Documentary Photographer | Filmmaker | Participatory Media Trainer
The Berm of shame:Western Sahara
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The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) was proclaimed by the Polisario Front on February 27, 1976. The SADR government controls about 20-25% of the territory it claims, called the Free Zone. The rest is controlled by Morocco who built the longest active military wall that divides the Sahrawi people.
In February 2007, Pete Buckenham and I, traveled 5000 miles, around the World’s largest militarized wall (sand berm), from Marrakech in Morocco to Tindouf in Algeria, via Mauritania and Tifariti.
Pete was inspired to travel around the berm to participate in projects in the camps and to run the 26.2 miles between El Ayoun and Smara refugee camps following conversation’s with Saharawi youth in 2006.Their impossible desires to participate in the Sahara Marathon to show solidarity with their relatives living beyond the sand berm in refugee camps near to the remote desert city of Tindouf, south-west Algeria, pushed us to do it for them.
The militarized sand berm that we traveled around is approximately 2,700km long and divides the 190,000 Saharawi refugees in Algeria from their families in the Moroccan occupied territory of Western Sahara. The images I have selected are from the more remote places along our journey. Rarely visited by anyone outside of the local nomadic and military groups or odd personnel from land mine NGOs. We were told that no one had ever traveled to the camp following this route as it is loaded with landmines and militaries.