Reading about the Saharawi

Last week I ‘headlined’ the monthly Flywheel Reading series event at Pages Bookstore in Calgary. It was a chance for me to read from the book-in-progress and I am grateful to the Flywheel crew for inviting me to read. The reading was recorded by a local spoken-word blogger – thank you, Dale – and I’ve posted the audio below. My reading begins after a couple of minutes of preamble by the event host, Stephanie Davis.

The three excerpts are from my chapter about my visit to the Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria in February 2008. Those of you who have been following my blog for a while might remember my posts and photos from that trip. If not, you can find them here, here , and here .

By way of context, and to make a long and complicated history extremely short, the Saharawi are long-time inhabitants of the Western Sahara who fought a war of independence against the Moroccans for the territory in the 1970s and 1980s. During the course of the war, Morocco built a series of defensive walls, or berms, in the desert to repel the advance of the Saharawi forces. On the east side of these walls, on land granted by Algeria, are the Saharawi refugee camps where upwards of one hundred thousand Saharawi live. More than half of them were born in the camps and have never known the land their parent’s generation continue to fight for.

I hope you enjoy the reading. Click the little green arrow below to play.