No matter how much you read, study and keep yourself informed about what is going on in our world, there is always something you missed. I recently came across a compelling documentary; “Sons of The Clouds” which take us through the extraordinary journey of the Sahrawi people in the Western Sahara region of North Africa. To be perfectly honest, I had no idea that the Sahara stood divided between East and West. The Western region of the Sahara first came under the protection of Spain in 1884 before becoming the Province of Spanish Sahara in 1958. However, when Franco’s dictatorship ended in 1975, King Hassan II seized the opportunity to claim the Kingdom ties to the Sahara. A few months later he ordered the “Green March” into Western Sahara during which 300,000 unarmed civilians accompanied by the Moroccan Army converged on the southern city of Tarfaya and waited for a signal from King Hassan II of Morocco to cross into Western Sahara. However, the non violent march rapidly turned into a nightmare for the Sahrawi people. On Feb. 27, 1976, the Polisario Front proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic with 200,000 refugees living in camps in the desert with no place to go and in precarious conditions.
Touched by the inhumane treatment inflicted on the people, it took four years for Spanish director, Alvaro Longoria who produced “Che” and “Looking for Fidel” teamed up with Lily Hartley and Academy Award winner Javier Bardem to produce the documentary that brings attention to the political and human rights of the Western people of the Sahara. Bardem and his partners embarked on a personal journey using their celebrity to help resolve the Sahrawi problem, speaking to officials of the French and American governments as well as the United Nations. In 1991 a referendum was to be held for the people to decide for themselves, however Morocco refuses to call it citing the eligibility of the vote.
How is it possible that to this day most of us have never heard of this enormous injustice? How is it possible that 20/20 or 60 Minutes had never covered the instability in the region? As they do, I believe that the United Nations should try harder to push for ending this political conflict.
“That’s the world we live in. We live in a world of denial, and we don’t know what the truth is anymore,” Bardem said in an interview with THR. “Morocco has done wrong. The Sahrawi have truth and law on their side.”
A true reality check and a must see.
By Michele Elyzabeth
“Sons Of The Clouds” will be released on DVD onTuesday, Nov 13, 2012 and on all major Digital Outlets via GoDigital: iTunes and Vimeo. For purchasing info visit: http://www.candescentfilms.com/film/sons-of-the-clouds/