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.