This documentary consisted of two phases. The first was to travel to Saharawi refugee camps for one week in November 2014 in order to gather as much on-the-ground knowledge and content as possible. Our objective was to raise awareness immediately in 2015. We did this through the publicaton of a feature story entitled "A Very Fertile Occupation: PotashCorp in Western Sahara" in the Sept./Oct. 2015 edition of Briarpatch Magazine. The second was the completion of phase two—the creation of a documentary film that will contribute to the Saharawi cause.
Below is our trailer for the award-winning film "SIROCCO." The film has not yet been publicly released as it is still on the film festival circuit.
For the past 40 years Western Sahara, including its phosphate mine, has been occupied by a Moroccan government, which has split the 300,000 indigenous Saharawi in half by building a 2,500-kilometre mined and guarded wall. Morocco has also committed documented human rights abuses, contravened international law, stalled a promised referendum on the question of Saharawi independence, and collected $4.27 billion US in phosphate profits. In the past three years Canada's PotashCorp has topped the list of multinational phosphate purchasers at $182 million US.
Participants hold a message for Canadian firms PotashCorp and Agrium at the 16th Sahara Marathon held in the refugee camps on February 29, 2016.
Sirocco Sizzler: Canadian fertilizer companies offer capital power to a brutal Moroccan occupation of Africa's last colony.
Wall of Separation: One Saharawi talks about the impact of the 2,500-kilometre wall on his family.
Far from being the victims, the Saharawi people—especially women—have continued to rise up and resist their oppression. Forged by the violent 40-year conflict and a rich nomadic history, these powerful women push back against their oppressors
through culturally-derived forms of music, poetry and non-violent resistance. This documentary will feature three courageous women who are using the mediums of poetic verse, Saharawi music, and political action to encourage the perseverance of their people and
awaken an international community that has long forgotten their struggle.
Aziza Brahim: Artist whose work
topped World Music charts in 2014
Khadijatu Alaiat Suailem: Poet who fled Western Sahara so that she could freely express her verse.
Senia Abderahman: A Saharawi activist who has made it her mission to tell the world of her people's struggle.
While Aziza Brahim’s music has brought her international recognition, she lays in the poetic shadow of her grandmother, a woman who bears the Saharawi title, “Poet of the Rifle.” Now in her 80s, Khadra’s poetry has documented three decades of Saharawi resistance to the Moroccan occupation. Within those three decades, Khadra’s oral verse has inspired an emerging generation of Saharawi resistance poets to use words to encourage the perseverance of their people. Of the inspired Saharawi poets, none parallels Khadra’s granddaughter Aziza Brahim, who grew up admiring her grandmother’s poetic power.
Al Khadra: Poet of the Desert is an Al Jazeera documentary about the power of Al Khadra's poetry to the Saharawi people.
As with Brahim, Abderahman’s resistance has been inherited largely from her grandmother. Having raised her family in the occupied territory, Abderahman’s grandmother Asisa was forced to flee her homeland with her children on her back. She only completed the long sojourn after having lost the life of one of her sons and suffered near permanent blindness from the Moroccan napalm airstrikes on the 40,000 Saharawi seeking refuge in neighbouring Algeria. Abderahman grew up hearing this story, along with hundreds of others, of her people’s struggles to overcome Moroccan oppression.
FORMS OF RESISTANCE
Dedicated to Brahim’s mother, "Julud" speaks to the Saharawi political struggle:
You are like the night and the stars/ Your voice goes beyond the top of the clouds/ You are the smiling breeze of today/ You are an example of humanity and of fight. Resist, immortal, resist.
"Gdeim Izik" is about a 2010 event in which 20,000 Saharawi set-up camps outside of Western Sahara's capital city to protest the Moroccan occupation. In it, Brahim speaks on behalf of her people to the Moroccan regime. See this link for the English translation of this song.
In this Al Jazeera The Stream episode entitled "Decades of Dispute in Western Sahara", Senia Abderhaman holds her own in a verbal sparring match with a Moroccan MP and a professor. She shows why she is an important voice to the international community for her people.
In this poem, "Praise for the Saharawi Activists" Khadijatu encourages Saharawi women to continue in their struggle for self-determination. See this link for the complete English translation.
For More Information:
Western Sahara Resource Watch's "P is for Plunder 2014 Report"
Gives facts and figures on Western Sahara phosphate purchases by Canadian companies
Includes a reference to our upcoming documentary project
Briarpatch Magazine - "A Very Fertile Occupation: PotashCorp in Western Sahara"
Link to our feature story published in 2015.
If you would like to donate to our film please do so here:
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