Western Sahara, bordering Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and the Atlantic Ocean, is the last remaining colony in Africa still waiting for its independence. Despite a rich history, the Sahrawi people today find themselves deprived of the fundamental right to have a land on which to live in peace and freedom. In one of the most hostile regions to human life across the planet, Western Sahara is also a rich country; its resources consist of large amounts of phosphates and abundant fish stocks among others.
After the withdrawal of Spain in 1975, neighboring Morocco illegally invaded the territory, forcing its indigenous population, the Sahrawi people, to live under occupation or face exile. Since then, the Sahrawi people have been divided between two lands. Those living in the “Occupied Zone,” endure an occupation violently imposed on them by the Moroccan government. Those who fled during Morocco’s initial attacks reside today in the refugee camps in the Algerian desert or within a narrow strip of barren land. This “Liberated Territory” of Western Sahara is flanked by a wall built by Morocco and armed with a standing military, electronic sensors, and buried landmines.
The International Court of Justice stated in 1976 that Morocco has no legitimate claim to the territory. The Polisario Front is a Sahrawi rebel national liberation movement working to end Moroccan presence in the Western Sahara. It is outlawed in the parts of Western Sahara under Moroccan control, and it is illegal to raise its party flag (often called the Sahrawi flag) there yet they struggle for their cause by any means possible. This documentary portrays the life under occupation and exile for the Saharawi people.
We Are Rebels is a documentary series about four colonized territories and how communities are organizing to demand independence. The four-part series will examine the New Caledonia process of decolonization, the independence movement in Catalonia, the dispute between UK and Spain to control Gibraltar and the long-standing struggle of the Saharawi people.
Indigenous Peoples are putting their bodies on the line and it's our responsibility to make sure you know why. That takes time, expertise and resources - and we're up against a constant tide of misinformation and distorted coverage. By supporting IC you're empowering the kind of journalism we need, at the moment we need it most.