Sunday, December 09, 2007

Malainin Lakhal on Sahrawi journalism and resistance, being tough as nails

Malainin Lakhal gave a talk about Western Sahara and his work as a human rights activist in July to an Australian media group, and it's been republished by the Rhodes Journalism Review. Lakhal's the head of the Union of Sahrawi Journalists and Writers (UPES).

My favorite part was finding out more about Lakhal's escape from Western Sahara. It was already known that he crossed the Berm to escape Moroccan authorities, but this is the first time I find out he went to Nouadhibou (my new favorite Mauritanian town, more on that later) to meet up with SADR.

Lakhal was fleeing Morocco's violent treatment of youth activists. He says in 1987, Morocco deported 10,000 Sahrawis from Western Sahara and made them work in Moroccan cities. I probably read that in Endgame in Western Sahara, but it's hit me in the article how insane and brutal that was of Morocco.

At the end of the article, there's a section called "Human rights activist or journalist?" Unfortunately, Lakhal sorta dodges the issue about whether he is really a journalist or an activist who writes a lot. It's something a ton of people involved in the scene need to deal with-- Lakhal, Toby "Turtle" Shelley, and myself, to start with. But then, all the conventions of journalism are getting reimagined whatever we do about Western Sahara, so I'm not too concerned.


  1. Anonymous3:01 PM

    The I International Music Festival Western Sahara will be held in Tinduf, a refugee camp housing over 150.000 saharawis refugees, in the southwestern border of Argelia. The ultimate aim of the event is to raise awareness worldwide of the situation in which these refugees live in an inhospitable part of the desert, away from their land for over 30 years already.

    The saharawi cause has been for a long time out of the frontpages of the main international papers and neither has found place within the main international newcasts . California Western Sahara Association, a non-profit organization, has the goal to raise awareness worldwide by organizing the very first International Music Festival held ever in a refugee camp.

    Popular musicians, music groups along with personalities come from all over the world will participate in the Festival making it more important in its message and deeper in its essence.