occupation, by its resistance to the apartheid regime of the Zionist state, by its resistance to the inhumane blockade of Gaza, by its resistance which is organized even within the Zionist prisons. Allow me to convey, through you, all my solidarity to the valiant Palestinian people.

I would have liked to participate with you in person in this march but, as you have pointed out in your appeal, 29 October marks an important date in the history of the peoples’ struggle for their emancipation and progress. 57 years ago, on 29 October 1965, Mehdi Ben Barka was kidnapped in Paris. Today, the truth has still not yet been fully established on the exact circumstances of the disappearance of one of the main leaders of the Moroccan opposition and a symbol of the international movement of solidarity of the peoples of the Third World. At the time of his abduction, he was chairing the preparatory committee of the Tricontinental Conference of Solidarity of the Peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America, to be held in Havana in January 1966. Since then, every year, on 29 October, a gathering for truth, memory and justice is held in front of the places where this crime took place.

The Moroccan political responsibilities in the kidnapping of an important leader of the opposition and of the Third World lie at the highest levels of the state and are undeniable. This criminal action is part of what is called “the years of lead” during which the only answer brought to the popular struggles for democracy, social justice and dignity were repression, kidnappings, torture and physical eliminations.

The neocolonial, imperialist and Zionist implications and complicities at the level of the intelligence services of France, Israel and the United States are also undeniable and are proven.

Agents of the Moroccan secret services came to France to recruit the team responsible for the kidnapping. The French intelligence agency, the SDECE (today, the DGSE) closely followed the preparations for the criminal operation and did nothing to stop it. The American CIA had agents stationed in the Moroccan secret service in Rabat, and they were worried about the Tricontinental Conference in Havana which Mehdi Ben Barka was organizing, that was intended to organize international solidarity, in particular against the actions of the USA in Latin America and Vietnam.

The Israeli Mossad served as a logistical support point for the Moroccan secret services. This was provided in exchange for the recordings of the closed-door meetings of the heads of Arab states gathered in Morocco in 1965 during a strategic summit, given to the Mossad by King Hassan II. It was also on its own behalf that Israel wanted to eliminate a political leader who had denounced Zionist penetration in Africa, including through the South African apartheid regime and the Portuguese colonial regimes. In a conference in Cairo, organized by the Palestinian student union, GUPS, in April 1965, Mehdi Ben Barka stated that “the Palestinian question is an integral part of the problems of the global liberation movement in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It is a revolutionary Arab movement against imperialist machinations…” This is the profound reason for the complicity of the Moroccan regime with the neocolonial and imperialist interests, and the Zionist state, to eliminate a Third World leader. Today, the shameful normalization between Morocco and Israel in the political, economic, military and security fields, only confirms the long-term, criminal ties between the two regimes. This is a stab in the back of the Palestinian people and an insult to the sentiments of the Moroccan people, who deeply share in the Palestinian cause and its aspirations.

In conclusion, and wishing the March every success,  allow me to reiterate the words of Mehdi Ben Barka in 1965: “The Palestinian cause must count on the solidarity and support of progressive and revolutionary forces in Africa and around the world.”

Long live international solidarity with Palestine and its people.

Bechir Ben Barka