Monday, 15 June 2009
Sunday, 14 June 2009
Press release: Top rebel athlete joins UK charity Sandblast at its "Running the Sahara 2010" launch on June 12th
26-year-old Sahal Hmatou grew up in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara. His athletic life began at age 12 when he was recruited to Morocco’s junior running team. Early in his career he displayed an exceptional ability to run and win over a wide range of distances from 1500m to 10km. By 1999 he was the triple champion for Morocco for cross-country racing and the second champion of Africa (5000m). Despite his remarkable record, it did not protect Salah when he joined peaceful protests against the Moroccan occupation. His family home was repeatedly raided. He was blindfolded, taken to prison, interrogated, threatened and humiliated.
Sahal got political asylum in 2003 after he led an 8-km race in France and waved the Saharawi flag for the last remaining 200m. Alongside other exiled Saharawis, Salah has joined an UN-sponsored programme to reunite Saharawi families separated by the occupation and the 2,500km long land-mined Berm dividing the Western Sahara.
Not to be confused with the Marathon des Sables in Morocco-the launch will inform about the international solidarity race held in the Algerian desert, in February 2010, in aid of the Saharawi refugees and highlight the work of the Sandblast charity. The evening will also introduce the Saharawi struggle through the UK premiere of selected preview scenes from “The Other Side of the Wall”. This first British-Saharawi play is directed by, Giles Foreman. Also the founder of Caravanserai Acting Studios, his organization works in close partnership with Sandblast and is hosting the event.
Friday, 12 June 2009
The Western Sahara Resource Watch wrote two valueable contributions to today's events:
Press Release: Brown called on to take action
British MEPs call on amending EU-Moroccan fisheries agreement
The official press release of the Free Western Sahara Campaign by Stefan Simanowitz quotes MP Jeremy Corbyn (L) to say: "Our collective failure to address Morocco’s ongoing violation of countless UN Resolutions, to stop the illegal plundering of Western Sahara’s natural resources and to allow human rights abuses to be committed with impunity diminishes Britain, it diminishes the United Nations and it is an affront to all those with a belief in justice".
While this specific action focuses on the exploitation of the territory's resources and fishery by the international community, the UK Free Western Sahara Campaign addresses the resolution of the Western Sahara dispute, the human rights violations, the unkept promises of the United Nations and the international community and the absence of the dispute and the Saharawi people in public awareness and discourse.
To join the campagn, visit http://freesahara.ning.com.
Tuesday, 9 June 2009
Now renamed THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WALL, the play tells the story of the Saharawi struggle through the extraordinary life story of ElKeihal, a Saharawi poet, separated from his mother as a young boy at the height of the war, in Western Sahara, who does not reunite with her until 21 years later.
Check DON'T MISS THIS closer to the date for details.
Monday, 8 June 2009
Alongside other marathon participants of the 2009 race, he will share his experiences at the launch evening.
Update 11/6/09: Unfortunately, we have to inform you that Salah Amaidane will not be able to join us for Friday night. We hope to invite him for later this year and will keep you posted.
Monday, 1 June 2009
On June 12th, Sandblast holds a multimedia launch at London-based Caravanserai Acting Studios to begin recruiting over 100 people for the 10th Saharamarathon in February 2010. Not to be confused with the Marathon de Sables, this cultural evening will inform about the sporting event in the Algerian desert in support of the Saharawi refugees. The Saharawi situation will be introduced by a short documentary, “Deserted” (2007), and the UK premiere of selected preview scenes from the first British-Saharawi play, “The Other Side of the Wall”, directed by Caravanserai founder, Giles Foreman.
The international sporting event takes place in the Saharawi refugee camps in the Algerian Sahara near Tindouf. A full 42-km marathon as well as shorter races of 5km, 10km and a half marathon are organized. Participants live with individual refugee families during their weeklong stay in the camps. The camp-based Saharawi government-in-exile and international volunteers have organized and hosted the event since 2000, to show solidarity with the Saharawi people and raise money for projects to improve the lives of the long-term refugees.
Sandblast is the official UK recruiter for the Saharamarathon in cooperation with the Polisario representation of the UK and Ireland. We aim to fill an entire Air Algerie plane (sponsor in our efforts) with UK participants. The funds raised through your participation go to our long-term goal to set up a professional mobile recording studio and train Saharawis to use and run it in the camps.
Watch this space for confirmation on special guests .