[TimorLesteStudies] Western Sahara films in Melb this Tuesday

Australia-East Timor Association aetamel at aetamel.org
Sun Mar 28 19:50:03 EST 2010

The similarities between the stories of Timor-Leste and Western Sahara are
compelling. Western Sahara is also known as the 'East Timor' of Africa.

A film night on March 30 in Melbourne is an opportunity to learn more
about the issue of Western Sahara and the culture of the Saharawi people.
Please see below for the details and also the poster attached.

As José Ramos-Horta writes:
"The histories of the Western Sahara and East Timor ran parallel for many
years. Both countries endured not only European colonial rule but
abandonment and incomplete decolonisation when the imperial powers
collapsed in the mid-1970s. Then, both countries faced genocide and denial
of their national identities. In both cases, a right recognised but not
pressed by the UN Security Council and the UN Secretariat - the right to
an act of self-determination." (p. x)
Foreword to:
Shelley, Toby. 'Endgame in the Western Sahara: what future for Africa's
last colony'. London: Zed, 2004.

** Mariem Hassan: the voice of the Sahara **
A film night about Western Sahara (former Spanish Sahara) at ACMI presented
by Melbourne Filmoteca: Latin American, Spanish & Portuguese Film Group and
the Australia Western Sahara Association.
When: Tuesday 30 March 2010 at 7.30 pm
Where: ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image)
Federation Square, Melbourne

All welcome!
Films to be screened:
* 'Mariem Hassan: the voice of the Sahara'
Dir Manuel Dominguez, 55 mins, Spain 2008. (Spanish & Hassaniya Arabic with
English subtitles).
Mariem Hassan is the voice of the Sahara - la voz de Sahara. Adored by
Saharawis living in exile, she is an iconic figure for those still living in
the territories forcibly occupied by Morocco. Mariem is revealed as a
courageous and enduring character who has become one of the most charismatic
and respected singers of the world music scene.
Mariem performed at Womadelaide in early March 2010.
* 'Children of the clouds'
Dir Carlos Gonzalez, 16 mins, USA/Spain 2008.
(Spanish & Hassaniya Arabic with English subtitles).
A short documentary about Morocco's campaign of repression against Saharawi
school children and young people. Shot in occupied Western Sahara we see
rare footage of riot police deployed against Saharawis and interviews with
human rights defenders.
* Discussion after the films with Kamal Fadel from the POLISARIO Front and
Representative of Western Sahara to Australia chaired by Lyn Allison,
President of AWSA.
>From the late-1880s until the mid-1970s Spain laid claim to Western Sahara
in North West Africa naming it Spanish Sahara (Sahara Espanol). Saharawi
resistance to Spanish colonial rule was strong.
In May 1973 the Saharawi liberation movement the POLISARIO Front
(Frente Popular para la Liberacion de Saguia el-Hamra y Rio de Oro)
was formed and Spain moved towards holding a referendum of
self-determination in keeping with United Nations practice for
decolonisation.  Before this took place the two neighbouring African
countries invaded and a war ensued. On 27 February 1976 the Saharawi
Republic was declared and POLISARIO formed a government-in-exile. It
represents the Saharawi people in UN negotiations with Morocco (the
occupying power) to resolve the sovereignty of Western Sahara.
Currently 160,000 Saharawis live in a network of refugee camps in the desert
of South-West Algeria. Morocco continues to occupy the resource rich half of
Western Sahara where the fishing grounds, oil and gas fields and phosphate
deposits are located. The 'liberated zone' inhabited by POLISARIO is arid.
The Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara is maintained by military force
and is annexed by the longest fortified wall (a berm) in the world.
Admission: 18+
Tickets: $14, $11 (concession) on sale at box office: (03) 8663 2583
or online at www.acmi.net.au/ticketing

Further information
Melbourne Filmoteca: www.melbournefilmoteca.org

Cate Lewis
Australia Western Sahara Association Inc (Victoria)
PO Box 457, 
Heidelberg VIC 3084

e: awsa.victoria at gmail.com
w: www.awsa.org.au

*         *        *

Posted by:

Australia-East Timor Association (AETA)
PO Box 93
Tel.: 61 3 9416 2960


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